Students Field Trip to Salem, MA

On October 18th, the two Literature of Terror classes were lucky enough to make the 45 minute trip to the heart of Salem Massachusetts, where 19 people were wrongfully accused of witchcraft and executed.
The students watched a play that gave an overview of how scared the common folk were of witchcraft. The play featured jump-scares and creatures many common folk believed to live in the forest.
In the latter half of the play, students participated in an interactive activity where they accused each other of witchcraft and sentenced one member of the field trip to death. After, the students were given a walking tour featuring the Salem Witch Trials memorial where the stone ledges hang in memory of the 20 total people who were victims of this mass hysteria including the man who was crushed by rocks as torture.
The frenzy that occurred 300 years ago was one of the largest examples of mass hysteria to exist in the world. Everyone had to be religious in the Puritan state of Massachusetts, and they believed that the Devil waited in the woods for someone to sell their soul to him in exchange for magical abilities. Women, in fear of prosecution, invented stories about other townsfolk making deals with the devil. If the accused claimed they were innocent of witchcraft, they would be hanged while those who confessed were allowed to live, as they were to receive punishment from God.
People have reported seeing the ghost of the man crushed by rocks in the nearby cemetery just before a disaster would happen. An example would be the great fire in Salem in 1914. People had reported seeing him walk around the cemetery he had been buried in. The town of Salem embraces their connection to Halloween and the witchcraft their town is known for. Many shops and attractions are themed and bountiful with witchcraft and items of spiritual interest. I would recommend anyone with an open weekend to take a trip to Salem around the season of Halloween, it truly is a worthwhile experience.

Andrew Kelley
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