Salem, Massachusetts October 2016

It is important to remember everything, especially as a writer. This blog will serve as a personal recollection of my journey to Salem Massachusetts in the Fall of 2016. Though I experienced a great many things on my way up, and had a wonderful time in Plainville and Boston – those memories belong to me.

These however, can and should be made public.

Salem is a town rich in its own culture, and saturated in its history. Growing up, Salem had always been a dream of mine, especially during the 8 years where I was a practicing Wiccan. I knew that most, if not all, of the accused and condemned were innocent of crimes. But it would not negate that the city was meant to be a hub of mysticism and magick for centuries to come. I researched the trials for over a decade, and the Craft for far longer than that. This trip, was therefore a realization of a dream. It has been a big year for those. So, I hope you will find something of value from my tales, and if you have questions, I will do the very best I can to give a correct, fact based response.

A Very Brief Overview of the Salem Witch Trials

Witch Trials did not originate in Salem, they’d been happening in New England for some time. However, 1692 was the culmination of the events.  A Puritan Minister, Samuel Parish, had a slave woman named Tituba. He also had a daughter who was watched after by Tituba. Tituba wove stories in front of 6 girls in Salem centering around her brand of magic. She would tell stories, and I would presume the girls were infatuated with what they heard.

During the 1600’s everyone was deathly afraid of witches, because witchcraft was the work of the devil, and everyone was in constant questioning on if they were behaving well enough to be admitted into heaven. Every second any choice they made could damn them, that was the Puritan belief.

So, fear was on the rise, and eventually the girls began acting strange. Doctors would be called in, and if they could ever not determine the cause of a malady, they attributed it to witch craft. Such was the case here, and everyone needed to know who was afflicting the girls with these maladies. Thus began accusations.

During the trials, the girls (6 of them) were on the benches to testify against the accused. They would react violently, and unexplainably when certain accused took the stands. They would throw fits as if being attacked, they would scream. If the accused tilted their heads a certain way, all 6 girls tilted their heads the same way at the same time. The girls would claim they saw the accused appear to them late at night. They would say they saw the accused discussing things secretly with a stranger dressed all in black – believed to be the devil.

The trials continued, and the girls were recognized far and wide. In a world where women didn’t speak unless spoken to, this was unprecedented. The girls soaked up the attention, until eventually they accused the wrong person – I believe it was Governor Phip’s wife. The idea that innocents had been slain under the pretense of witchcraft spread, until eventually it was said that “It were better than ten suspected witches should escape than one innocent person should be condemned.” The trials ceased, and the six girls faded out of the spotlight. Out of all of them, only one apologized later for all the harm they had caused – Ann Putnam.

The girls could have honestly been possessed, they could have been enamored by the stories of Tituba, or simply drunk off of the attention.

Salem Witch Dungeon 16 Lynde St, Salem, MA 01970

The very first place we visited was a reputable museum called “Salem Witch Dungeon”, which has a website located at This Link as well as a Facebook Page. They are worthy of every 5 star review they receive.  Admission is reasonable, I think Briana & I both paid a total of $18 to get in.

You are shown a reenactment of a trial on stage, and it contains reconstructed dialogue pulled from Court Transcripts. The acting is alright, but one doesn’t go there for the acting. I went for the history and the verbiage used in the trials, and was not disappointed.

After around 20 minutes, the reenactment will end, and you are encouraged to go downstairs to take pictures and learn more about the actual dungeons used in Salem.

Above is an assortment of the mounted pictures on the wall on the upstairs of the museum. Somehow, I seem to have missed #16, forgive me.  Now, on to the actual dungeon. When a witch was accused, they were sent to the dungeon. An interesting fact about all of this is that they had different sized cells in which witches were held. One room was called a Coffin Cell, because it was large enough for one person to be in standing up. These were reserved for the poorest of Salem’s citizens, because if you were imprisoned, you were expected to pay for your detainment.

If you wanted new bedding, food, visitors — you could have them, but a price must be paid. And if you were hung, you too were expected to pay the Hangman’s fee. The larger cells could hold up to 110 people, though they were not designed to do so. People were packed in quite close, and there was the continual worry of scurvy, passing of bodily fluid, and exposure.  Below, is such a shot that bears the actual dimensions of one of the ‘larger’ cells:

There were no lights in the cells, unless a jailer was coming down. Perpetual darkness was the accused reality. One girl plead guilty of witchcraft just so that she could be reunited with her mother, the girl was 4. Can you imagine?

