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Witches galore: AIC honors students head to Salem for Halloween

Ave’ Mullen, Staff Writer

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On Sunday, November 5, in honor of Halloween, the AIC Honors Program took a fun and exciting trip to Salem, Mass., site of the famous 17th Century Witch Trials.

Director of the Honors Program and History professor Dr. Thomas Maulucci, and Dr. Lori Paige, an English professor, chaperoned honors program members on a two-hour road trip to visit a special memorial site for the victims of the trials and a tour of The Witch House.

Dr. Paige explained how the trip came to be.

“Professor Maulucci and I first had the idea for this trip last year when I was teaching my Honors Seminar on Vampire Literature,” said Dr. Paige. “We were not able to arrange it that semester, so when the opportunity arose this year, we decided to tie it into the Halloween season.”

While in Salem, they also stopped and ate a fabulous lunch at Finz, a popular seafood restaurant near the Harborside. The students were also able to explore and venture downtown Salem visiting different shops and museums.

“The best part of the trip for me was just walking around, wandering into the gift stores, taking photos, and people-watching,” Dr. Paige said. “It made for a nice change from reading stacks of papers at my desk!”

The Honors Program left American International College at 9 a.m. sharp. Their first stop was the Witch Trial Memorial, designed to honor the lives of those accused and hung in the Salem Witch Trials of 1692-1693. The Salem Witchcraft Trials were a series of accusations and persecutions of innocent people accused of witchcraft or “the devils magic.” Upon its entrance, the phrases I am wholly innocent and I am not a witch were engraved into stone. In the memorial, there were stone wedges with the victims’ names and method of killing transcribed into each one.

“Rebecca Nurse, hanged; Bridget Bishop, hanged; Giles Corey, pressed to death,” one of the members read from the headstones.

People could leave flowers and candles at these gravestones to honor the lives of those accused.

“The memorial to the victims was a sobering reminder that for those people, it wasn’t a trendy game,” Dr. Paige recounted. “We always need to remember that people in power victimizing others is tragic and can happen at any time, critical thinking and tolerance were sadly lacking in those days.”

After grabbing a bite to eat, the group had the chance to tour The Witch House. Inside, there were several brick fireplaces, in which some were used for cooking, ancient furniture, and even a cotton gin. Posted on the walls were remedies to cure different illnesses. Ingredients such as human blood, skull moss, and human brains were used to treat epilepsy. The visit to the Salem Witch house was both disturbing and interesting, but everyone learned new facts about where and how settlers lived back in the day.

“Not all of it is pleasant, but it makes us appreciate what we have today, like running water, electricity, and clothes we don’t have to make with a loom,” explained Paige.

After the visit to The Witch House, the students were free to roam the streets of downtown Salem. There were various Witcraft shops that sold anything from souvenirs to books on how to cast spells.

“My favorite parts of the Salem trip were visiting the town itself,” said Maulucci. “Since it is very historic and very pretty, and getting a chance to interact with and learn more about the students in the Honors Program.”

At 5 p.m., just as the sun began to set, the honors program boarded the bus back home after a long day of learning and adventure. It was a significant opportunity and the first field trip for the Honors Program this semester. Professor Maulucci also shared that next semester they are interested in visiting the Mark Twain House in Hartford, Conn.

If you are interested in joining the Honors Program or attending any further events or trips, you can inquire with Maulucci, the director of the program.

“Students from all majors can participate in the Honors Program,” Professor Maulucci said. “Some are invited into it as incoming freshmen based on their application materials, other students who are doing outstanding work in the classroom can be nominated to me by a faculty member any time up to the start of their sophomore year.”

With much to look forward and anticipate, the Honors Program is a righteous experience for students of American International College who have a desire for the quest of knowledge.

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Witches galore: AIC honors students head to Salem for Halloween