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.
TOP 5 ATTRACTIONS
The Freedom Trail
Salem Witch Museum
Six Flags New England
Top 5 TOURISM DESTINATIONS
Boston/Cambridge & Greater Boston
Plymouth & Cape Cod
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
First let’s get a working definition.
US Legal.com :
“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):
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.
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:
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.
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.
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.
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
“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.
“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 1995 film version of Arthur Miller’s play. Screen play by the author.
Filmed on location in Essex County. 2 hours
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
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 firstname.lastname@example.org for further details.
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!
What is your favorite Grimm’s Fairy Tale?
Our hours for the remainder of 2012
Monday, December 24th – 10 am to 3 pm
Tuesday, December 25th – CLOSED
Monday, December 31st – 10 am to 3 pm
Tuesday, January 1st – CLOSED
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.
For the safety of our staff and visitors the Salem Witch Museum will be CLOSED today,
Monday, October 29, 2012.
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