The Sanderson Witch Museum

I’m such a stickler for detail. When it comes to art, I always prefer the really detailed paintings. When it comes to movies I love the ones that add so much detail to each scene.

“Hocus Pocus” is one such film. There is so much scrumptious detail in each and every scene, you can tell the prop master and the set designers had an amazing time working on the film. 

In one particular film the three Sanderson sisters are hiding in the bushes outside their old house because a pair of “witch hunters” have come to check on the house. I remember this scene so distinctly when I was a child because above the witches is a sign for their house, which has now become a museum. Now, where the title of the sign is easily readable – The Sanderson Witch Museum – I always remember the details underneath were not exactly clear or definable… Especially on a VHS copy that I’d watched 500 times and worn away nicely…


Fast forward 22 years and I now own the Blu-Ray of “Hocus Pocus” and for some reason this scene popped into my head… So I spent the good part of this afternoon pausing, rewinding, scrolling through this scene trying to decipher the text written on the museum board.

Now here is a terrific insight into the backstory of these three characters that someone clearly wrote and created, knowing that quite possibly they would never be seen onscreen by anyone. Not knowing that 23 years after the film’s release a 27 year old guy would take the time to read and squint each word. 

And so for the first time ever, here published in all it’s glory, are the passages written on The Sanderson Witch Museum sign in the movie “Hocus Pocus”.

THE HOUSE

The Sanderson House is registered with the Salem Historic Preservation Guild. Built in 1647 this house frame was erected by the Perkins family and later abandoned. It was altered to become a grist mill in 1658 after the diversion of a local stream by flooding in that year. It was never fully occupied until the arrival of three sisters in 1671. 

These three sisters remained apart from the strict Puritan community of Salem and excited it’s wildest suspicions. The Legend of the sisters grew and resulted in their arrest and hanging on October 31, 1693 on this very site. 

THE WITCHCRAFT LEGEND

The Sanderson Sisters were accused of flying over fields by moonlight, of killing farm animals and children for use in casting spells, of changing the weather with a word and turning milk sour with a glance. They were accused of WITCHCRAFT and the strange contents of their house were enough in that year of panic, 1693, to justify their deaths by hanging.

 

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