Return To Salem

Storefront Window in Salem During Haunted Happenings
Storefront Window in Salem During Haunted Happenings

Funky Salem getting ready for Halloween on a rainy Tuesday on the day after Columbus Day. I came here on a mild October afternoon to kill some time before an evening educational event that I was suppose to attend in Boston. This storefront caught my attention and I suppose the colorful mood sets the tone for the craziness that this place sees in the weeks that lead up to the unique Celtic holiday of  All Saints’ Eve, more commonly known as Halloween.

However my main objective for the day was to view the Peabody Essex Art Museum. This I accomplished after laying down a hefty $15 fee and wandering through the huge halls and entranceway.

I have to say that I was not disappointed by my visit to the museum, and in fact I was quite enthralled by some of the exhibitions especially the collection of ship’s figureheads that were prominently displayed within the huge exhibition hall that made a good portion of the second floor.

Figureheads
Figureheads

Here is a picture of the figures that once adorned our fine sailing ships that ventured forth from places like Salem to scour the world in search of riches and fame. These particular wooden creations are some of the most intriguing creations that you will come  across and there position here in the grand hall will take your breath away.

Salem, Massachusetts besides being the site of the famous Witch Trials, which the town still prospers on, was also the home of one of the nation’s first noteworthy novelists, Nathaniel Hawthorne. Nathaniel worked in Salem during the early years of the nineteenth century as a customs clerk. You can still tour the building under the guidance of the National Park Service. At the cost of five dollars this is one of the best deals going for visitors to Salem. The original House of Seven Gables is also situated in town and that place is a good-sized tourist draw in its own rite.

But really makes Hawthorne so interesting is the fact that one of his grandfathers was a judge at the Salem Witch Trials, a dubious honor if there ever was one. The sentences, although somewhat popular at time of the trials , quickly became the subject of much debate, reconsideration and remorse. These last two factors became more important as time went on and may well have played a major role in sending Nathaniel Hawthorne on the road to becoming an important writer and novelist. A carefully chosen walk around town will verify this.

Halloween Masks In a Storefront Window
Halloween Masks In a Storefront Window

Salem, Massachusetts Is Haunted

A Mummy In Salem
A Mummy In Salem

I was in Salem last week just in time for

“haunted happenings” in October. These take place in October and the whole affair is like some sort of strange morf between Halloween and “The Salem Witch Trials”. Whatever the reasoning, the combination works, because people from Boston and all over New England come in droves to celebrate. Reportedly, the place gets very busy on weekends leading up to the “big day” or night actually, which falls on a Friday night. However, I was in town on Tuesday, so things were quiet, but still the town was all decked out for the “Night Before All Saints Day”, better known as Halloween. Still it was fun to wander around and check the place out. I had some business to attend to in Boston, so I left at 5 PM.

Instead of concentrating on the solemn history of the Witch Trials (more about that later) I headed for Derby Wharf and the
Salem Maritime Historic Site, where for five American dollars, I received a grand tour of the Friendship ( a three-masted square rigged ship) the Customs House (where Nathaniel Hawthorne once worked) and the Derby House, where the prosperous merchant lived. This part of Salem’s history is quite extensive, but usually overshadowed by the infamous Witch Trials.

Why we are so attracted to the macabre, I cannot say, but this is certainly the case here in Salem.

Inside the prosperous merchat's house in Salem, Massachusetts
Inside the prosperous merchant's house