Above is the statue of Elizabeth Montgomery as Samantha the nice suburban housewife witch of the 1960s television show, “Bewitched.” Located in Salem, Massachusetts, it is meant to reflect the tongue-in-cheek bemused attitude of the kitschy aspect of Salem’s present-day witch-inspired commerce.
There was a bit of controversy when the TV Land executives chose Salem, where many felt the idea was tactless. But in a town where the police wear a witch on a broomstick patch on their uniform sleeves, and the emblem is seen from the city hall to the high school, and Halloween-inspired souvenirs can be bought in stores here all year round, it is hard to complain about one statue devoted to a fictional witch.
Fictional being the operative word here, as we know Salem is most noted for the witch trials of 1692, which 19 men and women were hung, another was crushed to death, and others died in prisons. Samantha wasn’t a real person, and none of those murdered people were really witches. And Halloween to the modern American trick-or-treater is nothing like what the Samhein meant to the ancient Celts.
The historical sites and museums dedicated to telling the story of the infamous witch trials will be covered at another time. For now, it is Halloween, and that belongs to the present more than the past. Some of Salem’s history is tragic, some of it is triumphant. Some, like the statue of Samantha, is just silly and a bit cute.
For more on Salem as a tourist destination, visit this official website.
Been there? Done that? Bought the T-shirt? Let us know.