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A Season with the Witch: The Magic and Mayhem of Halloween in Salem, Massachusetts

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Salem, Massachusetts, may be the strangest city on the planet. A single event in its 400 years of history―the Salem Witch Trials of 1692―transformed it into the Capital of Creepy in America. But Salem is a seasonal town―and its season happens to be Halloween. Every October, this small city of 40,000 swells to more than a quarter million as witches, goblins, ghouls, and gho Salem, Massachusetts, may be the strangest city on the planet. A single event in its 400 years of history―the Salem Witch Trials of 1692―transformed it into the Capital of Creepy in America. But Salem is a seasonal town―and its season happens to be Halloween. Every October, this small city of 40,000 swells to more than a quarter million as witches, goblins, ghouls, and ghosts (and their admirers) descend on Essex Street. For the fall of 2015, occult enthusiast and Edgar Award-winning writer J.W. Ocker moved his family of four to downtown Salem to experience firsthand a season with the witch, visiting all of its historical sites and macabre attractions. In between, he interviews its leaders and citizens, its entrepreneurs and visitors, its street performers and Wiccans, its psychics and critics, creating a picture of this unique place and the people who revel in, or merely weather, its witchiness.


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Salem, Massachusetts, may be the strangest city on the planet. A single event in its 400 years of history―the Salem Witch Trials of 1692―transformed it into the Capital of Creepy in America. But Salem is a seasonal town―and its season happens to be Halloween. Every October, this small city of 40,000 swells to more than a quarter million as witches, goblins, ghouls, and gho Salem, Massachusetts, may be the strangest city on the planet. A single event in its 400 years of history―the Salem Witch Trials of 1692―transformed it into the Capital of Creepy in America. But Salem is a seasonal town―and its season happens to be Halloween. Every October, this small city of 40,000 swells to more than a quarter million as witches, goblins, ghouls, and ghosts (and their admirers) descend on Essex Street. For the fall of 2015, occult enthusiast and Edgar Award-winning writer J.W. Ocker moved his family of four to downtown Salem to experience firsthand a season with the witch, visiting all of its historical sites and macabre attractions. In between, he interviews its leaders and citizens, its entrepreneurs and visitors, its street performers and Wiccans, its psychics and critics, creating a picture of this unique place and the people who revel in, or merely weather, its witchiness.

30 review for A Season with the Witch: The Magic and Mayhem of Halloween in Salem, Massachusetts

  1. 4 out of 5

    Christine

    Ocker and his family spend a month in Salem, MA. This book is more about the city than about that month. Ocker gets bonus points for including a chapter about the non-tourist section. I have to love a book that makes reference to Hocus Pocus. But honesty, a fun and funny read.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Gary

    The ultimate book to use as a guide to see the witchiest city in America..... JW guides you through its haunts, graveyards,and history of a time gone by...witch trials and the like..... I enjoyed the book very much,and now really hope to visit the city some day...taking this book with me..... And now folks, read Harvest Home by Thomas Tryon....I bet it's one horror novel you've not experienced.....New England mayhem in the fall....with both of these books. Thanks JW for your book. A job well done The ultimate book to use as a guide to see the witchiest city in America..... JW guides you through its haunts, graveyards,and history of a time gone by...witch trials and the like..... I enjoyed the book very much,and now really hope to visit the city some day...taking this book with me..... And now folks, read Harvest Home by Thomas Tryon....I bet it's one horror novel you've not experienced.....New England mayhem in the fall....with both of these books. Thanks JW for your book. A job well done, my friend.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Alicia Maclean

    Argh, the typos! I still went w/the 5 star, as I enjoyed the author's style and learned far more about Salem than I ever imagined (and not just the witch trials history). Very interesting to hear from many sides (art snobs, history buffs, modern-day witches, party-lovers, cemetery grounds keepers, etc.) on what Salem was, is, should be, and means to them. A perfect read for getting into the Halloween spirit! Argh, the typos! I still went w/the 5 star, as I enjoyed the author's style and learned far more about Salem than I ever imagined (and not just the witch trials history). Very interesting to hear from many sides (art snobs, history buffs, modern-day witches, party-lovers, cemetery grounds keepers, etc.) on what Salem was, is, should be, and means to them. A perfect read for getting into the Halloween spirit!

