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Witch Trial Memorial statue at the Salem Wax Museum, Salem, Mass.
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BY MARSHALL S. BERDAN
Long before Halloween became a commercial bonanza, sinister local happenings were popularly attributed to resident witches, goblins and devilish creatures.
Over time, these folkloric apparitions were absorbed into the expanding ranks of Halloween ghoulies, and contemporary chill seekers boldly go where their superstitious forebears feared to tread. Halloween is supposed to be scary. Check for minimum ages.
No place is more associated with witches than Salem, and for decades history-seeking tourists have come to take in sites, museums and theatrical productions based upon the infamous witch trials of 1692.
Among the more enlightening are Salem Witch Museum (978/744-1692, salemwitchmuseum.com, $9 adults, $6 ages 6-14); Witch Dungeon Museum (978/741-3570, witch dungeon.com, $8 adults, $6 ages 4-13) with its wax figures; and Witches Cottage (978/825-0222, witchescot
Come October, masses descend upon Witch City to revel in Haunted Happenings (877/725-3662, haunted
The lineup includes parades, costume balls, cabarets, haunted houses, harbor cruises, re-creations, a carnival and a coven of ghost, murder and paranormal tours. While there weren't any witches in Salem in 1692, there are now, and many make their living demonstrating their art and peddling wares. For a basic introduction, follow a Wicca guide through Salem Witch Village (978/740-2929, salemwaxmuseum
SLEEPY HOLLOW, N.Y.
For 17 years , the Historic Hudson Valley organization has been capitalizing on the enduring popularity of Washington Irving's early 19th century masterpiece, "The Legend of Sleepy Hollow"--the story of how Ichabod Crane, a gangly schoolmaster with his eye on Katrina Van Tassel's inheritance, comes to grief at the hands of his rival, Brom Bones, and the all-too-real "ghost of a Hessian trooper, whose head had been carried away by a cannonball, in some nameless battle during the Revolutionary War."
Children are the focus of "Legend Celebration" at Sunnyside, Irving's 1835 home. Daytime event features puppets, magicians, live music and hands-on 18th-century harvest-time activities. Costumes encouraged ($14 adults, $8 ages 3-17).