Another poignant memory I retain, is that a woman was placed in Stocks – attached below is such an image of the device. She asked if she could please sit down. The person in authority, I believe it MAY have been Jonathan Corwin (will look up the info in my notes) said something along the lines of “You had strength enough to kill a man, you have strength enough to stand.” 

 

stx

The Salem Witch Trials Memorial – Liberty St, Salem, MA 01970

In 1992  –  300 years after the hangings –  a memorial was built in Salem for the witches who were condemned.

The Memorial contains the names of the condemned, and there are all manner of tokens on the ‘benches’. There are pennies, coins, flowers, cards, momentos. There are letters written by hand, mainly I saw them on Rebecca Nurses memorial.  Now, Rebecca Nurse is one of my personal favorites, as she was accused of witchcraft at 71.  Some of her final words on the subject of her being accused :
“I can say before my Eternal father I am innocent, & God will clear my innocency.” Rebecca Nurse

Rebecca Nurse had oodles of children, and her son Benjamin was quite the honorable son. After his mother was hanged, he went out in secret to rescue her body for a proper burial. He rowed six miles in a boat to fetch it under cover of nightfall. His mother deserved dignity, and thank goodness for her son to have done this, lest she end up lying in a ditch as was wished by the courts.

Below are several shots from the memorial:

The most significant thing I’ll take away from these are the notes from their families. These were real people who suffered real injustice. Nearly 325 years later, we are still witch hunting anyone from the middle east. We need to remember that human life is sacred, no matter what fears we harbor. The entrance to the Memorial displays inscriptions from the condemned. They are as follows:

“For my life now lies in your hands”

“On my dying day, I am no witch”

“God knows I am innocent”

“Oh Lord help me”

“I am wholly innocent of such wickedness”

“If I would confess i should save my life”

“I do plead not guilty”

 

Gallows Hill – AKA: Proctor’s Ledge

wal2

There was a great lack of historians in 1690’s Salem, as such, the actual location of where the hangings took place was a point of much argument until the work of Sidney Perley made breakthroughs. I am not here to give information on that explicitly in this blog; if you want full details see This Link or watch This Video.

The short story is the location of the real hangings was determined by the work of Sidney Perley. The location was confirmed in 2012 by the Gallows Hill Project. It is behind a Walgreens, upon which was once the Bickford Pond. I will include several pictures of my trip to Gallows Hill.  Enjoy them below, but keep in mind, these were taken at twilight, so quality is not optimal.

I pulled into the walgreens, and parked. Briana didn’t come with me right away. I approached the hill, and saw a bramble of trees, thick with foliage. After a moment, I discovered a well used trail leading up the hill. It was muddy but had been raining for several days. I made my way up the hill, and at its apex, was in the forested area where I firmly believe the hangings occurred. It was twilight by the time I arrived, and there were all manner of trees in the forest. Some were young, I have a belief that the older trees were cut down to make way for the row of houses that sat higher up the hill. However, I did feel a great heaviness on me. I did not feel threatened, but I did feel as though I were being watched. There were branches all over the place, logs, and fallen trees. There was a strange little cairn almost in the center of the woods. The air was cool, and I could taste the woods. It was sensational. I brought back a twig from one of the trees. Upon closer inspection, I found up the hill more part of what was once a wall. There was just a very clear, though nearly destroyed, stone wall. It was crumbling, yet it was still quite clear to see what it had been. My initial and conclusive thought was that past that wall is where things happened, and it was very easy to imagine the bodies being thrown down the side of the hill, where they would land in a crevasse at the bottom, alongside the pond where Walgreens now stands.

I took Briana up with me the second time, and she too shared that she felt a sense of overwhelmingness. She said she felt malevolence, not that spirits there were seeking vengeance on us, but that they were angry, but with complete right to be.

I ended up bringing a stone from the wall back with me, along with the twig/branch thingy. I don’t want to forget the feelings I had there. I stood on ground where 300 years prior, the hangings occurred. The history bled through the twisted roots, and saturated the soil with its yearnings to be heard. I will remember, because this was important. This was a lifetime of waiting. Salem.