  4. 5 out of 5

    ❄️✨ Kat ✨❄️

    This book is basically Salem's history rather than being about Halloween like the title suggests. It didn't really keep my interest and I couldn't finish it. I think I should have realized that I wouldn't like it when they referred to 'Salem's Lot like it was written about Salem, Massachusetts.. This book is basically Salem's history rather than being about Halloween like the title suggests. It didn't really keep my interest and I couldn't finish it. I think I should have realized that I wouldn't like it when they referred to 'Salem's Lot like it was written about Salem, Massachusetts..

  5. 4 out of 5

    David Webber

    Not a bad book on the history of Salem, including good chapters on Hawthorne, judges for the witch trials, maritime history, etc., but none of this was all that well linked to the book's premise, which I thought was visiting and experiencing this center of the Halloween universe during October. Instead of a travel book, parts of it read more like an inquisition of the town's tourism decisions and museums. Rather than interviewing interesting people who come year after year to the festivities, we Not a bad book on the history of Salem, including good chapters on Hawthorne, judges for the witch trials, maritime history, etc., but none of this was all that well linked to the book's premise, which I thought was visiting and experiencing this center of the Halloween universe during October. Instead of a travel book, parts of it read more like an inquisition of the town's tourism decisions and museums. Rather than interviewing interesting people who come year after year to the festivities, we get an interview with the police chief and mayor, which were not that exciting. And instead of a wonderful trek into the events and people of October in Salem, it reads more like you're experiencing the trip with your boring uncle who is a literature professor at the local college.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Matthew Bielawa

    A fun and enjoyable book. The author does a good job presenting Salem as witnessed in his month long stay. I like the wide variety of topics, interviews and memorable (and delightfully quirky) characters. It’s not purely a travel book, though it goes into a lot of detail describing the town’s attractions (mostly, but not only witch- or Halloween-themed) . It’s not meant to be a history of the infamous 1692 witch trials, though it gives a decent introduction. And it’s much more than just one man’ A fun and enjoyable book. The author does a good job presenting Salem as witnessed in his month long stay. I like the wide variety of topics, interviews and memorable (and delightfully quirky) characters. It’s not purely a travel book, though it goes into a lot of detail describing the town’s attractions (mostly, but not only witch- or Halloween-themed) . It’s not meant to be a history of the infamous 1692 witch trials, though it gives a decent introduction. And it’s much more than just one man’s account of his month long stay. Through his many interviews and background readings, he tries to get at the heart of the October experience in Salem. Super fun, humorous and insightful!

  7. 5 out of 5

    Susan needs more books, not really

    For the most part this was a pretty interesting book. I've been to Salem a number of times and didn't know where most of the not-too-obvious historic sites were. I found that really useful for my next visit there. However, I wish I'd highlighted those entries now! I ended up skipping some chapters, mainly those where the author interviewed the citizens of Salem and got their opinions about the city, changes, Halloween, etc. I really didn't care what they had to say - we all have our opinions - an For the most part this was a pretty interesting book. I've been to Salem a number of times and didn't know where most of the not-too-obvious historic sites were. I found that really useful for my next visit there. However, I wish I'd highlighted those entries now! I ended up skipping some chapters, mainly those where the author interviewed the citizens of Salem and got their opinions about the city, changes, Halloween, etc. I really didn't care what they had to say - we all have our opinions - and there was nothing earth-shattering (from what I read). Still, it is a good starting point for any visitors to this city so you know where to look for all those out of the way historic places.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Cupcakes & Machetes

    The allure of Salem, Massachusetts is a large one if you're someone who revels in Halloween and/or history. We all know the basic outlines of the Witch Trials but this book just proved to myself that I don't know enough. Now, this isn't the book to pick up if you're looking to learn about the Witch Trials like myself, but it is the one to pick up if you've been wondering just how weird Salem gets around Halloween. It was interesting to find out that Salem only really began putting an emphasis on The allure of Salem, Massachusetts is a large one if you're someone who revels in Halloween and/or history. We all know the basic outlines of the Witch Trials but this book just proved to myself that I don't know enough. Now, this isn't the book to pick up if you're looking to learn about the Witch Trials like myself, but it is the one to pick up if you've been wondering just how weird Salem gets around Halloween. It was interesting to find out that Salem only really began putting an emphasis on Halloween a few decades ago. It sounds like a divided town. One where half the residents want to be known for arts and culture and the other half is proud of all the Halloween fun. One half thinks they are disgracing the legacy of the victims of the witch trials, while the other half thinks that they are honoring them. The first half of the book is an examination of the city's entire history, the second half gets more into the weird stuff. While I enjoy history, I didn't exactly enjoy the manner in which the author recited the lore. I cannot pin point the exact reason that it bothered me but, I'll go with mildly boring. The second half was more entertaining, hearing from real life residents. LOTS of typos. Overall, a decent travel book to inspire people to check out a legendary American city and have some spooky fun.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Melanie

