December 19, 2013

The Internet is Saying "Witches are the new Vampires"

We finally have a teaser trailer for WGN's new series, SALEM. 

The show got funded straight to it's first season without a pilot and is WGN's first original series so it might be a little budget, but it sure looks like they're putting a lot of time and energy into it. They are filming on a set designed to look like 17th century Salem built like a ghost town in Shreveport, LA. There's a cemetery, public square, church, and of course, the gallows. Its located on the Red River, which apparently is a great place to film scenes of accused witches being dunked.

With Salem witches playing a prominent role in shows like 'American Horror Story: Coven' and two separate reality shows in production focusing on the lives of average witches in The Witch City, it's starting to get a little crazy. Articles around the internet are saying things like "Witches are the new vampires!" But is it just a fad?

There are two different production companies trolling Craigslist, Reddit, etc. looking for local witches for reality shows, of course trying to stay ahead of the curve and ride the wave of the trend. Unfortunately, like most reality shows, they have a warped and idealized view about what exactly they want to film, asking for replies only from young women.

I wish I had the means to produce a documentary show about Salem, there's so much real magic and so many hilarious people to focus on, but what the '"reality show" types don't understand is that an authentic and intelligent show has a much more dedicated demographic - nerds. Sure, the assholes from Duck Dynasty can make lots of money really fast, but it's fleeting. Real success comes only from the types of dedicated fans that appreciate not being pandered  to. IMHO.

Even Jenji Kohan, creator of Netflix's 'Orange is the New Black', and Showtime's 'Weeds' is developing a new untitled drama for HBO based on the Salem witch trials and with the insane critical and commercial success of those two shows, it's hard to imagine that her show is going to be anything but amazing. It's also worth noting that, while WGN's show claims to involve the supernatural, it seems so far that Kohan's Salem is being toted as 'drama', so here's hoping it will be a completely different angle than what we are used to. 

Here's the teaser trailer:

September 14, 2013

What Salem Businesses have been Banished and which are Sacred Space? 2013 Edition

Maybe all the ghost tours should start mentioning that every time a restaurant tries to open up in the Lyceum building it fails... It could it be a new story they call The Curse of Bridget Bishop?

Keeping a business open in Salem is very difficult, the  downtown district is like a wild garden. Every year I see all the storefronts shifting and blinking, fading and blooming with enterprise and the hope of success. Some make it and some don't. 

Some are banished and others become sacred space.

Witch Shops - Most of the local witch shops are doing great  this year, and a few new ones are in town.

Archangel Michael holding down the spot at Magicka.

Things are getting confusing for tourists when they visit Pickering Wharf now that two well-respected local elders with similar sounding names are teaching classes and doing readings out of their new spaces! Firstly, the famous Laurie Cabot has some students that opened up a shop called Enchanted, where she can sometimes be found, but Lori Bruno, who has also become a local fixture in recent years, had just opened up her new shop Magicka in the space previously left open by Laurie Cabot when her shop "The Official Witch" shut down. 

The Salem Witch House, often confused for a witch shop.

Crow Haven Corner, Laurie Cabot's old shop on Essex Street, has been owned by a student/friend of hers ALSO named Laurie, who goes by Lorelei to try to avoid confusion. Tourists already get so bewildered I don't know how they are going to handle this further Laurie/Lori complication! Regardless, I wish the best to both of them. They are each in their own way the epitome of what we expect for and love in an elder.

The big three witch shops on Essex street (Crow, Hex, and Omen) are doing great. Word is that Hex New Orleans is doing great as well, people are joking saying soon it will be a franchise and we'll see a Hex in every mall, like Hot Topic. 

Also, it ends up that the guys from the World of Witches Museum that failed last year left town while they still owed a bunch of their employees money. Their whole "Young Witches of Salem" reality show idea ended up being a huge embarrassment of a failure so they blamed the city and left.

Same thing just happened with another guy who moved to Salem and suddenly started acting like he was an important witch and demanding respect. After a couple years of sashaying around downtown he opened up a shop and when it failed he blamed the city. The thing is, the witches around here are already established, successful, and respected - you can not just barge into the city and begin speaking on behalf of all Salem witches. It's a recipe for failure. Anyone with a successful witch shop in this city has lived around here for decades.

