Sunday, July 11, 2004

Salem (witches and pirates)

Well for a very short ride on the train (about 40 mins) we got to Salem (about 17 miles north of Boston). Small town, got a fair bit of tackiness (particularly when it comes to the history of the witch trials), but it's actually quite cool.

Witches Dungeon
Given the name of this place, it was surprisingly the least tacky... Had a replica of the Dungeons of Salem where the 162 people accused of being witches were held (was built to hold up to 40 prisoners), really good source of information presented in an entertaining but not too tacky a way... The trials lasted for 13-15 months (we got told 2 different figures), and there were 19 executions, 5 men, 13 women & 2 dogs were hung. Aparently the dogs were accused of giving the girls the evil eye and thought to be witches in disguise.

Witches History Museum
Don't bother, tack-o-rama... The guide seemed to have some detailed knowledge but sheesh the place was full of crud, concentrating more on ghost stories than on the history of the trials...

Pirates Museum
Was really cool, got to listen to an entertaining guide as he told us about various pirates and privateers who operated out of/around Salem.. Including the only known female pirate. All sorts of interesting pirate stories including one who was caught (several times) and put into jail in Boston, but kept escaping... The local police thought it was magic as there was no tunnel, no bent bars, nothing... The mystery was eventually put to rest when it was found out that the jailor was actually the pirates uncle. :-)


No comments: