A True Tale- Salem and Lightning

Jillian here. As you know, I recently went to visit my son in Rhode Island and while I was there, we spent a day in Salem, Mass. It was a lovely city and there’s an awesome memorial to the witches there in an old cemetery. The accused witches each have a bench with their name caved on it and some people leave tokens and gifts on the benches. One bench had a sweet note from a nine-time great-grandson who left some flowers and a card that said they were all fine and doing well. So neat.

As my son, daughter-in-law and I walked around, I spotted a tree that had been struck by lightning. I knew that was what happened as I have a tree in my yard that was struck during Hurricane Ivan in 2004 that has similar scarring. I took pictures of the tree and then walked to the other side and noticed a gravestone that seemed too close to the tree. Way too close.

As I was looking at it, a docent came over and told us the story about the young man, Caleb Pickman, (22 yrs old) buried there. He was killed by a lightning strike on July 4, 1737. The tree was small and intact when he was buried there. Over the years since then, it has been struck five times.

The third picture down shows the back of the grave and just how close the tree was to his resting spot. Poor guy couldn’t even get away from danger in death, could he?

I’ve got a lot of cool ideas on how to use this tree in stories. Does the tale or the setting inspire the writer in you?

So, anyone who tells you lightning never strikes twice in the same place is fibbing. 🙂

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5 responses to “A True Tale- Salem and Lightning

  1. Quite the tree, and yes I can see it in a story. My mother-in-law aways told the family not to bury her by a tree. She was afraid the roots would push her back up. She was vocal and adamant about it. As it turns out she may be closer to a tree then she wanted.

  2. My imagination is running wild with that tree, Jillian, I’ve always found the Salem witch trials fascinating reading. A few years ago the house opposite mine was struck by lightening – we saw it as it happened. Very frightening and only glad it wasn’t our house. Thankfully no one was hurt.

  3. Fascinating, Jillian. That tree is truly eerie and, yes, my imagination is sparked. Salem is a place I’d love to visit ever since we studied Arthur Miller’s play, but then Stephen King scared me to death with his Salem story…now I think I’ll give it a miss 😉

    Still laughing at Lavada’s mother-in-law story…

    • LOL! You should visit. It’s a beautiful place. And lots of great architecture. And yeah, Lavada’s mom’s story is a hoot.
      Glad you were inspired by the tree.

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