Not Everyone in Salem was a Puritan

Just a post-postscript to my earlier series of posts about witchcraft and Salem, Mass. We tend to phrase the story of the 1690s as Puritans hunting “witches,” and it is true that members of the Puritan churches set the moral … Continue reading

The “Salem-Santa Fe” Mystery Solved

A month ago I blogged how astonished M. and I were to see that Kakawa, the Santa Fe-based chocolate house, was about to open a new store in Salem, Mass. Imagine our surprise to see this storefront on Essex Street … Continue reading

Turning Dead Puritans into the Mighty Dead: Redefining Salem

The last time that I walked through the Salem witch trials memorial adjacent to the Charter Street cemetery, I saw that someone had left a rolled-up paper at John Proctor’s memorial bench.1)No one ever seems to sit on the benches, … Continue reading

Salem, Arkham, and H. P. Lovecraft

What Bourbon Street is to New Orleans’ French Quarter, Essex Street is to Salem, Mass. When it’s party time (October), this is where the party happens. Otherwise, it is the chief tourist-commercial street, whether you want the Peabody Essex Museum, … Continue reading

Hawthorne’s Witches and a Secret History of Salem

A century and a half after the Salem witch trials, they still lived in the mind of a young Salem writer, Nathaniel Hawthorne (1804–1864). From his fiancee’s window, if he had a good arm, he could have thrown an ink … Continue reading

Where Were the Witches Hanged in Salem? (Part 2)

Read Part 1 here. Once there was a dirt road, the “Boston road,” that ran beside a pond on the way out of Salem.  (Now it is called Boston Street.) Then there came a railroad, and a shoe factory, and … Continue reading

Where Were the Witches Hanged in Salem? (Part 1)

I left our Salem apartment last Thursday to walk to the site, but what people used to think was the site is not the site. In fact, the true location, which was of course known at the time and remembered … Continue reading

The Southwest Follows Us to Salem & Salem Follows Us Home

Before M. and I left on this trip, someone mentioned a Georgia O’Keeffe exhibit at the big Peabody Essex Museum in Salem. As it happened, the exhibit ended just before we arrived, but that’s all right — we can visit … Continue reading

The Best New Book about the Salem Witch Trials

Wouldn’t you like to live in an enchanted world, where everything in nature brought messages from gods and spirits? The New England Puritans did so, but with a smaller cast of characters: their God and their Devil. But there were … Continue reading