Virginia Military Institute

Virginia Military Institute
Virginia Military Institute in Lexington Virginia.

Saturday, October 29, 2016

"A Season with the Witch" by JW Ocker

I just finished reading JW Ocker's A Season with the Witch:  The Magic and Mayhem of Halloween in Salem, Massachusetts".

This is one of those books that I was pretty excited to pick up right when it came out.  I know that Ocker is someone who sincerely enjoys weirdness and strange things and places (check out his blog, OTIS for proof).  AND, he is pretty big on the town of Salem Massachusetts..... a town that I am also pretty fond of!

So, last year JW was able to spend the entire month of October in the "Witch City."  In fact, he and his family were able to hang out, and take in all of the Halloween festivities that go down in Salem in October.

I am certain that everyone is familiar with the Salem Witch Trials that happened in 1692.  Well, for better or for worse, the town has always been associated with witches ever since.

That association of/connection to/celebration of witchiness just seems to get stronger here.  Even as perceptions of witches can be diverse..... anything and everything witchy seems to come together in Salem!

Ocker points out that there is something weird about this.  Many other areas took more victims during their moments of witch hysteria.  And, why has Salem become a mecca for modern practitioners of Witchcraft and lovers of Halloween?

The author tries to figure those questions out as he explores this great city.  Along the way he interviews the people you might expect-  local celebrities, authors, politicians, and museum operators.  He also gets some fascinating dialogue going with a Salem cop and the person who provides security at the cemetery.

I don't think that JW Ocker meant to have a villain in his book, but one does accidentally emerge.  Salem's Peabody Essex Museum has some Holy Grail type relics relating to the witch trials of 1692 IN STORAGE!  This sad fact is brought up a couple of times in the book.  In their defense, PEM does try to explain why they do not display these items..... but I think for many of us their excuse is a bit on the weak side.

As someone who has visited Salem a few times, I really enjoyed reading about some of the businesses in town, and whats going on there right now.  The city does change a lot, but it remains the historic, Witch City.

This is a great read for this time of the year!

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