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Trip to Northeast USA
October 2005
Were there any real Witches in Salem in the late 1600s?  I suppose that depends on your definition of "Witch".

Some residents have recently conceded that their ancestors attempted to contact spirits of their contemporary relatives just after their deaths.  To their more "devout" neighbors this may have translated to "turned away from the Christian God (the one true God) in order to communicate with evil spirits."  To the "devout" colonists in Salem, anyone who was not Christian enough for their standards, was either a heretic or a Witch. 

Were there Goddess worshippers in Salem in the late 1600s?  I haven't a clue. 
Unitarian Church sign

Unitarian Church sign Were there spell casters and nature worshippers?  That's probably a safer bet considering that the indigenous people would probably fit that category (to the European mind), and they were better at coping with the conditions of the land and climate (until the Europeans brought disease to them).

The important thing about Salem is that a few of the accusers later admitted that they had made a serious mistake, and begged for forgiveness.  Later, the entire colony was mortified by what they had done.  There are other places in New England where people accused of Witchcraft were tortured and/or murdered by officials representing the church and government, but Salem never escaped from its association with the Witch trials. 

Possibly as a result of this, today most of the descendents of the colonists are staunch defenders of religious freedom.  And, other than the commercial value (discovered first by Laurie Cabot in the early 1970s), that is what the Witch on the broomstick represents to them.

East India Marine Hall with spiderweb design in portal window

ghostly private home with spider web design in arched doorway window

Created:  October 17, 2005
Updated:  September 21, 2006
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