Modern 'Magic Tourism' Is Charming Travelers in Salem, Massachusetts
This charming New England destination might cast a spell on you.
While some people only think of witches as those green-skinned, wart-nosed, and pointy-hatted women you only spot around Halloween, there are plenty more modern-day witches who are casting away the stereotypes in favor of a more hip (and spiritual) persona.
Salem, Massachusetts has always been a tourist destination for travelers interested in all things magical. But a new breed of young, Millennial Salemites who identify as witches are bringing a sort of witchcraft renaissance to the town, and ushering in a new age of “magic tourism.”
Erica Feldmann, a Salem resident and owner of the witchy goods and home store, Hauswitch + Home, told The Independent, “The world needs the witch right now. We need a strong, powerful woman who doesn’t bow to societal norms. There’s been an imbalance of masculine energy for too long.”
Feldmann wrote a college thesis about the witch as a feminist icon, and dispels the myth of witchcraft as being about turning people into frogs. Instead, it’s more about tapping into your “inner power” and “being grounded, centered, setting boundaries and intentions.”
The witchcraft community in Salem has changed a lot in the past few years, from kitschy tourist shops to serious practitioners, especially those under 35, such as Feldmann.
In Salem, tourists can find a variety of witch-themed shops, according to The Independent. “The black-painted 'haunted house' variety that mainly cater to tourists, and those where real witches shop,” the article explained.
Places like Feldmann’s shop, or another herbal shop called Artemisia Botanicals, have become destinations for diehard witches hoping to find some authenticity.
Besides shopping, tourists who are looking for some real magic can also attend classes and rituals at Witches Education League, which teaches the public about what real witches do. If you’re looking for bubbling cauldrons or poisoned apples, you’re going to be disappointed. Instead, you can take part in tarot readings or learn a bit about herbalism.
Real witches also like to point out that the Salem witches were only accused of witchcraft. This is why the local witch community offers a twice daily Witch Walk, so tourists can get their steps in and their dose of magical education.
Of course, if what you're really after is a fright, the historic town hosts tombstone tours and medium-led séances during the month of October.