by: Kevin Frasca
When you travel, is it the typical souvenir mug, shot glass, or keychain you search for to add to your collection back home, or an original item that can only be found at the exact location you visit? Whatever your answer is, you can find what you’re looking for in the Salem Witch Museum gift shop. The shop has anything you could imagine, from souvenir collectibles, to unique gift items, to Halloween decorations, but if it’s originality you desire, the Salem Witch Museum has the shop for you.
Local artisan and Salem resident David Mullin creates several hand-crafted items that make great souvenirs to commemorate your visit to Salem, Massachusetts. Each piece has a special meaning and a special use while still tying in to Salem’s “witchy” motif. Here are descriptions of some of these great finds.
Witch bottles have been found inside the chimneys of old European houses. Their purpose is to protect the house against the evil spirits and dark magick that could bring with them plagues and other misfortunes. Inside the bottles are items that are believed by those who know folk magick to repel or entrap these home intruders. The contents of the bottles vary from region to region. The exact ingredients of Salem’s bottle include a rusted iron nail, local soil, and some spices. The bottle also contains the Domus-Defendio charm, which is written on the package if you would like to make certain the charm works. The package contains more detailed information about the ingredients. One warning: do not open the bottle, and be careful not to break it; for this spends its magick and releases anything that had been trapped inside!
Perfect for the young witch or wizard that may be headed to platform nine-and-three-quarters (or a Halloween party), these wands are far more environment-friendly than those made from the tail of the phoenix in J.K. Rowling’s series. Each wand is individually made simply from recycle paper (preferably from old spell books) and bound together with paste and paint. Not only are they biodegradable, but also they make great gifts for children because they are water-resistant, and easily reparable. Do not be too quick to doubt the power of these wands just because they were not purchased at Ollivander’s. Any child can use them to harness one of the greatest powers of all: the human imagination.
The Quill Pen
Wands are not the only thing that you can use to put the imagination to work. Ideas need to be written down, so why not turn to an old fashioned quill pen? These pens look just like the ones you see in recreations of colonial America. They are not just for decoration or collecting, either. Each pen comes with a small bottle of ink, so they are fully functional! The feathers for the pens come from turkeys from Massachusetts, Michigan, and Missouri. The quill is made by hand using a centuries-old process, taking measures to ensure writing comfort and a well-developed quill tip with which to write with. The package gives some great information on this as well as a brief history on the evolution of writing from cave drawings, to Egyptian hieroglyphics on papyrus, to the advent of the quill pen. These pens would be great in any case that you may need elegant handwriting. Tips for using the quill are also given on the package.
Along with Mullin’s selection, the Salem Witch Museum also sells original hand made witch hats. What’s even more special about the hats is that they are made right in the Salem Witch Museum, by another local artist. One of these hats would complete a perfect Halloween witch costume, and would guarantee you a unique costume at your costume party, for no two hats are the same; every one is an original work of art. They also make great centerpieces for Halloween dinner gatherings. Depending on the time of year of your visit, you might even be able to stumble across a hat specifically themed for a given holiday or event.
The Salem Witch Museum gift shop boasts several other New England-made items as well, though none of the rest are truly of Salem origin. If it’s originality you seek, it can surely be found here in Salem. To start your own new collection of Salem witch gear or simply to check out what else there is to be seen, you’ll just have to stop by for a spell!