From the outside they may just look like a bunch of crazy people but that's only because Salem witches have to deal with so much ridiculous nonsense all the time and they have learned to to take it in stride and have fun with it. And that is what they are teaching me to do. After all, our mission is to educate people on our craft and in some cases entertain as well. You can't be grumpy and do that, you have to laugh!

Restaurants - Honestly I'm getting really annoyed with all the people who keep trying to open up restaurants in Salem that are just slightly too classy for our local atmosphere, but their successes and failures make a really interesting competitive local restaurant economy. This year a bunch of boring classy restaurants have opened or are opening up, but I want to move on to more interesting things like cupcakes, candy, and ice cream.
This sign is on the window across the street from my apartment on Washington st.:

We have a few very good places to get local baked goods like a & J kings and coffee time, but is this going to be a shop devoted specifically to cupcakes? That is something unique in Salem but becoming a trend in many cities across the country, so you know it is a sure-fire business plan, kind of like food trucks. When is Salem going to start getting food trucks? I'm telling you there's money in that.

We also have a new candy shop on Essex Street called Sugar Rush(no website yet). it offers some different things than the other candy shops in town but is pretty standard. it's an awesome location so they will do it extremely well, I mean you can't go wrong with candy.

And, as if we didn't have enough ice cream shops, Salem Screamery opened up where Ben and Jerry's used to be. They have some unique flavors but for the most part get their ice cream from Richardson's like all the other places in town, which is the favorite dairy of most locals.

Tourist attractions - This year one of the haunted houses in the mall is shut down, and another on Essex Street stopped being haunted and it changed its subject to general Salem history. Another one on the wharf keeps changing and no one can quite figure out what it is. During high season a few more places will become haunted house attractions, but right now there is only one in the city, The Witch Mansion. We'll see how this develops as October approaches.

Salem's 3D Time Machine tour museum thingy.

The haunted house 13 Ghosts has been changed into a really cute and cheesy history tour thing that I surprisingly enjoyed and hope tourists check out. It looks like a college kid constructed it with a low budget, but has a lot of heart, takes like 15 minutes and mentions a lot of random Salem history in a way tourists can easily understand. It also looks as though it can easily be converted into a haunted house for when it gets busy.

The Griffin Theater has now re-branded itself as the Gallows Hill Theater. I can only assume this is a conscious effort to confuse tourists into going there. 

Pioneer Village has been neglected and utilized on and off throughout the years, and this year an enthusiastic group of people is planning a "haunted event" called Terror at the Village:

The city is buzzing with energy and about to bubble over as we get closer to October. At any moment most business downtown could disappear for any reason - but some seem blessed, some seem lucky, and others are sacred space.

April 22, 2013

You Want "Lords of Salem" Spoilers? You Got them. My Full Review.

If you're looking for spoilers I can imagine you've already read a few plot synopsis', so let's cut right to the spoilers chase. .If you've read my previous posts, please excuse me for repeating a bit of the information here and please excuse me for leaking information about the movie which was later changed. ANYWAYS...

Firstly, you've probably read that this movie is a departure from Rob Zombie's usual work, but you may not understand how severely different it is. It's hard to even classify this as a horror movie, and we'll have to wait a while before general consensus chooses exactly what genre it is. It is very slow moving and relies more on creeping you out than in-your-face gore. When hearing people compare this movie to other horror directors over the past week I have heard dozens of names. I think it's fair to say Rob was deliberately paying homage to the genre rather than "ripping off" other styles.

When Heidi begins to have her visions after playing the mysterious record, it was really sad to watch her degenerate. One of the witches describes to her the difference between destiny and fate and I think the audience is supposed to ascertain from that that she has no chance of escaping her fate as the chosen one to give birth to the Anti-Christ. ...That I can understand, but watching her relapse and start smoking crack was probably the most depressing part of the movie. (On a side-note, locals were wondering why the film crew was shooting in the ghetto part of Salem known as "The Point", and appropriately enough, this is where she goes to buy said crack!) In one of the most disturbing scenes, Heidi seeks solace in a church only to fall asleep and have a dream sequence where she is orally raped by a priest while he screams Satanic prayers and black ooze spurts from his mouth.

