Posted to Religious Diversity News on August 20, 2007
Should you find your way up to Salem, Mass., this Halloween season, your chances of encountering a psychic are up — and the odds that that he or she has a felony record are down. That, for those of you who were too drowned in multimedia Harry Potter to notice, is the news from the real town where some estimate every tenth person is a witch.
In June, the Salem town council eased its rules on fortune tellers — or, to be more specific, those locals who are engaged in “the
telling of fortunes, forecasting of futures, or reading the past, by means of any occult, psychic power, faculty, force, clairvoyance, cartomancy, psychometry, phrenology, spirits, tea leaves, tarot cards, scrying, coins, sticks, dice, coffee grounds, crystal gazing or other such reading, or through mediumship, seership, prophecy, augury, astrology, palmistry, necromancy, mind-reading, telepathy or other craft, art, science, talisman, charm, potion, magnetism, magnetized article or substance, or by any such similar thing or act.”
Salem may have been where witches were once tried and executed by puritans, but — thanks to the magic of branding — it has since become a mecca for witches and others involved in the occult arts, as well as for tourists. Around a hundred thousand tourists descend on the town every Halloween season.