    This is probably the first travelogue I've read and the subject matter certainly has a lot to do with that. While I probably won't be jumping into other volumes on the travel writing shelf unless I have a singular interest, this was an awesome blend of history and attractions. Ocker doesn't just hang around the witches or the goblins and ghouls of Salem, he devotes time to its history as a port city for pirates, as the home of literary greats Hawthorne and Lovecraft, and a look at what life in S This is probably the first travelogue I've read and the subject matter certainly has a lot to do with that. While I probably won't be jumping into other volumes on the travel writing shelf unless I have a singular interest, this was an awesome blend of history and attractions. Ocker doesn't just hang around the witches or the goblins and ghouls of Salem, he devotes time to its history as a port city for pirates, as the home of literary greats Hawthorne and Lovecraft, and a look at what life in Salem, as a city like anywhere else, is truly like for the local government, municipal workers, and police--especially what that looks like when a million people flood their 8 square miles for Halloween. While it's the only book on Salem I've read, I feel confident in saying it's the most comprehensive collection of information on what a modern stay in the city looks like. Having already been to Salem once when I read it, Okcer gave great insight into places I visited and also uncovered places I didn't know about or didn't think to go.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Bruce Smith

    I liked the book. The author included good details about the Witch Trials, current and past Salem, and local sites of interest including non-witch associated items. He included some things that didn't necessarily stick to the theme, and they struck me as being a little odd for the book, but whatever; it's his book. He definitely peaked my interest to return to Salem. I haven't been to Salem since Halloween became a big deal back then it was all about Hawthorne and The House of Seven Gables. I pr I liked the book. The author included good details about the Witch Trials, current and past Salem, and local sites of interest including non-witch associated items. He included some things that didn't necessarily stick to the theme, and they struck me as being a little odd for the book, but whatever; it's his book. He definitely peaked my interest to return to Salem. I haven't been to Salem since Halloween became a big deal back then it was all about Hawthorne and The House of Seven Gables. I probably won't go in October no matter how much I enjoy horror stories and monsters, I don't dig the crowds.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Kitty Jay

    Review upcoming Review forthcoming. Preliminary: Memoir of a city, humorous and in the spirit of the whole thing, friendly but not afraid to push

  12. 4 out of 5

    Sandi Ward

    A fun read! Entertaining and immersive look at life in “Witch City”.

  13. 4 out of 5

    andrea caro

    4.5 stars. Was a little clunky in the middle and it took me a while to get through (maybe because I wasn't super interested in reading about Hawthorne), but this read like a love letter to Salem and October in Salem. 4.5 stars. Was a little clunky in the middle and it took me a while to get through (maybe because I wasn't super interested in reading about Hawthorne), but this read like a love letter to Salem and October in Salem.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Chloe

    I absolutely devoured this book. It was an impulse grab for me, a book I checked out of the library on the simple basis of it having a really cool cover and an intriguing premise. "Occult Enthusiast" J. W. Ocker (the author) spends a month living in Salem, MA to report on just about every aspect of life in the city - but not just any month, of course - he visits in October, when the Witch City becomes Halloween central. I love Halloween. I'm interested in horror. And I adore Salem. I've visited I absolutely devoured this book. It was an impulse grab for me, a book I checked out of the library on the simple basis of it having a really cool cover and an intriguing premise. "Occult Enthusiast" J. W. Ocker (the author) spends a month living in Salem, MA to report on just about every aspect of life in the city - but not just any month, of course - he visits in October, when the Witch City becomes Halloween central. I love Halloween. I'm interested in horror. And I adore Salem. I've visited twice, during the summer, and I loved every kitschy, weird, witchy corner of it. This book was a gem. Ocker has a very informal writing style, so reading the book feels almost like talking to a friend who shares the same odd interests as you. I particularly enjoyed the chapter on the Peabody Essex Museum - as a museum aficionado who embraces both the witchy kitsch of Salem while respecting the PEM's higher aspirations, it was fascinating to see how the city (and that particular institution) navigate being in such a specifically strange tourist town. But I also loved meeting the people who run Salem's other museums (if you want to call them that), and the witches, and the everyday folk just trying to live their lives. I'll this book in mind as I make return visits to Salem (maybe in October, this time), and I'm definitely going to give some of Ocker's other works a read!