A lot of what was leaked from the plot ended up being cut from the final product during editing. As I've mentioned previously, this included a lot of murder scenes, like the one in Engine House Pizza, and Lobster Joe - who's character was cut completely.

It was also a bit disappointing that one of the clips Rob chose to leak from the movie is a huge spoiler for the only real murder scene in the entire movie, that of author and local historian Francis Mathias (played by Bruce Davison). He is the only one who realizes something strange is going on but, even as he begins to unravel the mystery of the Lords, anyone who anticipated the movie and saw the clip knows he never stands a chance against these nudist hags.

As Heidi's visions get uncontrollable and her friends lose control of her completely, the audience is treated to the final parts of the movie, which are essentially Rob Zombie's take on strange Satanic rituals spliced with short scenes of reality where fellow radio show host Herman 'Whitey' Salvador (played by Jeffrey Daniel Phillips) tries in vain to help even though he has no clue what is going on. The witches get less frightening and more happy as they seem to revel in the ecstasy of the horror around them. Heidi meets a strange midget chicken-winged goblin thing, phantoms dressed as catholic bishops sit on thrones and fondle large purple dildos, Heidi rides a goat, dry-humps a dude dressed like a black metal mall rat, and finally gives birth to the Antichrist, which looks equal parts mandrake root, insect, and starfish. The witches praise Satan, half the audience gets confused as hell as the entire thing collapses in on itself and turns into a White Zombie video with melting cartoon Jesus' on crucifixes.

I assume in the original plot, the record hypnotizes the women descended from the people of Old Salem and each of them commits a murder while possessed, but in the final product we just see them begin to get hypnotized and then appear right at the end alive wearing the strange animal masks, and then to the final shot of Heidi Hawthorne standing on a pile of their dead bodies dressed as the Anti-Virgin-Mary as Velvet Underground's "All Tomorrow's Parties" plays. Definitely the best shot of the movie, I bet it took hours to get it perfect.

I have heard a few people say things like "How can you like that movie? I couldn't even take it seriously it was so bad!" And my response to that is that people who dislike Lords of Salem are the ones taking it too seriously.

The fucking movie was hilarious.


April 21, 2013

Lords of Salem's East Coast Premiere in Salem MA, American Horror Story: Coven, and Wicked Witches!

Usually tourist season doesn't pick up until April, but this year things started early and it was starting to begin in March. It might have something to do with some of the high profile projects involving Salem in the media recently.

There are three major things:

The first is last week's premiere of Rob Zombie's Lords of Salem at Cinema Salem.

We have been anticipating this movie since we first heard about it back in March '11, (edit: Actually, we learned about the idea when Rob started mentioning it during interviews in Fall '10)and it seems like a lot of locals got their hopes up and were expecting something a bit different. I loved the movie but general consensus in Salem is very negative, which disappoints me. I found the whole thing visually stunning, and even if there was a lack of character development and cohesive story line, the plot itself was fantastic. And hilarious. I love cheesy horror films and this one put a huge smile on my face throughout the entire thing.

The only thing that really disappointed me personally about the film was reading so much about it for the past few years only to see the final product and realize how much was cut during editing. A lot of it was important to deepening the plot, but I guess Rob figured in the end that the movie just had too many characters. Christopher Knight (aka Peter Brady)'s character, Lobster Joe, was cut entirely. Also, a lot of locals were waiting for the murder scene we had learned would happen in Engine House Pizza, but that was cut as well.

I'll write a more detailed synopsis and update soon! [edit: And here it is! Spoilers]

The second thing that's had people talking about Salem recently is "American Horror Story: Coven". When Kathy Bates was added to the cast, actor Dylan McDermott was asked how perfect she was for the cast  and slipped saying "She really is. All the witches of Salem... There's plenty of them!"

