Unboxing A Salem Souvenir Box
· 11 min. read
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Salem, Massachusetts is one of the few places that need no introduction. It is world-famous for the iconic 1692-1693 witch trials and the nineteen executions.
In a perfect world, I would love to go to Salem in October, but so does everybody else. Salem is overflowing with tourists during the month of October, peaking on Halloween. The hotels, restaurants, shops, streets, and parks are overflowing with witches, warlocks, ghouls, and ghosts.
That is, except for this year.
This year Salem, much like the rest of the world, is quiet ? at least, quieter.
Salem relies on witchy tourism, and Happy Hauntings Magazine decided that if people can't to visit Salem, Salem can come visit them instead. This was their idea behind their $25 USD Salem Souvenir Boxes.
Much like my earlier unboxing article, I will break down each item we got in the box. Although this box was much smaller than the boxes, we got earlier this year, it was still incredibly unique and only available for a limited time.
1. A Notable Notelet
The final item we took out of the box was perhaps intended to be the first one. It's an orange, embossed piece of paper with the words "Thank you" stamped on it, coloured by an orange-to-green gradient. It isn't spooky or sinister in any way, but it's a "Thank you" message from Salem ? something I know I wouldn't have otherwise.
2. A Spattering of Spooky Stickers
The first item out of the box were four spooky stickers. They were generic Halloween stickers and not really related to Salem in any way (other than maybe coming from a store there). The stickers were of a white ghost with a candle, a sinister black ghost in a cemetery, a zombie hand coming out of a grave and a haunted house.
3. Two Temporary Tattoos
One day I will probably get a tattoo, but until then I will sport temporary tattoos. One of the tattoos we got from Salem Souvenir Box said "Love" but had the "o" shaped like a witch's hat. The other tattoo was the same witches' hat, but reverse. Both were cool, although I'm not sure I'll be using either of them.
4. A Morbid Mask
Of everything in the Salem Souvenir Box, the skull-and-crossbones mask is by far my favourite. I already had a mask that had a skull-and-crossbones on them, but it was not as spooky as I wanted. This one was perfect. Although this mask doesn't have a wire to bend around your nose like a lot my handmade masks do, it feels tighter and comfier than the other ones. Additionally, it does not get mangled in the washing machine like my others. Of all the masks I have, this morbid mask is my favourite.
5. A Peculiar Postcard
This one has a bit of modern Salem lore attached to it, so for the average person might not really understand it. The postcard is red, with a creepy witch in the middle of it. The witch has green skin, fingerless gloves, ragged red hair and a comically towering pointed hat with a crow sitting on top. Around the witch are the words "Borah!" and "Hop on! Let's See where the broom takes us" in yellow.
The witch's name is Borah Brewington Snaggletooth XIII and is played by the street performer Brian of the Salem's Black Hat Society. He has been performing as Borah since 2016 and donates money from the performances to local charities. Brian ? or BORAH as his witch alias ? says their only goal is to spread "perpetual happiness" and to make people smile.
The postcard was designed by Ty Hapworth at @hellosalem and Nathan Zwiefel at @lunamoongothic.
6. Several Spooky Styluses
These styluses ? a pen and a pencil ? are the perfect way to hold Halloween in the palm of your hand. The pencil is covered in a mosaic of pumpkins, ghosts, black cats, bats, witch hats and the dreaded candy-corn. Naturally, it is also dotted with a black eraser.
The pen is simpler, but has a scene of the silhouetted haunted house, a rickety fence, creepy woods, and a witch flying away in the sky. The pen is also adorned with the text "I Survived Haunted Happenings Salem, MA".
7. Some Sweet Sage
The burning of sage ? or "smudging" -- is something that, even a century before, would have been deemed as pagan. Today, sage is common in many households. It is used by both indigenous people, Wiccans, and natural healers to help clear the air or bad energy or bad spirits.
Smudging is a little controversial these days, with claims ranging that the average person is not educated enough to do it correctly, to it being cultural appropriation of other traditions. I am not one to say if burning it is right or wrong, but as I have never had to burn it, I do not think I ever will.
But I will still keep it close, you know, just in case?
8. A Spiritual Satchel
Along with the sage was a mysterious orange satchel with two rocks, some wood, and a candle. The Salem Souvenir Box didn't come with a booklet or sheet to explain what these things were, so I assumed they were just items from Salem instead ? perhaps rocks from Proctor's Ledge where they hung the witches, wood from the nearby trees and a candle made from wax from local the bees.
But I was wrong. After some online sleuthing, I was able to determine this instead was a spirit satchel ? or spirit pouch ? a companion piece to the sage. I haven't identified the purpose of the rocks yet, but the wood is actually Palo Santo, which translates to "Holy Wood". This, along with the sage, are to be lit with the candle to help clear the air of bad energies and dangerous spirits.
9. A Navigational Knickknack
I am not certain what this is, but I think it's a keychain. One side is plain cardboard with a witch silhouette on it, while the other is a cropped map of Salem. This map is focused in on the intersection of Federal Street and Washington Street, with arrows to both the Witch Dungeon Museum and the Gallows Hill Museum and Theatre.
10. A Petrifying Picture
This photograph is very odd and doesn't have a description, but it shows five, old wooden houses in a circle, each with a dried, sod roof. Between the trees are twisted, outreaching trees, and small lean-to wooden structures dot the yards. With no explanation to what this is, we think it may be a photograph of the old town of Salem depicting how it looked in 1692.
11. A Witchy Writing
The official website lists some of the items you may find in your very own Salem Souvenir Box, but I'm not sure where this one fits on the list. It is a small, cardstock piece of paper, about the size of two business cards. On the back is a mosaic of multi-coloured explosions, with some ranging from orange and white to teal, black and purple.
On the front of the paper is an animated black cauldron with green slime bumbling out of it, with the text about it all reading "Bubble bubble toil and trouble".
Beyond the obvious connection to witches, I'm not sure how this item relates to Salem or where it originated.
Jessica and I both agreed the Salem Souvenir Box was cool, but not overly exciting. Temporary tattoos, stickers, cardboard trinkets; these are all cool but they don't really embrace the essence of Salem ? or at least, I don't think they do. My favourite items were the face mask and the photographs, followed by the post-card and the spirit pouch.
The website lists some of the items we might get but did not, such as small "kitchen witch", some quartz or a patch. I was excited for the "kitchen witch", but they only had a limited supply of each, and I have a feeling they were overwhelmed by orders so they just did what they could.
I don't think I'll be ordering another box from Salem in the future, but visiting the city is still at the top of my bucket list. How about you? Would you order a Salem Souvenir Box? What did you think about the contents of it? Let me know in the comments below.
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Categories: Paranormal, Regina, Saskatchewan, Unboxing