Dark tourism spooks its way into the mainstream

The new Bali

ONE recent morning in Salem, in the state of Massachusetts, a witch ran out of wands. Teri Kalgren, the owner of Artemisia Botanicals, an apothecary and magic shop, attributed the shortage to a boom in visitors. People have long flocked to Salem to learn about the infamous witch trials of 1692, in which Puritan hysteria led to the executions of 20 people (and two dogs). But since 1982, when the city introduced Haunted Happenings, a day-long Halloween festival for local families, the event has expanded into a celebration that lasts for a month and attracts 500,000 tourists. In 2016 tourism pumped $104m into Salem and funded some 800 jobs.

On America’s opposite coast, Scott Michaels can also attest to the allure of the macabre. He has watched his Hollywood-based company, Dearly Departed Tours, grow from a one-man gig to an operation with seven employees who take tourists to celebrity grave sites every day of the week. “Just a few…

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