Saturday, October 22, 2011

Location Analysis: Salem, Massachusetts

Salem, Massachusetts is easily one of the most recognizable cities in the United Stated of America, and it is also known as one of the spookiest locations as well. It was given its reputation after the mass executions (19) of people accused of witchcraft by the extremely religious Puritans of Salem. The story, trial, and tragedy were made famous by the historic setting of the incident and The Crucible by Arthur Miller. The location became the center of the Wiccan movement as well as Pagan religions and all types of travel based on the horrific event. Yes, there is much more to Salem than witch trials and horror, but it's an interesting archetype for an entire city to propagate through a fairly long period of time. Danvers, MA, the place where the executions were actually held, was once a part of Salem, but changed its name so that it would not have to be associated with the terrible injustices.

So, anyway, today I walked the streets of Salem, taking in everything about it. There's no real horror there anymore, unless you count some of the prices and the traffic this close to Halloween, but there still is a spooky flavor to everything. Huh... I feel like I'm writing a travel guide. "Witch" shops line the streets. People dress in costumes. There are haunted houses galore, each reporting itself as the scariest one. T-Shirts speak of surviving Salem or of famous eerie people, like Elizabeth Bathory, Vlad Tepes, and Aleister Crowley.

It's all kind of kitchy, but amazingly unique. It is a city that has embraced its darker side, giving credence to ghosts and spirits and the weird. And that's awesome. Sometimes a town should just be spooky. The old brick buildings that line the streets give off an air of age that few other places do. The uneven sidewalks talk of the many others who have walked those paths before you, and places like the cemetery are just awesome to walk through, seeing the last resting places of people who lived once, long ago. It's history, but the morbid sort. And I like it. It's a city that every person should visit once in their lives, especially if they enjoy spooky things. Obviously Halloween is the time to go or sometime in October at the very least.

I recommend it. It is unique and wonderful to people who enjoy something different, based on tragedy or horror or morbid history at least.

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