The thought of Kathy Bates playing a Salem witch had us all so excited we thought we could die, but then director Ryan Murphy smashed our dreams by saying the season would be filmed in New Orleans. Don't give up hope yet, though, Murphy also stated that the show would be about "multiple cities" and they could really film anywhere. He is also on record saying he wants it to include "horror romance" and it will be set in "modern day".

The final exciting thing happening in Salem is the one that a lot of people aren't even aware of. For a while now film crews have been sneaking in and out of town to visit Christian Day, Lorelei, and all their minions and film for the upcoming TLC reality show that I'm hearing might be titled "Wicked Witches". I have a lot of insider information on the show that I'm not going to disclose because it's more fun if things are a surprise, but I can tell you that I really don't think a reality show about witches is going to embarrass witchcraft as much as people are speculating. It's just a TV show, and it's just for fun and the most important thing to remember is that, although they make money off witchcraft, these people are truly authentic witches bringing REAL witchcraft to the masses. It sounds like the stuff they're filming is hilarious and awesome. People are saying the show might come out in May, I have no idea.

Quick loose ends news round-up:

Because of cancellations at Boston Comic Con, Jason David Frank, the original green Power Ranger was at Harrison's Comics in Salem! This is the extremely long line to meet him.

(photo by John Andrews of Social Palates)
Estimates are that approximately 2,500 people turned out to the event on Salem Commons to support the victims of the Boston Marathon bombings.

 Behind the scenes at Salem Film Fest. Amy Finkel, director of 'Furever' is interviewed before the screening of her film.
And last but not least, the sixth annual Salem Festival was absolutely huge this year, selling out most shows and playing some amazing documentaries.

November 13, 2012

October is Over - Camera Crews Descend

Not sure if it's an official rule or not, but I noticed Cabot trained witches always put their holiday trees up November 1st!

With the holiday on a Wednesday and the threat of hurricane Sandy, this year only about 40,000 people came to the Witch  City for Halloween night. Compared to previous years that's nothing, but it still means the population of the city doubled for one night. Things got insane either way and I saw so many hilarious costumes, even one guy I thought was dressed as Vermin Supreme that ended up actually being him! The previous Saturday may have been just as busy and most of the best Halloween parties happened the weekend before.

I went to The Official Salem Witches' Ball for the first time this year. People come from all over the world and spend lots of money for tickets so it's considered one of the coolest parties in all of witchdom. I'm a big fan of the DJ that works the night and his playlist had a good amount of appropriately witchy songs mixed in with the poppy dance stuff. It's kind of like a classy rave with a ritual in the middle. Lot's of strange people and strange things happening. The costume contest theme was "Witch and Famous" and the woman that won was the Wicked Witch of the West on a huge stilt-like contraption that stood towering above the rest of the crowd the entire night. My personal choice for best costume was the girl who was dressed as Laurie Cabot - her hair and glasses were perfect and I was surprised so many people didn't recognize the costume! It was adorable!

Bloody vampire of some sort on Essex st near the Peabody Essex Museum.

Now that October is over it's boring in town... but the perfect time for film crews to sweep in and shoot. One was shooting a small independent movie where a dying vampire was getting fake blood all over Essex St.

Crew setting up in front of Crow Haven Corner.

Christian Day, Lorelei, and Lori Bruno started filming for their much anticipated reality show last week. Word on the street is it's for TLC, so Honey Boo Boo is going to have some competition next year! I am so worried that these guys are just out to make all my bosses look crazy, but they are all grown adults and knew what they were getting themselves into!  Once this show airs there are going to be so many haters with stupid loud opinions. ...I'm sure there will be lots to write about and tons of rumors to dismiss. The folks at TMZ will be lifting stories from my blog, no doubt!

Crews filming the wicked witches in Rockefellas

The other big news in town is that Salem has been blessed with another beautiful witch shop. Lori Bruno surprised everyone by suddenly opening up her own shop without warning right at the end of October and leaving Hex! It is an absolutely beautiful space.... Ladies and gents, your first sneak peak at MAGIKA:

Owls, and walnuts and pomegranates, oh my.

