Saturday, October 26, 2013


We were supposed to go away this weekend.  My birthday fell in the middle of the week this year and we usually go away on a weekend near it.  Last weekend we couldn't go.  So today we set off for Salem where we had a "Groupon" for a sail.

Never got there.  The boat left at 2 or 4.  We chose the 2 and left at 1 giving us plenty of time to make it there.  As we approached the exit for Salem, we saw a traffic jam the likes of which I'd last seen in 1976 when I attempted to drive to Yankee Stadium from Manhattan.  Then, we arrived in the 4th inning.

Today we were moving along on the road that takes a motorist three quarters around the circumference of the city.  To the north of the city, sits Salem and we approached it in plenty of time to make the ride. There we saw that cars were backed up for more than a mile before our exit.  I have a disdain for GPS systems but Donna does not. She plugged in her gizmo and we were told to take another exit.  We travelled to it and there again was a Yankee Stadium like traffic jam.  We decided to drive beyond it and noticed that the road that would take us to the pier was similarly jammed.

Salem is not Yankee Stadium nor Manhattan or Boston or LA. It is a sleepy suburban town.  Why is an army traveling to Salem.

Then it occurred to me.  This Thursday is Halloween. Salem is the city where the witch trials took place.  I looked it up when we got home and those trials took place in the late 1600s.  When I was in junior high school my dad took me to see the play "The Crucible" which was put on by the local amateur theatre group in town.  I didn't quite get it then, but later read the play.  Sometime in the early 80s I had travelled to Salem--in the summer--to visit the site.  Not much traffic then.

The thing that you will remember if you recall the play or studying this in high school is that the witch trials were, as any clear thinking person could predict, a "witch hunt."  There are no witches.  Of course we know people who we think could qualify for that label.  But there are no witches who can cast a spell.

Tell that to the army of drivers who felt that this pre Halloween weekend was time to see the place where witches reside.  Never mind that the museum in Salem--let alone all the history books--show that there was absolutely no legitimacy to the accusations.  You want to believe in witches? You want to believe in your supernatural powers to cast a spell? Well, drive yourself to Salem this weekend and mingle with similar fruitcakes who want to exchange information about potions and/or a hex you can use to slap on your ex boyfriend.

Level headed as I am, I did not suspect that this weekend would be a particularly hectic one for Salem. Can people really believe in witches?  (Certainly I would have liked to jinx the thousand or so cars that stood in the way of our boat trip). Can people really believe they are conjurers?

We drove past the jammed exits and found a park to walk around.  On the way back from the park about an hour later we saw that the traffic to Salem had not abated.  Nobody who left anytime less than two hours before the boat was to sail could have gotten to the pier.

You want to believe in the supernatural to explain phenomena, you apparently have good company.  Me, I will stick with the idea that behavior explains phenomena.

No comments:

Post a Comment