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Comments 6

5 Things That Drive Me Nuts About TV’s Salem

A lot of people have taken offense at the TV show Salem’s portrayal of 16th century witches. After sparkly vampires and a hoard of TV shows about good witches, the evil witches of Salem seemed… refreshing. It’s high time TV witches take a turn for the menacing. But to be human is to be inconsistent, so here are things about the show that make me nuts. I realize Salem is fiction. One must put aside historical inaccuracies in service to the story (which I enjoy). But…

1) In the TV show, a family of accused witches are burned to death. In reality, no witches were burned during the Salem witch trials. All but one were hanged. The other, Giles Corey, was pressed to death. In fairness to Salem, I was pleased they got his last words right: “More weight!”

2) Poor, maligned, Increase Mathers. He’s an evil, obsessed witch hunter in the show, while his son, Cotton Mathers, understands the truth: there are witches, but innocents are being burned, and that price is too high. In historical Salem, Increase Mathers was horrified when he learned about what Cotton Mathers had perpetuated on Salem, and was instrumental in stopping the Salem witch trials.

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The House of the Seven Gables, Salem, MA

3) The witch Mary Sibley is styling in sequins and lip gloss. Sequins actually have been around for centuries, though I question whether the sumptuary laws would have made them acceptable for a woman in puritan Salem. But lip gloss was a 20th century invention for which we can thank Max Factor. Women have been wearing various types of lip stains since ancient Egyptian times. But the lip gloss makes me crazy.

4) Pleather? Really? The Mercy Lewis character wears a pleather gown in season one, episode nine. Even if we suspend disbelief and call it a leather gown, it’s still ridiculous unless the TV show is going Steampunk. Which would be frankly awesome. Bring on the mechanicals!

5) The House of the Seven Gables is delightfully spooky, and it was in existence at the time of the trials in 1692. Little wonder they used it as the model for Mary Sibley’s house. But that house has no association with the Salem witch trials, and there are creepier existing homes in Salem that do have witch trial associations. I just can’t see Mary’s house without thinking, “Seven Gables!”

The show’s spell casting and devil summoning and toad suckling I’m okay with. Logically, I shouldn’t be hot and bothered by Salem’s historical inaccuracies. But… lip gloss?!

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You expect consistency?

About the Author Kirsten Weiss is the author of Steam and Sensibility, a steampunk novel of suspense, and the Riga Hayworth series of paranormal mysteries: the urban fantasy, The Metaphysical DetectiveThe Alchemical DetectiveThe Shamanic DetectiveThe Infernal Detective and The Elemental Detective. Get her books on Amazon, Kobo, or Barnes & Noble.

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6 Comments

  1. Lori @ Romancing the Dark Side says

    LOL! Great post. I only watched one episode of this show, it was too much even for me (and I watch Hannibal!) but some of my friends really love it. Too funny about the lipgloss, they could definitely try to stick with the time period and find something else besides shiny lip products! 🙂

  2. Jennifer Gainer says

    You have to get the viewers buy-in somehow. The show has some sensational dramatization for sure. But I appreciate the creativity because it appeals to those who might not otherwise give the show, the history, a second thought.

  3. Colleen says

    I could have lived without reference to our family name, Sibley. Even though it was a dramatization, Mary played a rather small role and since there are many of us alive today, they could have picked one of the true perpetrators and left us out of the story. Our family was mortified with it into that first episode.

  4. Love this post! I do like the plot but I couldn’t finish the first episode because the bad inaccurate and inconstant accents drove me up the wall. I seriously yelled at the TV “It’s the 1600s! Why are you talking like that?!!”

  5. Stickler says

    Great points! But please edit #2 It’s Mather, not Mathers – no ‘S’. Those two are not Eminem’s cousins.
    Thanks!

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