Salem is known for its dark history of hanging accused “witches,” as well as its massive, annual Halloween festivities, but there’s nothing scary about the new Satanic Temple headquarters slated to open in the city this weekend, organizers said.
The new offices will be housed at 64 Bridge Street, in an Victorian house built in 1882, once used as a funeral home. The building will be home to a seven-and-a-half foot tall bronze statue of the deity Baphomet, “until an offer to donate the statue to Arkansas for display on State Capitol grounds alongside the Ten Commandments is accepted,” the group said in a statement.
The headquarters will feature an art gallery, with a permanent exhibition dedicated to “Satanic panic witch-hunts, past and present." The facility will also include a media room where there are plans to hold seminars, screen films and host other public events.
“Salem emerged as an obvious choice to be established as the base for our operations,” spokesperson Lucien Greaves said in a statement. “In addition to Salem’s history and proximity to the intellectual hub of Boston, the people we have spoken to have been incredible friendly and supportive. Salem is quaint, and quite lovely, and we intend to contribute to the cultural climate while maintaining the community’s high standards.
“The irony that a town which one executed people because of alleged ties to Satan will now be hosting the headquarters of the world’s largest satanic organization is not lost on us. The fact that we have a home in Salem is a testament to the progressive mentality of the people there, and the local government’s support for plurality.”
The temple’s grand opening will be held on Friday.