  15. 5 out of 5

    Paige Etheridge

    I took time to savor this book. Because it talks so much about a city I love and still at times considering moving to, and not just because of Halloween either. It honors the victims of the 1692 With Trials. It honors one of my favorite authors, Hawthrone. You meet Stevie the Vampire and the killer face from Halloween. We even got to quickly see that guy from the Sinister movies! You even get to meet the mayor and the cops too. It was in depth about the city itself and I loved that. There are so I took time to savor this book. Because it talks so much about a city I love and still at times considering moving to, and not just because of Halloween either. It honors the victims of the 1692 With Trials. It honors one of my favorite authors, Hawthrone. You meet Stevie the Vampire and the killer face from Halloween. We even got to quickly see that guy from the Sinister movies! You even get to meet the mayor and the cops too. It was in depth about the city itself and I loved that. There are so many books on the trials and hauntings in Salem. This book covers Halloween, what it's like to live in Salem, as well as the city as a whole. So much of the history was covered, such as the Maritime and the start of the National Guard. And I loved that! I do find it funny too because I'm rewatching Unsolved Mysteries on Amazon Prime, and one of the episodes on the show was mentioned toward the end of the book. I've been to most of the places mentioned in the book, and I loved being able to walk around Salem again in my mind through this novel. Overall this book covered the meaning of horror, Halloween, and history. The many meanings of the word "witch" and it's various roles in Salem, as well as being it's own identity as a word there.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Krista

    Everything about this book just worked for me. Like Poe-Land the author's writing style was like sitting down with him and being entertained by his travel stories. Very engaging. The combination of history with modern day experience had perfect balance. Having visited Salem earlier this year I found his descriptions of the attractions to be spot-on. I enjoyed reading his encounters with the residents and visitors. Learned about some things I want to check out when I go back. An author I'd defini Everything about this book just worked for me. Like Poe-Land the author's writing style was like sitting down with him and being entertained by his travel stories. Very engaging. The combination of history with modern day experience had perfect balance. Having visited Salem earlier this year I found his descriptions of the attractions to be spot-on. I enjoyed reading his encounters with the residents and visitors. Learned about some things I want to check out when I go back. An author I'd definitely like to meet if I was ever near enough for a book signing. I bought this for my Nook but absolutely had to purchase hard copy because this book definitely belongs on my keeper shelf.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Amy Holland

    The other thing is, everything in the entire world is founded on tragedy. Our country, every country. There's not a society on the planet that doesn't have ancient tragedies clawing at its back. The past is a giant corpse - right, Hawthorne? But life isn't a perpetual state of regret and mourning over those tragedies, it's taking those tragedies, giving them their due in proportion, learning from them (or not), working to prevent them from happening again (or not), and then we all party because The other thing is, everything in the entire world is founded on tragedy. Our country, every country. There's not a society on the planet that doesn't have ancient tragedies clawing at its back. The past is a giant corpse - right, Hawthorne? But life isn't a perpetual state of regret and mourning over those tragedies, it's taking those tragedies, giving them their due in proportion, learning from them (or not), working to prevent them from happening again (or not), and then we all party because we only have so many holidays in our lives. This book makes me want to go back to Salem in October, even though I had a semi-horrible time when Arthur and I went last October. It was just so crowded, and I was in pain that day, and throngs of tourists aren't necessarily forgiving to a tiny person hobbling along the sidewalk. I remember sitting down on some ledge (I'm really hoping I wasn't carelessly sitting on the Witch Trials Victims memorial) and I was near tears, but then this young dude came bounding by singing "Follow the Yellow Brick Road." I instantly felt better, and I think that anecdote is a great example of the weird and random assortment of crap you will see in Salem in October. And that's why I want to go back - I love weird and random crap, and there's no better place to get your fill than in Salem. If you're planning to visit Salem but haven't done so yet, definitely read this book before your trip. It prepares visitors for the insanity, and also gives you a sense of which attractions to check out and which ones to avoid. It also gives you tons of background and context, which I think would help to make any visit to Salem more meaningful. I also loved that Ocker is a horror nut (and a fan of weird things in general - he has a great website called "Odd Things I've Seen") and his appreciation of the genre really comes through. But here he's giving horror a really smart, almost academic treatment - which is a nice change of pace. If you're a huge horror fan (and I would place myself in that category), after a while you start to get interested in the "whys" and "hows" behind the spooky. You want more history and context in terms of the things that are scary (at least I do), and this book definitely delivers on that front. It's smart without being pretentious - Ocker clearly has a great sense of humor, and that comes through, too.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Tamara