See who's on the altar? "Mama loves Obama" - Lori

October 26, 2012

Zombies, Zombie, and Halloween in The Witch City

Every year I anticipate October so much that when it actually finally comes it's gone as quick as the autumn leaves falling off the trees. It seems like one day they're there, the next it's just a pile of red and gold for someone to rake, bag up, and put out on the curb.

The Salem Zombie Walk went surprisingly smoothly this year. It felt like after all this time they finally did it right. The crowd all stayed together, the officer leading us around was on a motorcycle and did a great job stopping traffic and clearing the streets for us.

The absolute highlight of the walk was as we turned up Hawthorne Boulevard and the rain started to pour right as the Catholic church bell was tolling 6pm. We all started to yell along with the bells and everyone was getting really rowdy and cheering in the rain - then we noticed the bagpiper standing outside of the church. Right then, with the absolute worst timing ever, he started to play and march and a wedding party appeared at the doors. They looked horrified and shocked as they walked through the hundreds of zombies, many of us stopping to clap and congratulate them. I felt kind of bad for them, but it was their fault for getting married in Salem in October!

Leading the zombies across Washington Square near the commons. (Picture via Haunted Happenings)

This October, Salem has been it's usual mix of witches, psychics, pervert clowns, wacko preachers, and Cenobite Teletubbies, but the one thing we all thought would be here by now and isn't? Rob Zombie's new movie, LORDS OF SALEM - the release date was moved to 2013.
In the trailer he showed during concerts, which ended up on youtube via audience camera phones, it said 2012 at the end. I don't think I can wait any longer, I am dying to see this movie. Those are some hot naked witches. When he filmed in town the crew certainly left their mark... Apparently a murder scene must have been filmed inside Engine House Pizza because there's fake blood leftover on the ceiling and they plan on leaving it there as a souvenir!
That's not marinara.
There's just a few days left to have fun in town, and with the Frankenstorm hysteria spreading it looks like Halloween might not be so awesome, so wear your costume all weekend!
The tourists are ready to occupy salem.

October 2, 2012

October 2012 in Salem: How to Not Be a Stupid Tourist!

             After living and working in Salem for as many Octobers as I have you start to notice the patterns and cycles of tourist behavior much like a primatologist notices the patterns of apes eating insects off each other and picking at their butts. In this entry I hope to create a handy guide for any tourist visiting this month not hoping to look stupid or have a horrible time.

B. What to Visit
 1. Witch Museums
 2. Other Tourist Museums
 3. Classy Stuff
 4. Etc
C. Spooky Stuff
D. Where to Eat
E. Modern Witchcraft
F. Random Tips

Salem Witch Wiles' Guide to Not Being A Stupid Tourist  

A. FAQs - Most Frequently Asked Questions
   1. Where is the House of Seven Gables?
   2. Where is the Witch Museum?
   3. Where is a bathroom?
   4. Where can I get a trolley ticket?
   5. Where is ____?

Answer: GET A FUCKING MAP. Seriously, they are free and all over the damn city. There are three or four different maps from a few different companies and they all compete and make all their revenue off advertising. Sit your ass down and look at the map, read the stupid guides with all the info and figure out what you're doing BEFORE you start aimlessly wandering around like a drunk guy in a Goofy hat in Disneyland. I find it highly ironic that people are so worried about "looking like a tourist" they don't look at their map and end up getting lost.

Also, the people at the information booth at the end of Essex st. (pictured above), as well as the friendly guides inside the Visitor's Center.

B. What to Visit Whatever the hell you want! Seriously, you can't make your own decisions with the internet and all the free brochures everyone showers you with the moment you get into town? OK, fine. I will sum up for you, but keep in mind there is more:  

1. Witch Museums -

   The similar names of these museums are not only confusing to tourists, locals usually just choose one favorite and never even check the others out. Before we get into how these attractions are different let me sum up their similarities: They all seem to have broken animatronics that haven't worked in a long time, they all cost around the same amount and last around the same amount of time, and I have heard equally great and horrible reviews for each. Also, each one of these museums is about the hysteria of 1692, almost forgot to mention that.

