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Salem Witch Museum Named One of Massachusetts’ Top 5 Group Attractions

0 Comments Posted by Stacy on December 12, 2014

In the 2015 American Bus Association’s (ABA) Motor Coach Marketer the Salem Witch Museum was named one of Massachusetts’ top 5 group attractions.  ABA’s Marketer is the official guide for the motor coach and travel industry.

Did your favorites make the list? swm-with-motor-coach

TOP 5 ATTRACTIONS

The Freedom Trail

Whale Watches

Salem Witch Museum

Six Flags New England

Yankee Candle

Top 5 TOURISM DESTINATIONS

Boston/Cambridge & Greater Boston

Plymouth & Cape Cod

Berkshire County

Greater Springfield

Salem & the North Shore

TOP 5 EVENTS

Cape Cod Maritime Days, Cape Cod, May

North End Festivals, Boston, July – August

Tanglewood Jazz Festival, September

Working Waterfront Festival, New Bedford, September

Eastern States Exposition/The Big E, West Springfield, October

Spectral Evidence

0 Comments | Posted by Stacy on February 15, 2013

Among the more common questions we’re asked is,  “What is spectral evidence and what role did it play in the Salem witch trials?”

First let’s get a working definition.

US Legal.com :

http://definitions.uslegal.com/s/spectral-evidence/

“Spectral evidence refers to a witness testimony that the accused person’s spirit or spectral shape appeared to him/her witness in a dream at the time the accused person’s physical body was at another location. It was accepted in the courts during the Salem Witch Trials. The evidence was accepted on the basis that the devil and his minions were powerful enough to send their spirits, or specters, to pure, religious people in order to lead them astray.

In spectral evidence, the admission of victims’ conjectures is governed only by the limits of their fears and imaginations, whether or not objectively proven facts are forthcoming to justify them. [State v. Dustin, 122 N.H. 544, 551 (N.H. 1982)].”

We know that the Court of Oyer and Terminer, formed in June 1692 for the purpose of hearing cases awaiting in Boston’s jails backlogged while the Charter with England was being hammered out, recognized spectral evidence despite that it was not in keeping with generally accepted procedure of the time.  In Law and People in Colonial America Peter Charles Hoffer offers this characterization (p. 41):

“The result of having laymen on the high-court benches might be…swift and sensible justice.  Massachusetts superior Court justices, such as Samuel Sewall, were deeply moral men, concerned about the quality of their performance.  Sewall was typical of the best lay judges – well traveled, well schooled, much respected, and experienced in colonial government and in hearing and deciding lawsuits, if not learned in the law.  In the Salem witchcraft tirals of 1692 the judges, including Sewall, departed from current, learned, English practice, and did so with tragic consequences.

There were no trained lawyers on the bench, but all believed that there was a devil and that he contracted secretly with men and women to do his evil work in the colony.  Thus, at least in theory, witches had the power to leave their bodies and in spectral form assault their victims.”

The following passage from another of Hoffer’s works the Salem Witchcraft Trials: A Legal History is further clarifying (page 78-79):

the-salem-witchcraft-trials-a-legal-history “Mather elected to straddle the [spectral evidence] controversy rather than resolve it.

Mather fretted, “Our neighbors at Salem are blown up after a sort, with an infernal gunpowder, under the floor.”  What could that mean?  To us the reference may be obscure, but to his fellow Puritans the implication was obvious.  In 1605 a band of Roman Catholics, driven to despair by King James’s persecution of their faith, tried to blow up the English houses of Parliament.  The plan was discovered at the last minute, and the conspirators were executed, but the “gunpowder plot” became a symbol among Protestants of the danger Roman Catholicism posed to English Protestantism.  In 1689 Parliament drove James II, a Roman Catholic, from the throne of England and replaced him with a Dutch Protestant, William of Orange, and James’s daughter, Mary, William’s wife.  They were to rule jointly.  A war followed in which Protestants battled Roman Catholics at home and abroad.  This was the war that brought the Indians and their French Roman Catholic allies to the doorstep of Salem.  Thus the Puritans saw Roman Catholicism as a continuing and powerful threat to Protestantism in England and the survival of Puritanism in New England.  They also believed that Roman Catholic priests were in league with the Devil.  Reports of priests and Indians worshiping the Devil before they attacked Massachusetts towns regularly made the rounds of the colony.

But the problem of spectral evidence remained, for the only ones who could see the witches in their spectral form, and thus say who it was that caused their pain, were the accusers themselves.  Here Mather could find no answers in his library.  He must leave it and enter the world of ordinary people.  No abstract theory or abstruse theology could dictate commonly accepted contemporary notions of the truth of testimony.”