I will never forget.

 

I hope that this entry has  been informative, and entertaining for anyone who has read this. I appreciate comments, questions, and general discussion. I loved this trip. I love this history.

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Quick Notes

This is a recap of the feelings I experienced as I walked through Gallows Hill, 10/22/2016 at 6:30 PM.

59 Boston Street, Salem MA,

I pulled into the walgreens, and parked. Briana didn’t come with me right away. I approached the hill, and saw a bramble of trees, thick with foliage. Aftre a moment, I discovered a well used trail leading up the hill. It was muddy but had been raining for several days. I made my way up the hill, and at its apex, was in the forested area where I firmly believe the hangings occurred. It was twilight by the time I arrived, and there were all manner of trees in the forest. Some were young, I have a belief that the older trees were cut down to make way for the row of houses that sat higher up the hill. However, I did feel a great heaviness on me. I did not feel threatened, but I did feel as though I were being watched. There were branches all over the place, logs, and fallen trees. There was a strange little cairn almost in the center of the woods. The air was cool, and I could taste the woods. It was sensational. I brought back a twig from one of the trees. Upon closer inspection, I found up the hill more part of what was once a wall. There was just a very clear, though nearly destroyed, stone wall. It was crumbling, yet it was still quite clear to see what it had been. My initial and conclusive thought was that past that wall is where things happened, and it was very easy to imagine the bodies being thrown down the side of the hill, where they would land in a crevasse at the bottom, alongside the pond where Walgreens now stands.

I took Briana up with me the second time, and she too shared that she felt a sense of overwhelmingness. She said she felt malevolence, not that spirits there were seeking vengeance on us, but that they were angry, but with complete right to be.

I ended up bringing a stone from the wall back with me, along with the twig/branch thingy. I don’t want to forget the feelings I had there. I stood on ground where 300 years prior, the hangings occurred. The history bled through the twisted roots, and saturated the soil with its yearnings to be heard. I will remember, because this was important. This was a lifetime of yearning realized. Salem.

I will never forget.

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October 4th / October 5th

I get to double up on posts today, because I was too sick yesterday.

Image result for sick meme

So today I’m combining thoughts on the writing process that I’ll be going through for NaNo. Given that I’m actually going to be writing a trilogy, a sacred trilogy, I’m going to be using a big ole excel sheet I told y’all about earlier this year.

I’m also going to see if my significant other is going to be down for a game today.

My assignment : Sparky the Dragon was chosen for me by Briana. I will accompany Sparky with a character of my choosing, and I choose William Denslie.

My assignment for Briana: I gave her Torga, from Natalsa.  She chooses Torga & Pimm.

 

You know what that means!!! SURPRISE GUEST BLOGGIN!

 

William Denslie was unaware of how he came to be in a flowery meadow, but given his upbringing, he somehow thought that this must be the afterlife & he had made the cut. He sat up and rubbed his head, his stringy hair matted to his forehead from perspiration. He shielded his eyes from the sunlight, and searched his surroundings. He smelled honeysuckle and lavender, and also heard a laughing stream nearby trickling incessantly. Bursts of blue horizon burst through the distance between trees, and a distinctive birdsong sounded at odd intervals.

“Hello!” He shouted, standing up and dusting off his dark blue jeans. The bells tied to his shoes jingled softly. The young boy began to walk around, uncertain if he was quite alone. “Olly olly oxen free!” He paused, listening for any response.

He grunted. “I guess it’s just me. Wonder if there are any berries around, I’m kinda hurtin’ with a hankerin’.” On he walked, confidently into the forest, knowing that he would find something good to munch on, even if it was just berries. He felt small insects buzzing across his face, and could have sworn he heard whispering in his ear, but he turned quickly and saw nothing.

“Weird. Very weird.” He scratched his chin, and felt stubble. He liked the sensation.  Determinedly, and without fear of discovery, he marched on. His back began to hurt mildly from ducking under low hanging tree branches, and from weaving through thickets. Finally, he caught up with the source of the trickling and discovered a stream. It was lovely, and very bright.

He knelt down and cupped his hands into the water. He poured some over his head, and cooled his sweaty face.

Fwap, fwap, fwap.

