Salem Witch Museum News
The film screening of the Witch at Cinema Salem last Thursday evening brought together what would seem an eclectic group in any other city than Salem. Salem witch trials historians, the film’s acclaimed director, Robert Eggers, and actor Anya Taylor-Joy, local officials, and practicing witches came together to discuss the film’s terrifying themes.
After a day of media coverage at the Witch House, an elegant cocktail reception was held at the Salem Witch Museum to thank reporters, bloggers and all involved with promoting the Sundance award winning film.
Set in the early 17th century, a family of colonists ousted from their community for reasons unknown forge a new life on the edge of uncharted wilderness, where the devil himself was believed to reign. The film’s cinematography, score, dialog and symbols of witchcraft combine to create an air of tension that has been compared to the Shining.
During the panel discussion post screening there was a lively conversation including practicing witches Tomas O'Brien Vallor and Lori Bruno, author Brunonia Barry, and historians Tad Baker and Richard Trask, just to name a few. Overall it seemed the audience appreciated the attention to details depicting the time period as much as the portrayal of colonial superstitious beliefs in the diabolical witch.
If you are a horror film fan this one is a must-see.
Ever in the interest of preserving history Salem Witch Museum senior staff received board approval to bid on the previously unknown seventh edition Mass Bay Psalm book signed by Elizabeth Corwin, wife of Salem witch trials judge Jonathan Corwin. The estimated auction price was set by Swann Auction House of New York at approximately $30,000 to $40,000, which we bid. However, there was a great deal of interest in the famed 17th century book which ultimately sold for an incredible $ 180,000 today. We are proud to have been part of this exciting opportunity.
The first edition of the Bay Psalm Book was one of the first books ever printed in the colonies and was a starting point in the forming of the Puritan colony. While any edition of the book is rare, the first edition has fetched nearly $14 million at auction.
The seventh edition belonging to the Corwins was purchased from a Boston printer in 1693, the year after the infamous trials. It later passed through several families and in the late 1800’s was acquired by a family in western New York who were descendants of witch trials victim John Proctor.
From a New England barn find, the museum recently purchased a bible stand of the period used by Essex County minister Reverend Moses Parson. It was our goal to display Mrs. Corwin’s Bay Psalm Book in context with the bible stand.