Saturday, November 05, 2016

Second Salem

It's a working water tower. Really, that's all it is. But it's commonly known as "The Witch's Hat" or the "The Witch's Tower." The legend says that it's shaped this way to trap the spirits inside. While the current fence is little more than a decorative device, the previous fence had pointy tops that pointed inward - to keep the evil inside, of course.

The city employee who works at the water department told us of a time when "one of them crazy students" from the university scaled the fence and climbed into the pitch black water tower in the early hours of the morning, setting off an internal alarm that forced the city worker to climb out of bed to check it out. The student then attacked him and when the ambulance and police finally arrived, the student was unconscious, but the city worker had to go to the hospital for stitches and he was placed on administrative leave for a week while the incident was investigated. He does not care for "those university kids - high on Ritalin and cocaine all the time."

Morris Pratt built a school for Spiritualism here at the turn of the twentieth century, at the height of the popularity of the movement.  The school had your normal classes, but also included classes on how to become a medium and how to best reach the spirits. Regular seances were held at the Pratt Institute and, even now, generations later, you hear stories of mediums who call this place home because, well, where else would they call home? 

The town, it is said, is more open to the spirit world because of all the studies and seances. There's a thinner layer here between the ghosts and the living than in other places.  So of course the water tower is haunted.  The whole place is.

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