He heard a strange sound, and turned his attention towards it. He could discover nothing out of the ordinary, but then again he heard the sound on the other side of him.

Fwap, fwap, fwap.

He turned even more quickly, and caught a hint of red whir past him. He thought it was an unusually large bird at first, and then he felt a tinge of heat burn his shoulder.

“Owhey!” He jumped up, and swatted madly. “Ow, ow, ow!” William rolled, certain that he was catching fire. He rolled into the stream unintentionally, and his clothes became saturated, and therefore quite unlikely to catch fire.

He composed himself, and looked around for the source of the heat. He saw what he had originally mistaken for a bird buzzing around him, well, rather flapping around him. It had a long, alligator like snout, and tiny curving horns on its head, like twin dollops of chocolate. It shimmered as if it had scales like a snake, and William was astounded to realize that he was staring at a small, though quite real, dragon.

He waved his hand, uncertainly. “Hello, um, did you mean to burn my shoulder?”

The dragon did a loop-de-loop and landed gracefully on William’s knee. It’s golden eyes stared up into his chestnut brown, and the two regarded each other carefully. “I’ve never met a dragon before.” William said, holding out a finger to stroke the small thing.

The dragon titled his head uncertainly at first, but then allowed William to pet it.

“There we go, how cool. I’m William, what’s your name?” He asked.

The Dragon considered him, and after a moment, turned its head and blew fire onto some dead grass. It singed the brown, nearly transparent grass and it began to smoke.

“Firegrass?” William suggested. “Is that your name? It’s pretty cool.”

The Dragon heaved a small sigh, and bit William’s knee lightly.

William jumped. “Ouch! Okay, maybe I was wrong. What is your name then?”

The Dragon bared its teeth and blew fire slightly, which caused only the tiniest of sparks to emerge.

“Sparks? Sparkler? Sparky?”

The Dragon jumped up excitedly on the third guess.

“Well, that’s what I’ll call you then, Sparky the Dragon!”

The Dragon nodded happily.

“Sparky, do you have any idea where I am?” William didn’t expect an answer, and didn’t get one. After all, he supposed there were only so many things a dragon could answer with its inherent abilities.

William spent the night under the stars with his new friend, tossing twigs that were soon caught by the dragon & returned to him. “You’re a cool little guy, Sparky. Do you have a home?” William yawned, curling up under a tree as the little dragon did the same.

“Maybe you can come home with me, as soon as I figure out how to get home.” He said, and fell asleep within moments.

As he slept, Sparky snuck off, and came back with two small glowing fairies. The Dragon put his head on William’s cheek, and gave him a dragon kiss goodbye. The two fairies spoke some small, yet powerful, words of magic, and the young boy was returned home, safe and sound to his bed. Though, how he managed to get to the Fairie Forests of Titania in the first place were quite a topic of discussion for weeks to come.


Briana’s will be posted (maybe) in a later blog post tonight if she lets me 😀

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October #3

 

Day #3’s Writing Prompt was kinda lame. So I’m breaking the rules. For example, it’s 10:25 PM and I’m drinking regular coffee with heavy creamer. I’m also listening to Lindsey Sterling. Don’t judge me, you don’t know what I’ve been through today. I once again failed at keeping Monday at bay. Below is a story that took me over ten minutes to write. I kinda like it.

[Story Excerpt Removed – Pending Publication]

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October #2

Image result for ninja writers

So today’s challenge on top of writing for 10 minutes was to read something, and write down what about it struck me, or poignant scenes, things with tenses. It was good stuff, I just suck at paraphrasing tonight.

So I am beta reading this gripping novel that is notorious for what I call “line drops.” Basically, its a cliffhanger, but it’s masterfully done at the end of nearly every dog gone chapter. R L  Stine managed to do this, I remember that from growing up.

So it was those on which I chose to focus today. I’m getting better at them, but I’m still not up to where I should be. But practice is crucial. So  I want to include a good portion of line drops into Sisterhood of Terima because they personally propel me into the next chapter whether I want to go there or not.

 

Oh you have to be up in 8 hours?

