As I have grown older, I have become to realize there are all kinds of people in this world. Some you wonder if they are really who they say they are, and others you applaud for their stance in life. All of them you accept for who they are. I had one of those experiences one morning in Salem, MA. We had gotten to the small, historic center early in the morning before anything was really opened. I guess we were excited to start our vacation. So we started walking the streets observing and taking lots of pictures. Since nothing was open yet, I did a lot of window shopping. What I found was a menagerie of stores selling things to do with magic. Not the rabbit in the hat kind, but the real Wiccan kind. There was books containing spells, herbs and things to make the spells and lots of glitter to make things pretty. I just kept wondering how much of this was just for show, I mean this was Salem, MA and Salem is known for its history of witches. I just wasn’t convinced.
As we continued our tour around town, the stores began to open and we decided to visit a few. I found some of them were filled with trinkets "selling" the town, while others seemed more sinister in their purpose. I remember walking through this store where every isle was packed with books, skulls, clear large glass balls, wands, and lots of things to do with Satan. Now I was brought up a Christian and was taught at an early age to pray for safety. I had done that before we ever left the motel that morning, but I will tell you I felt a dark presence that day in that store. I felt as if something was following me and breathing down my neck and it was not a peaceful feeling. We got out of there as quickly as possible without stopping or breathing more than we could. Luckily I didn’t feel that way again all day in Salem.
On our tour we found the vintage photo shop, the Salem Witch Museum, the town square with its historical stories etched into every turn. Not all of it is witch related; there is a lovely statue of Nathaniel Hawthorne in the town square. He was the author of dark romanticism inspired by Puritan New England and wrote The House of Seven Gables and The Scarlet Letter. Did you know that one of his ancestors was a judge at the Salem witch trials? I’m sure that had something to do with his statue being in front of the witch museum.
Salem overall is a cute and whimsical town. You will see a lot of Wiccan and psychic shops but you will also find a variety of seafaring fun. We found a crowded and rustic shop that sold handmade, wooden statues for your garden. We wanted the lobster fisherman but couldn’t figure out how to get him back to Oklahoma. Maybe someday we will return and buy one. We ended our town tour with a stop at the water’s edge. As I sat there I wondered how many people had sat on the same rock looking out on the water and thought about the magic of the town.