Mysticism and Salem Through the Ages

1950s witch and black cat

Well, we all know where the Salem Witch Hysteria had led, but what about before and after that year? There are tales of the Second Coming of Christ, Spiritualist who wanted to give a robot a soul, seances, religions, and more.

First Salem was founded by Puritans… let us move on past them.

Son of Governor John WinthropJohn Winthrop was a follower of John Dee and had brought and shared his library of works throughout Salem and then Connecticut where he became governor. Many say he was an alchemist like John Dee. John Dee was a court astrologer to Queen Elizabeth I. For a time he traveled outside of England with Edward Kelly promising kings and emperors that they could turn lead into gold. Something that got Edward Kelly killed by one of those emperors when he failed. In time Dee returned to England and received a pension from the Queen. Winthrop had many friends in power who followed his lead talking to angels and demons. These are the men who pointed at the poor and the unprotected rich widow and blamed them for doing magic.

Then in 1641, Edward Dimond was born in Marblehead. He grew up to become the Wizard of Marblehead. Vessels sailing through Salem harbor during a storm could hear his voice calling them by name and vessel from on top of Burial Hill safely back to port. He could also detect thieves and his powerful built forced them to return what they stole.

Dimond’s granddaughter Moll Pitcher was born in 1736, 4 years after Dimond’s death. Was it the wizard reincarnated? She became a powerful psychic that during the war gave a personal reading to George Washington and then the next day to an English general. Many sailors would not sign on to a ship before Pitcher would declare if it was to be profitable and would return safely. Ship captains feared her predictions, one could assume she had played this to her advantage more than once. She made her home below High Rock in Lynn. Her strangest client was “Lord” Timothy Dexter who built a fine mansion in Newburyport. Maybe from following her advice, he was able to sell copper bedwarmers and gloves in the Caribean which was used to boil molasses and gloves that Asians bought to sell in Siberia. Another time he followed a jest to sell coal to a rich coal region in Newcastle in England, it arrived during a shortage and sold for a premium. Did Pitcher advise him in these miraculous sales? For others when asked where the treasure was to be found she would say, “Fools, if I knew where money was buried, do you think I would part with the secret?”

In 1794 William Hill brought the New Church to Salem. The church was founded by followers of Emanuel Swedenborg a 17th-century Christian scholar who talked to angels. Swedenborg created many popular beliefs such as when we die we become angels and that we continued to grow and progress in Heaven. From 4 parishioners they spread out in time to a good congregation.  Rev. O.P. Hiller had given a lecture at the Salem Lyceum that had hundreds attend in 1841. Henry Kemble Oliver offered his schoolhouse for them to meet in. Their church in time was built in 1872 on the lot the Salem Atheneum resides on now.

An employee of Oliver was Jones Very. Jones Very was a poet who graduated from Harvard who was highly respected by Ralph Waldo Emmerson. Very was a mystic who thought he was the Second Coming of Christ who was influential in the group in Salem and Concord. Very worked his way quite fine into the growing Transcendentalist Movement as their mystic. Nathaniel Hawthorne was the Secretary of the Lyceum who booked many of his fellow members of the movement to give lectures in the hall including a Miss Ida A. Fay who gave a lecture on Mediumship at the Lyceum in 1843. Hawthorne’s sister-in-law Elizabeth Peabody introduced Very to the Concord group to give a lecture in 1883.

Now step back to around the time of the Civil War, there were the Hutchinson Family Singers. They were singing abolitionists, who were also spiritualist.  They were hired to talk to a dead pirate to find a treasure in Lynn Woods. Could that treasure be the one someone asked Moll Pitcher to find? In fact, the Hutchinson’s lived above Moll Pitcher’s old homesite on High Rock. The strangest story tied to them was when a woman was prayed to in front of an early robot that was placed next to her while she was giving birth, they were hoping the soul would go in the robot and not the baby.

In 1894 the First Spiritualist Church opened up on Warren Street in Salem. By this time there were 18 professionals who listed in Salem papers offering magnetic healing, clairvoyance, mediumship, and mesmerizing.  A follower of the Spiritualist Church was the wife of John Hamond Jr. of Hammond Castle in Magnolia. Hammond at one time almost incorporated with Nikola Tesla. While visiting Hammond, tesla took part in an experiment where they placed a psychic in a double Faraday Cage, which prevented electromagnetic currents from leaving or exiting the cage. Tesla went with a psychic a mile away and the woman communicated with the psychic in the cage and proved that psychic ability is not an electromagnetic current. Tesla started visiting the Hammond’s around 1909 with Mark Twain who had saved Hammond’s father’s life in South Africa. Many think John Hammond Jr. has come back to live in his castle as a black cat on several occasions after his death. Many houses in Salem are also haunted by various souls from the last 300 or so years.

In 1906 Harry Houdini broke out from the Salem Police Department jail on Charter Street and released everyone else from their cels who walked past the audience. On Halloween 1990 they held a seance to see if he wanted to talk to his family, he didn’t.

Then in the 70’s there were a series of women who attended Salem State College. They were embracing feminine pursuits and looking into spiritualism, magic, witchcraft, and comparative religions. They created an embracing community. Then an exotic dancer came back from working in the Latin Quarter nightclub owned by Barbara Walters’ father and those women soon all moved to Cape Ann. Just like the Puritans aggravated the town father Roger Conant to move north, Laurie Cabot did the same to the original witches of Salem…

Now, since 1990, Angelic of the Angels follows these roots extending from the New Church and the Spiritualists to offer you a way to find your bliss through the help of your angels, your family.

Visit us on your next voyage to this truly magical city!

If you liked this post, I think you might like my book Burnt Toast and Oranges: The Miss Adventures of the Salem Love Psychic which goes over some very interesting Mystical Events I have experienced within the city.

Rev. Barbara
The Salem Love Psychic

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