Salem Witchcraft Trials Tercentenary Memorial

Salem is full of New Age and Wyccan shoppes and it has an overabundance of "museums" that are more wax museum than serious repositories of history—heck, the place even has a statue of Elizabeth Montgomery in her role as Samantha on Bewitched. But it also has the Salem Witchcraft Trials Tercentenary Memorial.

The memorial reminds me of the Vietnam War memorial in DC, since rather than being a heroic bronze casting, it is about negative space. It is surrounded on three sides by a hand-built wall of New England granite. Inscribed into the threshold of the fourth side are the protestations of innocence, uttered by the victims—each is incomplete. There are 20 cantilevered benches extended from the walls, each one inscribed with the name and death date of one of the victims. Within the memorial are planted six locust trees—the last to flower and first to lose their leaves. I found it intensely moving.

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