I need to have that sort of effect on my readers, otherwise I’m never going to be on the NY Times best seller list – which is on my list of “goals.” The current goal, become a best-seller on Amazon – that is to say in the top 100 of a category.  But how I’m going to get there…

 

Image result for young adult meme

Another thing I observed in the story I’m reading is that I care when the characters are hurt. This happens from them sharing their experiences, opening up and not just being these static nincompoops. I must be better at making sure that there are no nincompoops in my stories.

 

Image result for i has the dumb meme

So that’s been the things on my mind today. I know I need more, but things. I want to get down to what I consider a real writing experience, so I’m hoping on Day 3 it’ll be something challenging. But then I think to myself, isn’t this challenging to someone? Surely it is.

Maybe I’m just at the comfortable coasting level of writing, where  I can write and not give much thought to what I’m going to say.

Image result for confused me with someone who builds a dam

#Nano needs to get here.

 

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October Entry #1

October 1st – Officially 31 days until NaNoWriMo. I signed up to do NinjaWriters  October Challenge, basically exercises to write daily to help build your muscles up to Nano.

So the goal is to write for 10 minutes today. Given that i have no content on which to elaborate to start, I’m going to write for a solid ten minutes without ceasing.

It is now 12:03 AM, suddenly it’s October 2nd. We just came that much closer to Nano. JOY! I really am quite excited, though I will admit it’s hard to not stop while typing to consider if i just spelled a word correctly, or if i missed a typo.
So as far as creativity goes the new nano story is going to be the second Terima anthology, starring Ganston, Celestia, Adia, Lavinia, Lord Marcam, and a host of others who are in the story.
Natalsa built the foundations for this world, and that was the purpose of Natalsa. Becasue actually Ganston’s story was written FIRST around 2009 or so, and it was such a HUGE project that I had no idea how to handle an idea so massive.

Its’ been two minutes btw.

So Desinder’s play a much larger role in this story, that is to say; hybrids born of both magics. The idea of desinders was also huge, and scared me in the early 2000’s, but having written natalsa I now think that I am empowered enough to write it.
Anyway, to go on, it’s a couple hundred years since the close of natalsas story. Natalsa’s son [ also , spoilers as fuck here, if you ain’t read natalsa and care about spoilers, gtfo] and Estil’s son ends up founding an order of the new witches and ushers them back into an age of glory.

Ganston is Natalsa’s descendant, and his daugther Adia, is  one of the new witches that is being trained. Lavinia is also of this order, but it’s a bit complex where she’s involved.

So desinder’s are supposed to remain in their realm unless summoned to the realm of mortals. Unfortuantely, security is a bit lax since the last demon lord, Raytheon, fell to a sinister force. The peace that he had maintained since centuries ago has broken and his death is not known by the humans.

So desinders filter to the rest of the human world, undetectable, except by those of the highest teaching, and they start eliminating the order of Terima. War ensues, and in the first of the Actual Trilogy, we are shown the foreshadowing of the war that is about to break out.

I’m thinking the first one will be Daughter of Terima, its mini story having been called Sisterhood of Terima. So book one is DoT, second one is the Battle for Terima, and the last one will be entitled Terima’s Legacy. It’ll be fun. But it’s gonna be huge.

I’m going to need a buttload of characters, so for lack of better content, and boy my wrists are starting to hurt ; anyway back to characters, I will ensure that no matter what I include a character by the name of Pannia, which is i guess a throwback to Lil’ Panini, a parody story I had composed late one night when i was quite cross with a certain attractive woman. He had a goofy sort of personality, and was a sailor of sorts, so i imagine he and ganston *the recovering fisherman* will get along quite well.

Adia, her dude interest is a scuzzo, which is kind of the foil of Emmaline/Anthony. Because I feel that there should be that duality involved in the dynamic nature of the character.

Celestia, shes going to  be a problem. Not only is she Adia’s step mom, but there’s also an evil element to her i haven’t quite tapped into yet.

Lavinia is meant to be Ganston’s love interest, and again, if youre reading this i apologize for spoilers, but you gotta understand what I’m trying to do here. And that is to set in stone what my NaNoWriMo novel will be this year.

Lord Marcam, that devious scoundrel, I remember him having an entry somewhere in this log…ill need to find it.

12:13

 

Edit:

Book 1 : Sisterhood of Terima

Book 2 : The War of Terima

Book 3: The Legacy of Terima

 

maybe

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