Tuesday, October 14, 2008

"It seems to me a strange thing, mystifying ..."

Salem Signs No, I'm not going to break out into song from the musical Jesus Christ, Superstar - and you should thank your lucky stars on that one, my friends, as I sing horribly! - but those words keep going through my head in regards to a couple of pictures I took while visiting Salem, Massachusetts last week with Amanda, Darci, and my friend Amy. Actually, a lot of the pictures I took have me scratching my head in wonderment but you're probably going to have to wait another day or two to see those as I took way too many pictures to write just one post about our trip. Figures, eh?!?

I thought what I would try to do is break our day down into more easily digestible parts not just for you, my readers, but also for myself as wading through 360+ pictures takes a lot of time that I would rather be spending with my nose in the book I'm currently reading! However, Eclipse has been put aside until I can at least make sense of the pictures I have and get a few of them posted before the weekend rolls around and I forget what we did in Salem - short-term memory loss and all that good stuff, don'tchaknow?!

Anyone who has ever heard of Salem, Massachusetts probably immediately thinks of one word - witches. That's not surprising considering Salem's infamous past and the witch hysteria that gripped it in the 1690's. People flock to Salem in droves to visit the witch museums and the cemeteries and hear the horrifying tales of how 20 innocent people were put to death during a time when people were about as superstitious as they come and all it took was for someone to look at you funny before you found yourself moldering in a cell awaiting your fate at the gallows. It was a dark time in our Nation's history but people find it fascinating - myself included.
Salem, though, is more than just witches - it's also a coastal town with a very rich maritime history and a waterfront still lined with houses from its heyday as a major port. If you don't go to Salem for the witches, go to see the old homes of ship's captains and merchants as they are almost as fascinating as the stories of the witch trials.

Signage Another major attraction of Salem is the setting for Nathaniel Hawthorne's classic New England tale - The House of the Seven Gables. The house itself, also known as the Turner-Ingersoll Mansion, was built in 1668 and is the oldest surviving 17th century wooden mansion in New England. It was at this house that Hawthorne decided to set his tale of a house cursed through the centuries by a man hung for witchcraft by the owner of the house. The story explores the guilt, retribution and atonement of the Pyncheon family throughout the ages. Nathaniel Hawthorne felt cursed by the sins of his own ancestors when he wrote this book in 1851 based on his grandfather, John Hathrone, who was a judge during the witch trials.

Way back when I was a junior in high school, one of our required reading assignments was The House of the Seven Gables and as part of that, we took a field trip to see the house itself. I was fascinated then and I am fascinated today even though I would really want to reread the story before revisiting the house. Still, when we were in Salem last week I did want to at least take a walk by the place and after leaving Amy, Amanda, and Darci at the Salem Witch Museum, that's exactly what I did - with a few stops along the way. Pictures of 'along the way' will be posted tomorrow along with more pictures of the house.

One of the pictures that I took while walking around the outside of the grounds has definitely given me pause, though, as I can't for the life of me figure out why/how rainbows appeared in it but there they are - one red, yellow, and blue while the other is basically green. The sun was not in any position to be causing rainbows, they appear in the shadow of the back of the house, and I am positive that they weren't there when I snapped the picture. I'm sure I would have remembered their brilliant colors.

Rainbows or not

I'm sure there's a very logical explanation for why those rainbows are there and they may not be anything more than the sun reflecting off of something (perhaps the bald head of a visiting tourist?) but then again - maybe they're more than that; maybe they are the spirits of some long-dead New Englanders who still like to walk the beautiful gardens of their former home. Or maybe I'm just daft! That's always a very good possibility.

While we're at it, I thought I would also post a picture of the lobby of The Hawthorne Hotel where I caught an interesting orb up hear the ceiling in the middle of the day. Again, it might just be a trick of the light but then again - I took the picture in Salem without using a flash and, as the guide for our Haunted Footsteps tour later that night told us, "ghosts don't obey the rules in Salem". What do you think?

Ghost in the lobby

Hopefully tomorrow I can get the post done with the pictures of my stroll along the waterfront and other parts of Salem that I took before the sun went down! I hope you'll be back for that!


  1. Anonymous6:42 AM EDT

    Great post, Linda! We really enjoyed it and the photos and look forward to tomorrow's post.

  2. Anonymous7:10 AM EDT

    One of my favorite musicals!

    Thanks for taking us on a photo tour of Salem!

  3. Now that is a cool post...Thanks for sharing. I am looking forward to the next post on this story.. I love this kind of stuff!!!

  4. i think you might have yourself a few ghosts honey... just sayin'.

    smiles, bee

  5. Loved the pictures and tour of Salem. Now, as to the "ghosts" -I'm a bit iffy here in that I don't quite believe in them but, at the same time, I can't honestly say I don't sometimes think they do exist so I'll give you lots of leeway about the rainbow and the orb and just say, "It could happen!"

  6. Okay, that last picture kind of scared me a bit. I think you did find a ghost that day. That's my story and I'm sticking to it. Have a great day honey. Big hug. :)

  7. Linda,

    Loved reading your post about Salem. It just so happens that "Mrs. Bulldog" & I went there for the day in the summer, and got well-aquainted w/the seafaring side of the "Witch City". Also found a new Harley Davidson shop in town, too! ;-) We plan on going back up again on Halloween in costume, like we do every year.

  8. It's a ghost for sure. That's what I think :o) Love the little rainbow (must be from the bold head's reflection - lol :o)

  9. Interesting post and photos Linda. I'm looking forward to the next lot. :)

  10. I know I'd enjoy Salem a lot better with you as a guide, Linda. You know where everything is!

  11. Hi Linda:-)

    Thank you so much for the birthday wishes and so glad you were able to attend my party! hehe I had so much fun putting it together and then reading the comments in reaction to it! lol

    I've so enjoyed this post...of course I've heard of Salem but I've never been there. Sounds like a very interesting place, even apart from the witches! lol Interesting rainbow and orb...truly does make you wonder if ghosts are around!! I'm going on a couple of ghost tours next weekend in Niagara Falls and I'm so looking forward to it:-) xox

  12. Bessie and Monica went to a cemetery last night, and in several of Bessie's pictures there were orbs.

    I have a "mystery rainbow" picture from Egypt.
    I have heard both "a light refraction in the lens" theory and a "benevolent spirit" theory.
    Guess which one I believe?

  13. My friends and I did SALEM in the spring and it was wonderful. That house of the Seven Gables was very interesting and rich in its day.

  14. Now I'm going to have to re-read "House of Seven Gables." I was too young when I read it in school to remember much about it...
    It seems like a very interesting place to visit - with all the wonderful (and not so wonderful) history. The hotel is very elegant.

  15. Anonymous5:30 PM EDT

    OMG, you totally reminded me...I have some pictures I took of Brien and Shelby when they were working on her box car. There are some strange things in them. That crazy thing that was over her head in one picture I took at 4th of July was now near Brien!!! There was also some sort of strange ora around Shelby. I have been meaning to e-mail them to you so you could tell me what you think.

  16. you and those orbs again!! try a different camera. ;-)

  17. Wow. I didn't know much of that history. Just the witch trials.

    Thanks for shedding a bit more light. Can't wait to see more pictures!

  18. Um, you are scaring me just a tad, Linda.
    I think the orb in the hotel is definitely a ghost of a guest who just didn't want to leave.

    Those rainbows? Of course they are spirits of long-ago New Englanders taking a stroll, or whatever spirits do when they ambulate.

    Very cool post, Linda. I'll have to get to Salem someday. It looks enchanting.


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