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With the Witches

Last summer I visited Boston for work, and managed to get a weekend to explore. I spent a small amount of time in the city itself, but also decided to take a short train to visit Salem.

(Definitely excited about my Crone phase coming on strong! Bring on the shawls, books and various stews)

Salem, of course, is most famously known for the Salem witch trials in the late 1600s, and it seems like they’re really leaned into this.

I started my explorations in the centre of the town, having a quick look into the central town hall, museum and gift shop, which included taking a squiz at this display on prominent Black women from history….

… and gazing at some trees that are blue because* of climate change.

Apparently the artist, Konstantin Dimopoulos, has put blue trees at about 30 different places around the world, including some in Canada, Singapore, New Zealand, Australia and Germany, to highlight issues of deforestation and changing climate.

So you know, *because of climate, but not quite in a direct causative way.

And then, I began my audio-gps guided walking tour (which involves you roaming around the city following a map to see important sites, with some audio popping up when you geolocate close enough to that thing that you’re supposed to see).

I have to say that the audioguide wasn’t perfect- I feel like it really could have gone a bit more into the history of the trials, particularly the politics of it all. Also, a bit more focus on the tragedy and injustice side- the fact that the main instigator was a 17 year old girl. And that one of the accused witches- a ‘witness’ against her mother who then had to watch her sister be born and die in jail and then had her mother killed as well- was just four years old.

The main site of the tour for me was the Witch Trials Memorial, a small walled area with stones for each of the 20 murdered ‘witches’.

Each memorial contains the name, date of death, and method of murder; 19 were hanged and 1 was ‘pressed to death’.

I didn’t really plan my afternoon particularly well, but instead just wandered around listening to the tour and generally seeing the town.

If I did it again, I would probably try to make sure I got there a bit earlier, so there was time to see some of the museums and sites from the inside too, before they closed.

But still, I got to meet Samantha….

…Saw some beautiful buildings in glowing light:

… and even managed to stop for a spot of clam chowder.

All up, it was not a terrible way to spend an afternoon.

On my last day in Boston, before hitting the airport, I spend a bit of time walking through the northern part of the city, heading down from my airbnb to the Charles River.

I had some more Dunkin’ coffee (because Boston), lost my favourite pashmina, and ultimately ended up…..

.. here:

The location of the Christian Science Hall.

I was there to visit the Mapparium, an interesting (but colonially frozen in time) stained glass globe, which unfortunately I don’t have any photos of because it wasn’t allowed (so go here).

After a quick stop there, I continued some wandering, which included a look at some (very highly priced!!) markets and vintage shops.

And well, that was it for Boston!

Until next conference.

10/11 June, 2023

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