The Salem Witch Museum - Stand and learn while scenes light up around you.
The Witch History Museum - Walk through the scenes as some educational stuff happens.
Witch Dungeon Museum - Trial scene followed by a walk through some scenes.  

2. Other Tourist Museums -

There are other things to learn about in town besides 1692. Here is our list of other tourist museums. Reviews vary drastically.

Count Orlok's Nightmare Gallery - One of the few places in town I never feel uneasy recommending, even though it's not about Salem at all! It's a museum about the history of horror cinema, everything from Wolfman and The Creature from the Black Lagoon, to Freddy and Jason. It's an educational history museum for huge horror film nerds. Celebrity appearances and autograph signings all the time in October!
The Pirate Museum - Walk through scenes talking about Salem's pirate history, *SPOILER (lulz)* dude jumps out at you at the end.
The Wax Museum/Witch Village - The Wax Museum is one large room with scenes of Salem's history around it. If you don't read all the plaques and take your time you might think it's too short/small. The Witch Village is a guided tour half about Salem and half about witchcraft. BOTH of these attractions may or may not suddenly become dry ice filled strobe lit haunted houses during high-traffic times.
The Witch House - The name of this place has always bugged me. It's a way of tricking tourists into going there. They even painted it black to make it more "witchy". See, it is the only home still standing with direct ties to the hysteria trials - it's the house of Jonathan Corwin, who joined the Court of Oyer and Terminer to replace Nathaniel Saltonstall, who resigned after the first execution. So really, he was just a replacement, not even a first choice for the court. This museum isn't about 1692 at all, but more about the home itself, architecture, furnishings, and the history of the Corwin family. It has historic validity, it should just be called The Corwin House. The rumors about some of the examinations of victims of 1692 happening here are just bogus.
Salem Toy Museum - Totally random, has nothing to do with Salem history. Just for fun! This place is great, vintage toys, hilarious things on sale, and super nerdy things! It's inside the Museum Place Mall so it's in a weird spot, don't miss it! Also, while you're in the mall check out the new chip shop, 3 Potato 4, they are AMAZING.

3. Classy Stuff -
 The PEM - class and style.

A few of the things that the average tourist wont have time for in October.

Salem Maritime National Historic Site - Check out the replica of The Friendship ship, museum, Custom House, etc.
Peabody Essex Museum - Super classy and cultural. If it isn't October or you have some extra time, dedicate a bunch of hours or a whole day to this place.
The House of Seven Gables - Historic house museum on which Nathaniel Hawthorne's book was based. Also, the author's birthplace has been moved here.
Salem Willows Park - A nice little ocean-side park with arcades, cotton candy, and a carousel.
There are lots of other guided tours through historic homes and such, but most of them are pretty similar.

4. Etc.

Things I can't quite classify.

The Witch Trials Memorial - The only place you can pay respect to all the innocent people killed in 1692. Remember, we all have so much fun in Salem because a bunch of people were tortured and killed unjustly - how's that for a guilt trip? Take a little bit of time to reflect at the memorial and pay your respects.

The Bewitched Statue - A cheese-tastic homage to tourism in Salem. A huge amount of the seventh season of the show was filmed right in Salem!


Wynott's Wands - Remember Salem has been so successful in it's conversion into a Harry Potter themed shop they have also opened up Salem's first wand shop! I really wonder if there's enough of a market for authentic wands in October though... Especially with so many actual witch shops that carry them

C. Spooky Stuff
I found this picture of an actual Salem tourist entering one of our most horrific haunted attractions!

First things first, this is not Disney World. This is not even Spooky World. Things in Salem tend to be on a much smaller budget than standard haunted attractions you'll find in other places. I am not going to rate these because there are just so many variables involved in any individual experience, but I will say that The Boston Phoenix best described it by saying one "resembles a ransacked party store" . All last about the same amount of time and cost around the same amount of money. As of today there are exactly 4 haunted attractions in Salem (not including the few that become haunted mentioned above):
The Witch Mansion - Newly renovated and exits into the mall directly in front of the entrance to:
The Nightmare Factory - newly renovated as well.
13 Ghosts (The shortest) - This year they are boasting some kind of "haunted time machine", whatever that means...
Frankenstien's Laboratory (The longest) - Looks like they might have fixed this one up a bit, too. I sure hope so, the place was falling apart.
Whatever this thing is on Pickering Wharf - The space for a haunted attraction on Pickering Wharf has something going on, not sure what though. Don't know if they haven't yet decided or are keeping it a secret. Odds are it's another standard haunted house type thing.

