The Bewitched Statue
America's Most Insensitive Sculpture
Editorial, Salem News, 8.23.2017
As cities across the nation remove monuments dedicated to the Confederacy, it might be worth considering the removal of an offensive sculpture standing in the very heart of Salem: Samantha Stevens.
Since 2005, this whimsical sitcom witch has smiled atop a flying broomstick in Lappin Park, reminding visitors that Salem capitalizes on the myth of witchcraft despite the witch trials tragedy. While many are comfortable with this dysfunctional marriage of fact and fiction, I am not.
No matter how fun the myth of witches may be (or how great the revenue), it should never be promoted alongside the grim reality of 1692. Imagine, for instance, if the hometown of mass murderer John Wayne Gacy (known as the "clown killer") erected a statue of Bozo the Clown and re-branded itself as "Clown City USA". Surely the victims of murder deserve an eternal rest without being woken by a laugh track.
Bewitched may have been an amusing show, but when a statue of the main actress is placed in the context of Salem's history, it trivializes the deaths of 20 innocent people.
It's time for Samantha to fly back to her true home of Westport, CT, where the show actually took place. Removing the sculpture from Salem would also remove any offensive connotations attached to it. There, the statue could be enjoyed simply as a public monument to a TV sitcom character: another debate altogether.
-Andrew Carr, Salem