Having taught Arthur Miller's "The Crucible" many times in Literature classes, it seemed a shame I'd never visited Salem, Massachusetts, which is just down the road from southern Maine. So, yesterday I finally set out. I got there in time for the height of Halloween festivities. It's surreal that an early American Puritan town where in 1692, 19 innocent townspeople were hung as "witches" based on what was called "spectral evidence," which means a person sending out a ghostly version of themselves to torment another, is today the home of friendly witch communities and a Satanic society, which I'm told is also friendly. Hence the bedlam on Halloween. In 1692, a few bored (and ignored) teenage girls concocted the story of witches and possessions by the devil, accusing an Indian slave in their household as being the source. She promptly named nine more alleged witches. The stories were obviously false, but greedy adults were eager to transform the stories into trials because that allowed them to steal their neighbor's land when their neighbor was accused of being a witch, jailed, and then hung. Hum, stealing your neighbor's land? That makes me think of Russia's invasion of Ukraine and the war of genocide Russia is waging against the Ukrainian people (see Timothy Snyder's talk on how what is happening in Ukraine is by law a genocide). I joined a historical tour led by a local history teacher and among some very interesting facts about the history of Salem, I also learned why Russia has declared that Ukrainians are "Satanists," which is by far the most creative of the uncreative lies Russia has spread about Ukraine. And, you may have guessed already, that the statement leads us back to Salem, the source of falsehoods and warped imaginations leading to murder. So, when Russia attacked Ukraine on February 24th, the friendly Society of Salem Satanists, like most of the residents of Salem, in support of Ukraine hung an enormous Ukrainian flag on the front of their headquarters. Well, some Russians living in Salem (and let's face it, Russians live in every affluent city in America but remain loyal to Mother Russia) saw the flag, contacted Russian State Television, who came over and filmed the Ukrainian flag beside the Satanist Society logo and declared all Ukrainians Satanists. This sounds a lot like the Salem witch trials, which like Russia's war against Ukraine, were based on lies and evil. Oh, this city of beautiful architecture, once one of the major trading ports in America, at one time the sixth most populace and wealthy city, has many secrets and stories to share.
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