Sunday, April 22, 2012

My Visit to Salem, Massachussets...

Sorry, I know it's been a few weeks since I last posted.  I've been running like crazy to get things done.  Every time I think I'm caught up something comes up and I end up back where I was in the beginning.  At one point last week I was not even one lecture ahead of my students!  That's kind of scary when you are so under-the-gun to get a lecture put together.  Thank goodness the semester is coming to a close though.  Only 2 weeks of classes left.  I am looking forward to some time off this summer to gather my head!

Speaking of time off, here are a few of the pictures I took when I went to Salem, Massachusetts a few weeks ago.  I've always wanted to go here, having been intrigued by the history of the Witch Trials during my history classes.

My first stop was at the Salem Witch Museum.  One word - hokey!!  I am not too happy that I spent the $9 to get in because it was really a crap museum.  You go into the building and sit down in a large common room.  There are large dioramas along the roof-line that light up as the story of the witch trials is told over the speaker system in a pre-recorded message.  From there you move to another room (always with your guide) where you see a diorama with two figures in it.  Again, another pre-recorded message telling you about witchcraft from the beginning and how it has been portrayed through the ages...think Wizard of Oz stuff.  Then you are taken to the 3rd room where two more figures in a diorama tell you about what a true witch really is (think caretaker of the Earth).  From there you are dropped into the giftshop...buh bye!  Oh well, I did grab a few postcards and a gift for a friend from the museum.  Here's a picture of me at the entrance to the museum.

After the museum I started wandering around town looking for a place to eat and for a bit more of the history of the witch trials.  The town is really small so it was very easy to cover the whole town in just a few hours.  I never did find a good place to eat (well, I ate but it was not good).  Along the way I came across the official witch trials memorial.  Here, there are slabs of rock that stick out of a rock wall with the name of the victims of the witch trials.  The most popular method of killing those convicted of witchcraft were hanged.  One, Giles Corey, was pressed to death!  They had him lay down on the ground and put planks on his prone body.  From there they continued to pile on huge rocks, asking him after each one to confess to his sins.  He never did and finally the weight was too much and he could no longer breathe.  He was pressed to death!  Here is his memorial.  His wife was also convicted of being a witch, spent time in prison while she was pregnant for this crime, but was released at the end of this terrible period.  It must have been so sad for her knowing her husband had not survived.

Wandering further around town I stopped at "The House of the Seven Gables" as made famous by Nathanial Hawthorne.  I stopped at the museum store to pick up a copy of the book for my friend, Will.  I like to buy him books from the places they were written and I've been lucky enough to get little tags that go inside that confirm the book was purchased at such a place.  Here is a picture of the house. 

Finally, across the street is Ye Olde Pepper Companie, American's Oldest Candy Company.  I stopped in here to buy a little something for my friend, Allison, who was watching Honor for me for the day.  It was absolute torture to go inside here because I'd given up all sweets for Lent.  I got my goods and headed out.

Well, that's the end of my tales from Salem.  It was a pretty cool town but I wish there had been more about the witch trials.  Maybe a tour of some type, although at the very end I did see a segway tour going on.  I need to make sure I check to see if segway tours are available on my little trips.  I'd really like to do one of those.



Lisa said...

I've been to Salem and calling the Salem Witch Museum a museum seemed a bit of a stretch to me. It was all dioramas and seemed to sensationalize everything too much instead of explaining the facts in my opinion. I loved the candy shop, too, but I was able to buy myself lots of sweets!

Rene said...

Lisa, I couldn't agree more. It really was a stretch to call it a museum and I was really disappointed with the experience.

I made up for the lack of candy on Easter...haha