Archive for June, 2011:
Everyone knows there is more to Salem than the witch trials of 1692. A rich maritime history helped establish our town as an early hub of the New World. We’re fotunate that we can experience a taste of that storied past in many ways including a sail aboard the Schooner Fame.
A replica of an 1812 wooden Chebacco schooner, Fame departs from Pickering Wharf Marina for cruises of historic Salem Sound at 2:00, 4:00 and 6:00 pm daily from Memorial Day through Halloween. Aboard this beautiful vessel exploring the local harbor and beyond you’ll hear about her role in Salem’s fishing and privateering history. It’s an informative and fun adventure for kids and grandparents, families and couples, landlubbers and salty dogs. You can even volunteer to help hoist her stately sails.
Receive $3 off your Schooner Fame tour when you present your Salem Witch Museum sticker. Refreshments and additional merchandise are available on board.
For more information:
Website – Schooner Fame
Phone – (978) 729-7600
Copyright reserved – Michael Rutstein
On the 319th anniversary of the hanging of Bridget Bishop we approached learning more about her story in a few unique ways. We spoke with Jenney Dale, the actor who portrays the first executed Salem witch trial victim in the History Alive! theatrical production of Cry Innocent.
We asked Ms. Dale what most captivated her about playing Bridget Bishop. “She was stubborn. I could identify with her outspoken nature, not wanting to go along with others’ definitions of how a person should act.” In some ways we still experience that today, but we have it so much easier than they did in 1692.” Being an outspoken woman certainly made her all the more suspect of being a witch, having endured years of town talk about her independent spirit.
Cry Innocent calls their audience to sit on the Puritan jury, hearing the reenacted historical testimonies from the pre-trial examinations, cross-examining the witnesses, and finally passing judgment themselves. Ms. Dale admits that sometimes the verdict is surprising. “It’s hard to tell which way they’ll go. But, I really want people to see the events through the eyes of Puritans,” so they can understand why the proceedings went as they did.
For more information about Cry Innocent, please click here or call their box office at: 978-867-4767
BRIDGET BISHOP, “alias Bridget Oliver”; Salem; born Bridget Playfer; married Samuel Wasselby 1660, then Thomas Oliver, lastly Edward Bishop; long suspected of witchcraft; tried, found guilty; hanged 10 June 1692; sentence reversed 2001.
As mentioned in my previous posting, my friend Alexandra and I spent the Sunday afternoon following the TTRAG Symposium 2011 touring downtown Salem. Like many visitors to Salem, our main objective was the Salem Witch Museum. But we also found opportunities to see a few more ancient homes, which, as you can imagine, Salem has no shortage of.
Now, for a little bit of history…..
The years leading up to 1692 saw much political disarray in the Massachusetts Bay Colony, as the colonists had overthrown their previous governor, and subsequently lost their charter with England. Salem itself no longer had the strong leadership of Roger Conant, who died about a decade earlier, and its populace was split between Salem Town and the more rural Salem Village (now present day Danvers). All of this, combined with several massacres of settlers by tribes from the north, created an atmosphere of great fear among the colonists that almost certainly helped to fuel the initial accusations of witchcraft in early 1692, and resulted in the infamous trials some months later.
The Salem Witch Museum, founded in 1972, is housed by a rather impressive building on Washington Square in downtown Salem. Constructed in 1845, this building originally served as the Second Church Unitarian of Salem. The museum is open daily and provides an elaborate, staged presentation describing the events, individuals, and chronology of the witchcraft trials. This is followed by a docent-narrated lecture that attempts to explain the underlying causes of the hysteria that had inflicted the colonists, and draws parallels with other infamous “witch hunts” that had occurred in more recent history.
After our museum visit, we headed over to the Salem Witch Trials Memorial. Dedicated by Elie Wiesel in August of 1992, the memorial consists of a peaceful patch of land enclosed by a large stone wall. Protruding from the interior side of the wall are twenty granite benches, each dedicated to one of the victims of the witch craft trials.
Posted on May 23, 2011