    It was an interesting read. I'm not sure what I thought it was going to be about going in. Well, I knew it was going to be about Salem, but I didn't really know what Salem was--other than a place where some Witch Trials happened and then Arthur Miller wrote a play about it some 300 years later. Salem is definitely a bizarre place that seems to struggle with its past to find an identity that residents and outsiders can agree with. However, I enjoyed reading this book. The author had a nice sense It was an interesting read. I'm not sure what I thought it was going to be about going in. Well, I knew it was going to be about Salem, but I didn't really know what Salem was--other than a place where some Witch Trials happened and then Arthur Miller wrote a play about it some 300 years later. Salem is definitely a bizarre place that seems to struggle with its past to find an identity that residents and outsiders can agree with. However, I enjoyed reading this book. The author had a nice sense of humor, if a bit corny at times. And I liked that he seemed to want to interview all sorts of people to get their view of Salem. I actually enjoyed the chapter where he spoke to the city employees like police officers and the mayor. I can't even imagine trying to organize a whole month of events and then splitting that month into Halloween & the rest of the month.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Remlee

    I didn't expect to love this book so much! I'm a big fan of the author's other works, but I'm not usually into lengthy travelogues. This one was different. Even after having lived in Salem for 5 years and being a massive Halloween fan for many more, I still learned a lot of great stuff. Ocker really captured the spirit of Salem and somehow made even historical drudgery seem interesting. His interview recaps were fun to read, and the way he tied them together into themed chapters worked really we I didn't expect to love this book so much! I'm a big fan of the author's other works, but I'm not usually into lengthy travelogues. This one was different. Even after having lived in Salem for 5 years and being a massive Halloween fan for many more, I still learned a lot of great stuff. Ocker really captured the spirit of Salem and somehow made even historical drudgery seem interesting. His interview recaps were fun to read, and the way he tied them together into themed chapters worked really well. It could have easily read like a history book, and some chapters are heavier than others, but the way that he humanized the subject with interviews of real people and descriptions of his family's time in Salem made it feel personal and cozy. (It was a little hard to read the descriptions of the huge Halloween parties, but hey, it's 2020. Maybe we'll get back there in a year or two.)

  20. 4 out of 5

    Woman In Time

    J.W. Ocker's witty writing kept me chuckling throughout this entire book. He's a self-professed lover of Halloween and the macabre, and his passion for Salem and its uniqueness shines through. He covers the history of the town, its quirkiness, it's cultural impact on the U.S., and the Halloween HQ it has evolved into today. Personally, my favorite sections were those regarding the movie "Hocus Pocus" and the filming locations in Salem. J.W. Ocker's witty writing kept me chuckling throughout this entire book. He's a self-professed lover of Halloween and the macabre, and his passion for Salem and its uniqueness shines through. He covers the history of the town, its quirkiness, it's cultural impact on the U.S., and the Halloween HQ it has evolved into today. Personally, my favorite sections were those regarding the movie "Hocus Pocus" and the filming locations in Salem.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Eryn

    I was excited for this book as I’ve been to Salem many times and have read and watched a lot about the Salem Witch Trials, but this book was even better than I expected! It was funny and thought provoking. JW Ocker turned Salem into its own character and did a wonderful job telling the city’s story.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Amy Sturgis