D. Where to Eat -
 Awesome Vegginess at Life Alive. Pic via their tumblr.

With over 60 places to eat in Salem, it's pretty much impossible for me to review everything or make any recommendations, just a few things:

--If you are vegetarian you can check out my blog entry all about the best veggie places in Salem.

--Salem has just about every different type of food you can imagine - pubs, Chinese, pizza, cafes, classy expensive places, cheap family fare, a brewery, Thai, Indian, Caribbean, Polish and everything else - don't waste your money getting nasty sausages and junk from street vendors (no offense to my street vendor friends!)

--There are ice cream shops all over town. If you can't find one just keep walking until you do.

--If you go to Dunkin Donuts I will fucking slap you. Sure, many New-Englanders have bad taste and prefer them over anything else, but there are some of us who would rather recommend one of our many many local cafes for your caffeine fix.

E. Modern Witchcraft

These are places that witches visiting Salem will want to see. Mostly just shops, and there are lots more.

Crow Haven Corner - The oldest witch shop in the country, first opened up by Laurie Cabot.
The Salem Witch Walk Ever wonder why, if everyone in 1692 was an innocent victim and not a real witch, there are so many witches in Salem today? This tour explains what real witchcraft is while discussing the hysteria from a modern witch's perspective and starts with a participatory ritual at Crow Haven Corner. And I don't just love the tour because it helps clear things up for witches and Salemites alike, I'm also the tour guide!
Hex, Omen, & Festival of the Dead events - Halloween ringmaster Christian Day's October Circus
Laurie Cabot's Shop - Is closed! So many people keep asking where to find it, sorry guys!
Bewitched in Salem - Talk about eclectic, this witch shop has so many random things it's not even a witch shop anymore - it's an everything shop. From their website "A 4 inch ivory Jesus and a 4 foot steel Baphomet can share the same space.  We do not discriminate."
Site of Laurie Cabot's first shop! - What the hell is a Crotchet, much less an entire box of them? 100 Derby st is where Laurie Cabot opened the very first (and extremely short-lived) witchcraft shop in America before she gave it a second try and succeeded with Crow Haven Corner. Nowadays it's an awkward looking red house with a sign that makes no sense and many tourists assume is some kind of dirty joke they just don't get..

Line waiting to go into Laurie's Cabot's shop two years ago. It's closed forever now.

F.  Random tips

1. Dress appropriately - If you are wearing an expensive costume in Salem on Halloween night don't be upset if it gets stepped on, squashed, or otherwise soiled. That's right, I said soiled. All kinds of things are possible.
2. Be prepared to wait in line - Everywhere you go. Your whole trip. It sucks, I know, but just get used to it and get over it. The picture above is of people waiting in line just to get into Laurie Cabot's shop. The crowds can get a little dense, too, so be careful not to lose your friends.
3. Don't be fooled by signs - Apparently the laws about being able to say you are the "Official", "highest rated", "most popular", or "scariest" are pretty lax, because everything in town claims to be "the best".
4. Be weary of advice on the street - Unless it is someone dressed as a park ranger from the visitor center, someone from the official city tourist info booth (picture at top of page), or you just get lucky, odds are the person offering you friendly advice on what attraction to visit is being paid to do so by said attraction. Also, if you are stupid enough to keep taking flyers, DON'T LITTER!
5. And THE MOST IMPORTANT TIP for not being a stupid tourist is don't worry about being a stupid tourist! Relax, don't schedule every little thing, and don't be upset if things don't work out how you expect them to! With so much insanity all over the city all month you are bound to get caught up in something - make sure it's not drama!

I'm in this book!