This past weekend I had the privilege to interview Laurie Cabot, the Official Witch of Salem, Massachusetts, for an upcoming episode of my New England Legends show on PBS and Amazon Prime. She’s 84 years old now and has incredible perspective on all things strange. She first showed up in Salem in 1969 as a self-described Witch. Salem was the last place she wanted to live, but sometimes larger forces are at work and we can’t always see the end game at the time. Laurie was the first to set up a Witchy shop in Salem, and soon others followed. Today those shops are everywhere, and the face of Salem is forever changed. Everyone knows it’s Witch City today. Laurie played no small part in that.
Laurie and I got to talking about the nature of time. How certain things happen at a certain time, almost as if pre-ordained, how an athlete will show up and be the greatest ever of their sport… until another time when a new name grabs that title. A musician will change the form, an artist, writer, or actor may do the same. A time for every thing and person. When talking about ghosts, we can’t help but include the discussion of time because we have to ask ourselves what an entity from another era is doing in our time? How did they get here and why?
I think about time a lot, not just because I’m self-employed and always trying to maximize my use of precious minutes and seconds, but because I’m a dad and I watch time move too quickly when I look at my daughter growing up. And I watch it creep along when I’m on a boring conference call.
Seconds, minutes, hours, days, weeks, and months. Time marches. Though we all agree it’s not a force in the universe, but an artificial construct, it sure feels real. I also think about time on an annual level because each summer, photographer Frank Grace and I find ourselves working on a new haunted calendar. Have you ever put a calendar together? It makes you feel powerful. Sure, there’s math there. You have to get the dates right, moon phases, and holidays. But beyond that, which days we give more significance to, and which we don’t are up to us. May the 4th is Star Wars Day? You bet! Prefer to commemorate a massacre in Chicago instead of a Hallmark Holiday in mid-February? You can! (And we did.) I see the days and months laid out and can’t help but wonder what each of those days will be like for me. 365 possibilities. 365 sunrises of hope. That’s pretty cool.
If you want to get one of our limited edition 2018 Haunted New England wall calendars (we only print 350, once they’re gone, that’s it) featuring stories and pictures from tons of new locations, you can get them here: https://www.jeffbela...ngland-2018.php
This month I’m also proud to announce: The New England Legends Podcast! Last month I partnered with my friend Ray Auger, a long-time radio host, to produce a weekly podcast that covers one strange but true tale from somewhere in New England. What makes this podcast different is first, it’s short! They average between 5 and 10 minutes in length. We tell each tale in a creative way that delivers the story and explores why we keep it around. We discuss ghosts, monsters, aliens, and nuggets of odd history from around the northeast. Each new episode will be posted on Ghostvillage in our Features section, but you can also subscribe for free on iTunes, GooglePlay, and Stitcher. Every week is a new story. If you enjoy hearing me share these legends at conferences and lectures, then you’ll love this. Also, do us a favor and post a review—it’s the easiest way you can help us spread the word!