If you’re ever lucky enough to visit Salem, Massachusetts, I highly recommend the trip. Not only does this quaint seaside New England town boast hundreds of years of fascinating colonial and maritime history, but they’ve also leaned way in to their reputation as the infamous home of the Salem Witch Trials.
In 1993, Disney took advantage of the town’s witchy reputation when they made Salem the setting for their classic Halloween movie, Hocus Pocus. In the film, Salem really did host a trio of evil witches who wished to prey upon the souls of children. Because the film was shot largely on location, visitors can actually see the spooky setting where the Sanderson sisters worked their wicked spells, like this woman, who compares the film's versions with the places she visited in the real town.
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Salem Commons, the settler cottages where Thackery Binx and his family dwelled, Max’s house (a private residence), the high school and town hall, and even Allison’s mansion (really The Ropes Mansion, which is open for tours), are all places that a true Hocus Pocus fan should put on their list.
Though the Sanderson Sisters and their punishment are fictional, the actual Salem Witch Trials, which rocked the colonial community of Salem in 1692 and 1693 are today widely viewed as a combination of mass hallucination, paranoia, and Puritan scaremongering run amok. By the end of this reign of terror, over two hundred people in the tiny town had been accused of witchcraft, and twenty had been executed.
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Today, the town is home to several museums and festivals commemorating the town’s gory history, as well as a haven for witchy and spiritual folks of all types who are drawn to the town’s reputation as the crowds of tourists who flock to learn more about the witches who supposedly once roamed free.