Among all of the magical décor in the Magical Congress of the USA building featured in Fantastic Beast and Where to Find Them, there is a tribute statue to the Salem Witches. It would be nice if the Witch Trials were a fiction created for the Fantastic Beasts/HP Universe but J.K. Rowling weaved real US History into her fictional world.
Between 1692-1693 in colonial Salem, Massachusetts twenty people were tried and executed for practicing witchcraft, five died in prison; of the twenty executed, fourteen were women. Even the narrow-minded colonists realized that the “trials” were a travesty of justice fairly soon after they happened. Neighbors turning on neighbors over land disputes. If a woman wasn’t conforming to the standards of the day she was accused of being a witch. It would have been nice if these “witches” had some real witchy powers but they remain a cautionary example of how easily mob thinking can affect people.
In the FB/HP Universe a law was passed in 1693 that witch/wizard community called the International Statute of Wizarding Secrecy. Magic was kept a secret from the Muggle world. The plan as of now is to make a total of five Fantastic Beasts films; and I’m going to guess that in future films we’re going to get more storylines about these American witches/wizards. It doesn’t erase the real-life history but it’s nice that the memory of the real life persecuted Salem residents will live on in one of the world’s biggest and beloved franchises.
The great irony is that modern day Salem has become a destination for witches/wiccans. I went to college in Boston and a friend who was also a practicing wiccan told me that she was jumping on a commuter train to Salem. A quick train ride later we were walking cobblestone streets and checking out a multitude of Wiccan owned shops which sell everything from herbs, charms, talismans and a small fairy figurine that I’ve managed to keep intact four home moves later. Modern day wiccans practice an offshoot of Celtic paganism, no devil worship involved, lots of baking though which is a negative for me. I like to eat but cooking and baking is an art I don’t have the patience for.
If you’d like to take a trip to Salem you won’t be disappointed. You feel the history there, there’s even loads of fog that comes in from the nearby harbor to set the mood. You can visit the Salem Witch Museum that tells the tale of the trials. Take a tour of a house known as the Witch House, which was owned by Judge Jonathan Corwin who presided over the trials. Oh the irony that his house is known as a Witch House. Apart from the witch history the house was built between 1620 and 1642, so you’re stepping into one of the oldest buildings in US history. The shopping area known as the Witches Village is also where you’ll find all of fun Wiccan stores. You can even take a Candlelight Walking Tour of Old Salem!
The Real Witches of America await your visit.
Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald is scheduled to premiere on November 16, 2018.
Note to our readers: Johnny Deep has been accused by ex-wife Amber Heard, Depp’s former representatives and a former friend of the couple of verbal and physical abuse against Heard.