Even while most people had misgivings about the validity and use of supernatural proof, Cotton Mather cited a precedent from 1664 wherein Mathew Hale asserts that such evidence is suitable in cases of necessity.  Mather interprets “in particular, the political crisis of the colony and the terrors of war.  War against the Devil and war against the popish French and their Indian allies were the same in his mind.” (Ibid., p. 89)

Image, “The soul-killing witches that deform the body” shared from University of Virginia SWT Documentary Archive and Transcription Project.

Caption: “The soul-killing witches that deform the body,” Shaks.
Description: The image shows two witches stirring a steaming cauldron; it was published in a 1828 edition of Robert Calef’s More Wonders of the Invisible World. In the background a witch rides on a broomstick, brandishing a snake in her hand; to the left, spectral images fly out of the boiling cauldron; and a cat leaps into the scene from the right. References to cat familiars, flying witches, and spectral images are common features of the court records of the Salem witch trials.
Source: Frontispiece, The Wonders of the Invisible World Displayed, by Robert Calef. New Edition. Boston: T. Bedlington, 1828. Image by permission of the University of Virginia Library, Special Collections. © The Rector and Visitors of the University of Virginia, 2003.

Surviving Nemo

0 Comments | Posted by Stacy on February 11, 2013

After two relatively snow-free winters we were due for a doozy.  And Nemo delivered.

State and city governments made the call early on Thursday to keep people off roads Friday and through the weekend while cleanup crews dealt with, not multiple inches but, multiple feet in some areas.  Here at the Salem Witch Museum we opened for part of the day Friday, closing for the safety of our staff and visitors through to Sunday.  Folks must have had cabin fever because we had a number more visitors than usual once we reopened.  The bad news is that Salem’s So Sweet ice sculptures couldn’t be delivered as planned; the good news is that we’re essentially rescheduling the festivities to this upcoming weekend.

Driving through labyrinths of snowbanks makes travel still slow going, and finding parking can take even more time. For the next day or so it’s probably a good idea to give ourselves a head start if we need to be somewhere.  Which is fine, because it’ll give us a chance to enjoy the beauty of the season.

Thanks to Salem Witch Wiles for this photo:

2013-salem-witch-wiles-photo-of-swm-in-snow

Salem Witch Trials Booklist

0 Comments | Posted by Stacy on January 17, 2013

salem-possessed

*Many resources are available from our online bookstore.

Current Sources:

Boyer, Paul and Nissenbaum, Stephen.  Salem Possessed.

Demos, John.  Entertaining Satan.

Hall, David.  Witch Hunting in 17th Century New England

Hansen, Chadwick. Witchcraft in Salem.

Hill, Frances.  A Delusion of Satan.

Hill, Frances.  The Salem Witch Trials Reader.

Hoffer, Peter Charles.  The Salem Witch Trials, A Legal History.

Karlsen, Carol.  The Devil in the Shape of a Woman.

Mappen, Marc.  Witches and Historians.

Norton, Mary Beth.  In The Devil’s Snare.

Richardson, Katherine.  The Salem Witch Trials.

Roach, Marilynne. The Salem Witch Trials, A Day by Day Chronicle.

Robinson, Enders.  The Devil Discovered.

Rosenthal, Bernard.   Salem Story.

Starkey, Marion.  The Devil in Massachusetts.

Primary Sources: records-of-the-salem-witch-hunt

Rosenthal, Bernard, ed.  Records of the Salem Witch-Hunt

Boyer, Paul and Nissenbaum, Stephen.  Salem Village Witchcraft.

Trask, Richard, ed.  The Devil Hath Been Raised.

Related Works:

Breslaw, Elaine.  Tituba, Reluctant Witch of Salem.

Demos, John.  The Enemy Within

Hill, Frances.  Hunting for Witches, A Visitor’s Guide.

Miller, Arthur.  The Crucible.

Tapley, Charles.  Rebecca Nurse, Saint but Witch Victim.

Roach, Marilynne.  Gallows and Graves.

Russell, Jeffrey.  A History of Witchcraft.

Weisman, Richard.  Witchcraft, Magic and Religion in

17th Century New England.

