MCC’s Trip to Salem, Mass., Frights and Delights
By Brittany Baxa
Special to the Live Wire
A bus full of students and their guests from Manchester Community College joined in with the more than 250,000 tourists that have visited Salem, Mass., this month for its season of Halloween festivities. The trip, offered by the Student Government Association, occurred on Oct. 25.
This year marks the 32nd annual “Haunted Happenings” that the city of Salem partakes in during the month of October. A variety of attractions, ranging from a seasonal carnival, to museums, theatrical plays, and tours are offered in the historically rich town known as the site of the Salem Witch Trials of 1692.
As soon as you descend into the city, be prepared to be spooked by people dressed as ghoulish goblins and the walking dead. There is plenty of entertainment just walking along the cobblestone streets. But if you want something a little more exciting, visit the Salem Witch Mansion. This haunted house is one of Salem’s newest and creepiest attractions, incorporating 3D and special effects that will terrify even the most skeptical passerby.
For those looking to take home a souvenir, Crow Haven Corner on 125 Essex Street has everything from spell kits and potions to handmade jewelry and art. The shop is also home to The Salem Witches Psychic Faire, where customers can receive a personalized tarot card and palm reading from a clairvoyant.
Salem, however, is not all about the costumes and magic tricks. The city has a real life story that is scarier than any haunted house.
The Salem Witch Trials of 1692 resulted in more than 200 people being accused of practicing witchcraft, in one of the first instances of mass hysteria in America. Of those, 19 were hung and one man was pressed to death by stone slabs.
Today, at The Salem Witch Museum, enthusiasts are taken through the journey of how the accusations and subsequent trials unfolded over 300 years ago with lifelike figures and chilling narration.
Allison D’amario, who has been working for the museum for 25 years, said the museum tries to give a historically-accurate account of events.
“It’s important for folks to understand the real story behind all of the myths,” she said.
Visitors from MCC took one of the many historical tours offered, the “13 Ghost’s Tour” after the sun went down. The tour led the group on a journey through Salem that was filled with so much more haunted history. The Witch Trials were not the only horrific occurrences to plague the town. The Great Salem Fire of 1914 destroyed two-thirds of the town and left 20,000 homeless.
One of the many stops the tour included was Saint Peter’s Church, which happens to be built on top of a burial ground. Another spooky destination was the former home of Bridget Bishop, who was the first person to be executed for the crime of witchcraft.
Although the Salem Visitor’s Center was closed due to the government shut down, that did not deter tourists from visiting Salem this year, said Jacob Padilla, a college student and local resident.
“This town has transformed this month, there are constantly people in and out,” he said.
With all of the town’s history and fun-filled attractions, it’s easy to see why people keep coming back to Salem when Halloween approaches. For more information about Haunted Happenings or visiting go to www.salem.org.
For more information about The Salem Witch Museum, which is open daily from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. year round, visit www.salemwitchmuseum.com.