“The spiral that we saw in Salem is the same one that spurred the Red Scare, and the same one that causes paranoia in parts of our society today. Perhaps the innocent women and men may find their revenge after all – a purpose in history, more than just a mockery to promote tourism.”
A re-posted article by Laura Jungblug
Salem has a witch problem, but it’s not what you think. “The Witch City” sits nicely on the shore of Massachusetts, overseeing the ocean with its beautiful brick and wood houses, decorated with an eye for detail and ready to take on the month of Halloween. The town welcomes visitors with a rather conflicting mixture of witch tourism and the less visible, historical background regarding the mass hysteria and deadly witch hunt. Salem’s ambivalent relationship regarding its history is displayed in the various attractions found in the city. The Salem Witch Museum and Salem Witch Trials Memorial on the one hand; and the various haunted house attractions, Witch House, Wax Museum, and witchcraft souvenir shops on the other leave the city in a twilight between the brutal reality of history and a wicked romanticism.
With all the decorations, fairs, haunted happenings, and witches and wizards flocking the streets, the question comes up: where are the real witches? The “real witches” are indeed not real at all, but were at the center of the happenings in Salem 1692. They were innocent women and men accused of witchcraft by two little girls, resulting in 20 deaths and hundreds of suspects locked up in prison. The Salem witch hunt took place from February 1692 to May 1693, leaving Salem and other parts of Massachusetts as a disturbed community.
The spiral that we saw in Salem is the same one that spurred the Red Scare, and the same one that causes paranoia in parts of our society today. Perhaps the innocent women and men may find their revenge after all – a purpose in history, more than just a mockery to promote tourism. This doesn’t mean that Salem has to abandon its “witches,” but rather suggest that it is aware of its history and the profound relevance it has in American history as a whole.