For Young Readers: swt-unsolved-mystery

Aronson, Marc.  Witch-Hunt (young adult)

Duble,Kathleen. The Sacrifice (grades 5-8)

Jackson, Shirley.  The Witchcraft of Salem Village (grades 5-6)

Rinaldi, Ann.  A Break with Charity. Fiction (grades 6-8)

Stern, Steven.  Witchcraft in Salem . (grades 4-6)

Yolen, Jane. The Salem Witch Trials, An Unsolved Mystery

Maps:

A Map of Salem Village & Vicinity in 1692

This map shows Salem Village, primary location of the Salem

witch trials history, as it looked in 1692.  Sites of houses and public

buildings are noted.  The map is drawn by Marilynne Roach, a

Salem witch trials expert.

Videos:

Three Sovereigns for Sarah

A partly fictional account of the trials focusing on the three

Towne sisters, two of whom were hanged.  The production

was filmed at locations connected with the trials.        2 1/2 hrs

Days of Judgment:  The Salem Witch Trials of 1692

A film designed for school and home viewing that answers

many of the questions raised by the trials.                    1 hour

The Crucible

The 1995 film version of Arthur Miller’s play.  Screen play by the author.

Filmed on location in Essex County.                            2 hours

January 2013 Hours

0 Comments | Posted by Stacy on January 02, 2013

We’re open year-round.  But even we need to close the doors for a few days while we paint and clean carpets.  Here’s a list of our January hours:

Tuesday           1/1/13              Closed – New Year’s Day

Wednesday      1/2/13             Open 10am – 5pm

Thursday          1/3/13             Open 10am – 5pm

Friday              1/4/13               Open 10am – 5pm

Saturday           1/5/13             Open 10am – 5pm

Sunday             1/6/13              Open 10am – 5pm

Monday           1/7/13              Closed for Annual Spruce-up

Tuesday           1/8/13               Closed for Annual Spruce-up

Wednesday      1/9/13              Closed for Annual Spruce-up

Thursday          1/10/13           Closed for Annual Spruce-up

Friday              1/11/13              Closed for Annual Spruce-up

Saturday           1/12/13            Open 10am – 5pm

Sunday              1/13/13            Open 10am – 5pm

Monday           1/14/13            Closed for Annual Spruce-up

Tuesday           1/15/13            Closed for Annual Spruce-up

Wednesday      1/16/13            Closed for Annual Spruce-up

Thursday          1/17/13            Closed for Annual Spruce-up

Friday              1/18/13               Open 10am – 5pm

Saturday           1/19/13            Open 10am – 5pm

Sunday              1/20/13            Open 10am – 5pm

Monday           1/21/13            Open 10am – 5pm

Tuesday           1/22/13            Open 10am – 5pm

Wednesday      1/23/13            Open 10am – 5pm

Thursday          1/24/13            Open 10am – 5pm

Friday              1/25/13            Open 10am – 5pm

Saturday           1/26/13            Open 10am – 5pm

Sunday               1/27/13            Open 10am – 5pm

Open daily 10am – 5pm

January Breakfast (Book) Club: Dogtown

0 Comments | Posted by Stacy on December 26, 2012

Dogtown Bookclub During the last months of each year our visitation shifts from October crowds to January trickles.  Our staff gladly take the quieter winters to catch up on pleasure reading, so we decided to host a book club or two this season.

The only rule for the book club was simply that we weren’t going to cover anything we’d “normally” read (i.e.  Salem witch trials related.)

Our first selection for the Salem Witch Museum Breakfast (Book) Club comes from Floor Manager Jay Menice.  A section of Gloucester, Massachusetts has been a fascination for him since Elyssa East published Dogtown: Death and Enchantment in a New England Ghost Town, a non-fiction examination of the mysterious history surrounding this some-say-enchanted place and a brutal crime set there.

Those of us who appreciate local authors have certainly encountered at least one title by Anita Diamant (the Red Tent, Good Harbor, et.al.), so we’re balancing the book club medley by including a work of historical fiction.  The Last Days of Dogtown portrays life in this early American mythical community  of witches, widows, orphans and spinsters.

In mid-January we’ll host a continental breakfast and book club discussion comparing and contrasting these two renditions of Dogtown.  If you’d like to join us, please email Stacy at stacyt@salemwitchmuseum.com for further details.

North Shore Community College, Poetry of Essex County: Dogtown

200th Anniversary of the Brothers Grimm

0 Comments | Posted by Stacy on December 20, 2012

If you saw the Google Doodle today you know it’s the 200th anniversary of Brothers Grimm.  In the fabric of our being we carry the lessons from Grimm’s fairy tales told to us since a young age.  In our exhibit Witches: Evolving Perceptions we look at Hansel & Gretel’s hag archetype.  Small wonder we’re afraid of witches, it’s said they eat children!

Click here for a video clip from Hansel & Gretel by Canon Movie Tales

Hansel and Gretel

What is your favorite Grimm’s Fairy Tale?