    This is perfect reading for the Halloween season! J.W. Ocker provides an informed, insightful, and thoroughly entertaining portrait of the town that's known, for good or ill (and this is debated), "Witch City," and he shares what it's like to experience the place in all its glory and contradictions throughout the month of October. This is perfect reading for the Halloween season! J.W. Ocker provides an informed, insightful, and thoroughly entertaining portrait of the town that's known, for good or ill (and this is debated), "Witch City," and he shares what it's like to experience the place in all its glory and contradictions throughout the month of October.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Marilynn Mullen

    This book was really helpful in finding sites associated with the Salem witch trials. I found the stone that marked the house of my 9th great grandmother who was hung as a witch among many other memorials.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Sara

    I like Ocker’s books because they really feel like you are sitting with the people he is interviewing and having that conversation with them. It examines not only the folklore but the meaning and lasting impact of the 1692 Witch trials on Salem and pop culture.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Tami Potter

    Interesting. Would rate the book 3.6 . Lots & lots of interesting information about Salem & historical landmarks & more . Fun fact . They have a Halloween parade October 1st. To kick off the ghoulish month . If your a fan of Halloween you might like this non fiction book.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Melody Warnick

    The cover on this entertaining, excruciatingly detailed sociology of a very Halloween-y place gets five stars—and now I'm dying to visit Salem. The cover on this entertaining, excruciatingly detailed sociology of a very Halloween-y place gets five stars—and now I'm dying to visit Salem.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Mary Bird

    This was a fun book! I’d like to go to Salem whenever we can go outside again, and this gave me an interesting sense of things to see and do.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Corey

    Well now I want to move to Salem.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Elaine

    I came upon this book by accident. I think I was trying to find if any public schools in Salem has a witch mascot (the elementary school!) and a snippet for this in Google Books came up. I read the 3 chapters that were available and was sucked in enough to buy the rest, and I'm glad I did. A lot of information, well-organized, and really gives a sense of place (though maybe that's because I've visited Salem before, albeit with far less depth than Ocker). I also enjoyed the author's tone; his sens I came upon this book by accident. I think I was trying to find if any public schools in Salem has a witch mascot (the elementary school!) and a snippet for this in Google Books came up. I read the 3 chapters that were available and was sucked in enough to buy the rest, and I'm glad I did. A lot of information, well-organized, and really gives a sense of place (though maybe that's because I've visited Salem before, albeit with far less depth than Ocker). I also enjoyed the author's tone; his sense of humor jibes with mine (unlike the last book of this nature that I read, which just got on my nerves and felt unprofessional rather than casual, hmph). I feel like I got a better sense of the place, and everything flowed in a way that felt a journey. The epilogue chapter has a little snapshot of springtime Salem with leprechauns and Easter bunnies replacing all the Halloween decor. If you're looking for spooky reads, this isn't your book: it's a... not like a biography, but maybe a memoir of Salem. Ocker digs into what it means to be Witch City and the tensions in the community of how to balance October with the other 11 months of the year (and with 400 other years of history besides 1692). Yes, this includes interviews with police and the mayor in addition to ~spooky~ people and witches. I wish I'd known a lot of this stuff! Alas, I visited before Ocker even started on this book. Next time, Salem, I'll have a better appreciation of you. (Also, ye gods, good on the author for finagling an entire month living in Salem for this! #LivingtheDream)

  30. 4 out of 5

    Kevin Payne

    Author relates his fascination with the city of Salem and his many visits to the city. He includes many interviews with a wide assortment of people who live there or work there. It becomes obvious that this is the ultimate place to celebrate Halloween. The entire month of October is one long celebration there. One curious aspect of the story was why so many people who identify as modern witches have gathered in the city famous as being the place where people were put to death despite denying tha Author relates his fascination with the city of Salem and his many visits to the city. He includes many interviews with a wide assortment of people who live there or work there. It becomes obvious that this is the ultimate place to celebrate Halloween. The entire month of October is one long celebration there. One curious aspect of the story was why so many people who identify as modern witches have gathered in the city famous as being the place where people were put to death despite denying that there were witches. Never found a really good explanation. Interviewees said thing like "It's the city where people realized it was a mistake to prosecute witches." Still doesn't seem like an adequate explanation for gathering there. I liked sections about the history of the town and the mix of people who are drawn to the city, but there were sections of the book that seemed like they would only appeal to members of Salem's Chamber of Commerce.

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