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Travel Column: Salem, Massachusetts

by Kaitlin Lyle

The CCSU History Club and the Society of the Paranormal Research joined forces and sponsored a day trip to Salem, Mass, to visit the attractions of “Haunted Happenings”, a month-long occasion set for October.

For the price of a ticket, the student was given the opportunity to visit the Haunted Happening events, including the Salem Wax Museum, the Salem Witch Village, Frankenstein’s Castle, and Within the Witching Hour: A Spellcasting. As a special addition to this year’s activities, the student was also presented with a trip to the House of the Seven Gables in which they would pick a specialized tour (the Hanging Judge Tour or the Spirit Tour) to attend before the night was through.

With the trip coinciding amid the month of October, the town of Salem looked hauntingly striking behind the smoky veil of tourist attractions and fall leaves shrouding the cemetery’s gravestones. While some of the attractions were set up to bring out the spirit of Halloween (Frankenstein’s Castle, a haunted walk of jump scares) or to explore the mystery behind a witch’s magic [in the Spellcasting], the expedition placed exceptional concentration on the history of Salem’s past.

Throughout each experience came a more perspicuous understanding of the horror that occurred during the Salem Witch Trials, almost as though each had a piece of the puzzle to unleash.

In the Gables’ Hanging Judge Tour, the story of supernatural hysteria was brought to life by a series of actors who spoke of the Trials through the words of various characters. A tormented version of Nathaniel Hawthorne came into play as a future warning of what lay ahead, followed by his loathed ancestor, John Hathorne, “the Hanging Judge”, who denounced the wrath of Satan upon Salem’s purity before sending the guilty ones off to hang.

Salem first-timers and returning visitors alike became instantly enraptured with the dark vibrations of the city’s opaque stories; though there were only a few in costumes, there was a subtle obscurity detected, lurking behind each corner as we made our way throughout the city.

During the tour of the various gravestones marked by the hung ones and the wax creations made in their likeness, a swift melancholia overtook the people in the full realization of the toll paid through the hysteria and in how many lives had been lost from spite disguised as “witchcraft”.

What made this trip unique overall was not only did it give the students a day to remember in one of New England’s most impenetrable cities, but it was set up to enrich minds on an infamous conspiracy event just in time for Halloween. All things considered, a door was opened to the lucky students of last week’s trip, and for those who didn’t attend I highly recommend making a day trip to Salam this Halloween season.