WELCOME TO SALEM,
where Halloween is apparently an all-year-round type of thing,
where overpriced witchery- and psychic- souvenir stores try to lure clueless tourists in, to make them believe there might be a little living wizard inside them,
where history tries to come alive by all kinds of witch-related reenactments and ghost tours and
where the real terror is actually the amount of Halloween tourists.
You’ve probably heard of this town where they thought women were witches and drowned/buried them alive back in the day?
I thought so. Obviously I had to check this place out and it’s just 30 minutes away from Boston.
You can get to Salem by bus, train, commuter rail or your own car if you are lucky to own one.
We took the commuter rail from Boston North Station, and definitely were not the only ones to do so.
Seriously, when the train finally hit the Salem station it felt like the whole train had exploded and just pushed all the commuters out to fight for their lives. Everyone was walking so freaking slowly and making sudden stops and turns and running into other people…
It felt like I was a part of the world’s largest guided tour group and I didn’t enjoy that feeling. People were seemingly annoyed if another person accidentally touched them in the crowd. Like excuse me if I was trying to get some space to BREATHE!
Great start for the day!
We tried to escape the crowd but it was impossible. In October the whole town is full and there’s nothing you can do about it.
Everybody wants a piece of Salem.
Our first stop was the Witch Dungeon Museum. The admission was 9$ and in my opinion was worth it, even though there weren’t enough seats for everyone so we had to stand up.
There was a short reenactment of the Witch Trials, where they used real lines of the conversations which were written down at the court back in the day. After that everyone went downstairs to the dungeons as a big large group, where we could see how the suspected witches would’ve been kept as prisoners. Horrible stuff. Also because it was super cold and dark in the cellar and people were stumping on each other’s feet and a couple of kids started crying. And John tried to kill me by scaring me.
The second mission of the day was to find a normal store where I could buy a new SD-card for my camera.
Surprisingly this was the best part of the day. Why? Well, because I was mentally prepared to pay at least 30 bucks for the new memory card, but the cashier took only FOUR DOLLARS! This was truly an amazing moment for me.
I’m still not sure whether the card was on sale or if the cashier just made a huge mistake. Oh well, it’s mine now.
After the memory-card extravaganza we started just strolling around the town. Halloween Fair was in town so all the streets were filled with souvenir carts and food kiosks and all kinds of merchants and sellers.
There were souvenir stores in every corner as well as people dressed up in Halloween costumes. I was happy to see so many weird looking people walking around, and I tried to look for something crazy to wear as well – but Salem vendors know what sells.
All the cool costumes and accessories were SO overpriced that I just…bleeurghhh.
I started getting a little annoyed by the expensiveness of everything and how crowded it was everywhere. If I went to stand somewhere to take a picture, of course somebody wanted to pass by right there. Nnngh.
Then, all of a sudden, I found something. It was something amazing. Something that made me forget the crowd.
It was A HARRY POTTER THEMED STORE. AND NEXT TO IT….A HARRY POTTER WAND STORE.
OMG OMG OMG OMG!
And….BUTTER BEER! I immediately had to get me a nice cold bottle of that delicious looking beverage.
And it tasted exactly as I had always hoped and dreamed it would taste.
The wand store, Wynotts, is apparently a real deal, since according to J.K. Rowling the American school for witchcraft and wizardry is, as a matter of fact, in Salem!
When I was done playing Hogwarts, it was time to continue with the Salem Excursion.
The next stop was an art gallery, and an exhibition called Terror Fantasies. Some local artists showcased their beautifully terrifying artwork for us and I enjoyed it. A few of the pictures were super disturbing, but others were scary in a cute way. Like a rotten pumpkin come to life and and (fluffy) monsters lurking behind windows. Photography was forbidden, unfortunately, but if you’re around go and see it yourself! The admission was free.
It got cold outside really fast and we weren’t prepared for it. So we had to skip the tour to the burial point cemetery.
Instead, we hopped in and out of some of the witchery-stores and finally decided to go see a show.
It was a show based on real historical legends in Salem, spiced up with cool visual effects.
I learned something new about the scary history of the town, while I was peeing my pants. Not because I have a problem, but because they knew how to freak people out.
I think Salem has a lot to offer for a curious tourist, and if you have money I recommend taking at least some of the tours or seeing some plays. You’ll get to hear interesting details of Salem’s history and as the stories go on you get to see where the happenings actually took place in and how everything was like back then.
It’s also cool if you’re poor like me and can’t afford to purchase so much shit. Then just stroll around and see what’s good. Stalk people and find free stuff. Surprisingly many places offer quite doable admissions as well. Just read something about the place beforehand so it’s easier to connect the places with the happenings.
My lethal advise is to be prepared for the crazy amount of tourists. I didn’t expect that there’d be that much crowd and seriously it felt like queuing to a rock concert even though I was just trying to walk on the streets. October is the busiest month, I assume, but the witchery is all year round thing and appeals to so many people, like me.
Go and explore!