Salem Witchcraft Memorial
This is as it should be. Salem, Massachusetts earns its bread and butter off its spooky history. I don’t fault them for that. When I get around to visiting Salem, it will be precisely for that reason, because of its haunted pedigree. Without its witch trial ambiance, its aura of the supernatural, it’d be just another charming old New England city, steeped in history like all the rest, but with nothing to make it stand out. Revolutionary War and Colonial America buffs would still go there, but it wouldn’t be the magnet for tourists that it is today, not by a long shot, if it weren’t for its witches. With all the focus on the city’s spooky legacy, though, something that frequently gets overlooked is the salient fact that none of those executed for witchcraft during the infamous “Salem Witch Trials” were actually witches. They were ALL innocent. These victims of hysteria and prejudice shouldn’t be forgotten, and they shouldn’t be remembered in a diffused manner, hazy and translucent, tangentially involved only because of the accusations directed against them but otherwise mere shadow figures. “The Accused,” as viewed in collective form, or “the Victims.” Certainly they should not be remembered incorrectly as “The Witches,” since they were assuredly NOT practitioners of the dark arts, not at all.
Salem has plans to make sure those poor souls aren’t overlooked. A memorial is planned for Proctor’s Lodge. That’s the spot where 19 falsely accused citizens were hanged in 1692. If you’re visiting Salem, please do make sure you stop by the memorial marker and pay your respects. All the witchy tourism spots will wait, and you might just appreciate them more, knowing the foundation of tragedy on which modern Salem rests.