Saturday, 20 April 2013

143 The Salem Witch House

NB. post No 141 was written but not actually published in error. It is now available below.

Friday 19th April 2013  Miles Today 27  Total 328

When we awoke, we turned the TV on and the intended route to Salem was not closed. 10 minutes later is was closed. We were wondering what our options were and were looking at driving South out of Boston and driving a big loop around it. Fortunately, just as we were having a coffee in the hotel lobby, the police re-opened the eastern, coastal route through Boston so we set off before they changed their minds again. 
The ride through Boston towards Salem was surreal. The roads were empty. These yanks take it seriously when they are told to stay indoors. We were was very impressed.
After a very short 20 mile ride to Salem we went in search of a hotel  or B&B but most places we went to were shut so we ended up in a motel paying considerably more than we wanted. Never mind, when the weather gets better we will camp some more and balance the books so to speak.

As I write this we are watching TV (around 8pm Eastern time) and the second Boston bombing suspect has been found and arrested. I suspect that the police are actually disappointed that he was taken alive. One of their number is dead and another officer has recently come out of surgery and we do not yet know what his prognosis is. Personally, I would have preferred him to have been taken out like his brother. We have no use for these scum in our society and the cost of a trial and incarceration just sticks in my throat. Notwithstanding that, Boston Police, we salute you. Well done.

Anyway, Salem: For those that do not know is famous for witch trials. Despite the fact that in Europe, witch trials were very common, in the USA they were a rarity and the house that is famous for witch trials in Salem is still in existence and a national monument.

In essence, in 1692 3 bored young girls listened to a "story" by a black ex-slave woman  and then for devilment decided to act very strangely. So much so that their parents thought they were possessed by demons. When quizzed by parents and others they falsely stated that an old woman had put some sort of curse on them. She was arrested for witchcraft, and after an initial acquittal, was convicted of witchcraft and sentenced to death by hanging. This set a precedent for any other people who were down on their luck to accuse others of cursing them and up to 250 men and women  were arrested for witchcraft. 19 ended up being hanged and one was crushed with rocks. The children eventually came clean and admitted the false statements saving many awaiting execution from being killed. 

We visited the magistrates house where the trials were performed and also the witch museum where it was made very clear in their historical presentation that the men and women killed were all innocent and not actually witches.

The first  church in Salem. 1629.
The "Witch Hose"

The magistrates living room where warrants and judgements were made.

The first settler in Salem

The witch museum where the story of the witch trials is told.

The harbour area is well looked after.

The bookshop in the main street. It was completely mad. We asked for a book on American birds and he went straight to it. Unbelievable.

The main pedestrianised street

After dinner we found a small bar and after a quick drink, decided to go the bed for an early night.

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