Happy Holidays from the Salem Witch Museum

0 Comments | Posted by Stacy on December 17, 2012

Our hours for the remainder of 2012

Daily 10 am to 5 pm except: 2012 holiday tree

Monday, December 24th – 10 am to 3 pm

Tuesday, December 25th – CLOSED

Monday, December 31st – 10 am to 3 pm

Tuesday, January 1st – CLOSED

Filed in: Visiting Salem

We’ll be OPEN Tuesday, Oct. 30th 10am to 5pm

0 Comments | Posted by Stacy on October 30, 2012

Thanks to everyone for safety wishes, we seem to have fared Sandy with minimal damage.  However, there are other places in town who lost power, so if you’re planning to visit Salem today, it’s recommended that you call to find out if your destinations are open.

Questions about visiting the Salem Witch Museum?  Call 978-744-1692.

Travel Safely

Filed in: Visiting Salem

We’ll be CLOSED Monday, October 29, 2012

0 Comments | Posted by Stacy on October 29, 2012

For the safety of our staff and visitors the Salem Witch Museum will be CLOSED today,

Monday, October 29, 2012.

Filed in: Visiting Salem

Tips for Visiting in October

0 Comments | Posted by Stacy on October 19, 2012
october-in-salem The reason so many people come to Salem in October is the festive atmosphere created by…so many people. It’s part of the excitement, chatting with fellow revelers and soaking up the atmosphere.   A few people who aren’t in the right frame of mind might grumble about the lines, crowds and traffic.  Prepare yourself with information, and embrace it all as part of the fun.

Tips for an enjoyable visit to Salem in October


1.  Check out Destination Salem’s online visitors’ brochure to help plan your trip.  You’ll find a helpful walking map of the downtown and waterfront area listing major attractions, shopping, restaurants and activities.  It also lists parking options and road closures (for parades) where applicable.  You can pick up the print version of the Destination Salem Guide & Map once you’re here at the Salem Witch Museum, at the National Park Visitor Center, or many other places throughout the city.

2.  Arrive as early as possible.  The Salem Witch Museum opens every day at 10:00am.  The earlier you arrive to purchase tickets, the more likely your preferred tour time will be available.

3.  Be flexible.  It is possible – and especially as we near Halloween very likely – for certain presentation times to be sold out.  Be prepared to opt for a different tour time.  Our presentations begin promptly at  :00 and :30 of each hour.  Presentations last approximately one hour.

4.  Anticipate lines or wait-times just about everywhere in downtown Salem the nearer we get to Halloween.  And, if there isn’t a line or wait, just be pleasantly surprised!

5.  Expect there to be some traffic the closer we get to Halloween.  Directions can be downloaded here, and it’s always possible to map out alternate routes into Salem, ie. Route 1A, Route 107 , Route 127.

Salem Witch Museum Hours for October, 2012

Day        Date      Open                Close

Mon      1-Oct     10:00am               5:00pm

Tue        2-Oct     10:00am              5:00pm

Wed      3-Oct     10:00am               5:00pm

Thu        4-Oct     10:00am               8:00pm

Fri           5-Oct     10:00am               10:00pm

Sat          6-Oct     10:00am               10:00pm

Sun        7-Oct     10:00am               8:00pm

Mon      8-Oct     10:00am               7:00pm

Tue        9-Oct     10:00am               5:00pm

Wed      10-Oct   10:00am               5:00pm

Thu        11-Oct   10:00am               5:00pm

Fri           12-Oct   10:00am               10:00pm

Sat          13-Oct   10:00am               10:00pm

Sun        14-Oct   10:00am               7:00pm

Mon      15-Oct   10:00am               5:00pm

Tue        16-Oct   10:00am               5:00pm

Wed      17-Oct   10:00am               5:00pm

Thu        18-Oct   10:00am               5:00pm

Fri           19-Oct   10:00am               10:00pm

Sat          20-Oct   10:00am               10:00pm

Sun        21-Oct   10:00am               7:00pm

Mon      22-Oct   10:00am               5:00pm

Tue        23-Oct   10:00am               5:00pm

Wed      24-Oct   10:00am               5:00pm

Thu        25-Oct   10:00am               5:00pm

Fri           26-Oct   10:00am               12:00am

Sat          27-Oct   10:00am               12:00am

Sun        28-Oct   10:00am               7:00pm

Mon      29-Oct   10:00am               5:00pm

Tue        30-Oct   10:00am               5:00pm

Wed      31-Oct   10:00am               12:00am

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