It has been a long held wish of mine to visit Salem. Mostly because of the 90s movie Hocus Pocus. Before I was old enough to know about the witch trials, it was still unbelievably cool to think that there was a place that was spooky and almost Halloween-themed all year round.
As part of our field trip, we visited the real House of the Seven Gables and saw a witch trial re-enactment. Walking through those old houses, I couldn’t believe they were still intact. The floor beams creaked with every step we took, and the hidden staircase in one of the houses was so narrow that you had to turn sideways to get up. It was very claustrophobic and one of the girls in our group even fainted.
We also made a stop at the oldest candy store in New England, Ye Olde Pepper Candy Companie, where I bought lobster lollipops and half a ton of saltwater taffy. Afterwards, we had some free time, so we caught the end of a gay pride parade, drank fresh lemonade and I paid a visit to a fortune teller.
Firstly, a caveat – I am the last person on earth to believe in this kind of thing. When some friends tried to drag me along to a medium show a couple of years ago, I actually laughed at them and told them I thought it was stupid. But when you’re in Salem, you kind of have to go to a fortune teller! She told me that I had a good, strong relationship that was on track to very good things. She picked a couple of cards that said I had a lifelong love of travel and I would be doing a lot more of it next year. She said that uni had been a bit of a struggle and I was starting to lose my love of literature, but not to worry, because it would come back. She said I’d had a run of bad luck over the last few years, but things would be looking up for me by the end of the year. Apparently I’m also destined to have an amazing career, but it will be a bumpy road in getting there. Of course, it was all very vague and generalized. But it was an experience!
When we got back to Boston, we kept with the spooky theme by visiting some Puritan graveyards:
It was particularly creepy because so many of those graves were for children, sometimes 4 or 5 from the same family. So many of the tombstones had things like skulls and hourglasses on them. Apparently the Puritans had a very matter-of-fact view of death, I suppose because it was such a common and almost ever-present occurrence for them. In Australia, our (non-Indigenous) graveyards only date back 2o0 years or so, so it was amazing to see graves from the 1600s.
We were only there for half a day, but I loved Salem so much – I can’t wait to take Nathan back there someday!