Witch: Evolving Perceptions

Photo of Witch Trials Victim Monument in Danvers, MA

Village Witchcraft Victims Memorial. Photo by Laurel Thorndike.

After reading several books on the subject, The Wolves of Andover & The  Heretic’s Daughter by Kathleen Kent,  Deliverance from Evil by Frances Hill ( while fictional, both are drawn from early America’s tragic historical character’s and events of the 1692 Witch Trials) I became intrigued and decided to visit the coastal village of Salem, MA.  The following are some of my findings along the way.

Salem Witch Museum is an interesting look at our perceptions and the evolution of  what the word “Witch” means and how our society has shaped this over time:  Starting with the early Celtic healers and midwives, moving to Hollywood’s stereotypes–think  Wizard of Oz‘s green faced “Wicked Witch”– to a more modern day Wican following.  While promoting tolerance towards others.

A great thought provoking timeline is drawn up along the walls as you make your way around the exhibit, starting with the Spanish Inquisition at it’s fullest intensity in 1492. This conjured up all kinds of questions from the group as we could see the phenomenon of witch hunting as triggered by historical events, religious beliefs, and, most importantly, fear.

I also visited the Salem’s Village Witchcraft Victims Memorial located in Danvers, MA. This memorial is highly symbolic in nature containing all of the  25 victim’s names and dates of the trials and hangings.  Containing some of their last brave words and testimonies as they refused to confess because they wanted to be inscribed in “The Book of Life” which is also represented here. Metal shackles are divided in two by the book which translates to Eternal Life. A reminder to generations that intolerance must be confronted with integrity.

The village of Salem offers dozens of great Museums and Maritime history. The House of the Seven Gables and the Peabody Essex Museum are all within walking distance!

Fun New Age shops, old cemeteries, gift shopping, restaurants, coffee shops and bricked walkways. So put on your walking shoes and spend a day (or few!) exploring this town.






About Laurel

Laurel Thorndike is our "artist in residence" here at We Love Museums. "Lately I have been experimenting with a very illustrative style. Using images & feelings as a writer would use words to bring characters "to life" Suggesting a possible story or building from existing ones." Inspiring artists & art periods include Art Nouveau's Alphonse Mucha and Maxfield Parrish. Pre-Raphaelites such as Waterhouse, Holman Hunt, Leighton. Portrait painter's John Singer Sargent and Julio Romero de Torres. Symbolists such as Jean Delville and Carlos Schwabe. In 2001 she studied photography with nature photographer Patrick Pacheo Zephyr. She immediately fell in love with using the camera to 'paint with light'. Using natural light to create a picture full of emotion from something as ordinary as a reflection in a small pond or a lone tree on a hill. In 2014 she attended the 'Illustrator Master Class' at Amherst College, A one week intensive with the instruction of some of the finest illustrator's in the country! Her works have been shown at the juried Art On The Mountain show 2004 & 2005 Wilmington VT and the Northeastern Fine Arts Juried Exhibition at the Green Trees Gallery Northfield MA 2005. As well as at various galleries and art fairs throughout New England. Her work can be viewed and purchased at: www.LaurelThorndike.com.

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