Salem is synonymous with witches and witchcraft. More
than 300 years ago, this small town in South Massachusetts
was in the grip of a nine month religious fever. 19 men and
women were hanged, one man crushed and hundreds of lives irrevocably
changed. All were accused of witchcraft and being in league
with the devil by a group of Puritan girls over-stimulated
by the Voodoo tales of a Caribbean slave called Tituba. The
real events of Salem were depicted in a tense drama, The
Crucible by playwright Arthur Miller.
Today in Salem, witches and witchcraft are a big business.
For $5 you can raise the devil in the Witch Dungeon Museum
or pick up a Hysteria Pass and scare yourself silly at
Witch Village. Even the police cars here have got a
There are 2,500 modern day witches, or Wiccans, who
live around Salem. Laurie Cabot, the 'Official Witch
of Salem' set up the WLPA in 1986 to correct myths and misinformation
on witches and defend their rights. Witches generally don't
do evil or worship satan. They have regular clothes and look
and dress like ordinary people. Modern witches do use spells,
but they are a form of prayer and not for harmful purposes.
Wicca is a pre-christian faith based on nature which was resurrected
in 1951 by Gerald Dardner after the laws against witchcraft
in England were repealed. Wicca is a tolerant religion that
pays homage to a God and Goddess and recognises no personification
of evil. The Wicca religion was recognised in the US under
the Constitution in 1985. The Mabon is a harvest festival
held to thank the Goddess for giving us enough produce to
feed us through winter.