Dark Thoughts of the Ladies of Salem

Sponsor: Palmer Cover Yacht Club

Artist: John Devine

Ladies of Salem Palmer Cove Yacht Club

Lady Slocum

I watched it sink with all hands.

In my dark love story “Carving Grace,” figureheads wander the streets at night in pursuit of happiness—yours.

In honor of its publication in NEHW Press’ Wicked Creatures this month (coming soon!), I’m celebrating figureheads for 2021 Poe Season!

First up: a look at the Ladies of Salem.

Nathan and I took our very first trip to Salem, Massachusetts, this August. We did some tourist kitsch, some history, and some art. But art is everywhere in Salem if you care to look, and I was thrilled to discover their downtown collection of figureheads called The Ladies of Salem.

This public art exhibit, officially titled The Lady of Salem Maritime Public Art Celebration, is displayed throughout the downtown (I don’t know if it’s only at certain times of year) and commemorates the city’s original position as a prominent cultural center—things from all over the world arrived in New England through Salem’s port. https://www.salem.org/listing/lady-salem-maritime-public-art-celebration/.

Strangely, there isn’t a whole lot of information out there on the Ladies, because right away, I was hoping there’d be a book or something that talked about each one, or maybe even gave each a back story (apparently, there was a brochure floating around, but we weren’t able to get our hands on one).

But lack of information stimulates the imagination. I took photos of as many as we spotted, and thought if, they were figureheads in my story, what would each be thinking?

The ladies don’t have names (in just about all cases); I made them up. I’ve done my best to get the names of the sponsor and artist for each one, but in a couple of cases, the plaques were illegible due to damage.

Anyway, look for the Ladies to pop up here all month long!

About kristipetersenschoonover

A ghost story writer who still sleeps with the lights on, Kristi Petersen Schoonover’s fiction has appeared in many magazines and anthologies; her traditionally published books include a short story collection, THE SHADOWS BEHIND. She was the recipient of three Norman Mailer Writers Colony Residencies and holds an MFA in Creative Writing from Goddard College. She serves as co-host of the DARK DISCUSSIONS podcast, as founding editor of the dark literary journal 34 ORCHARD, and is a member of both the New England Horror Writers and the Horror Writers Association. Follow her adventures at kristipetersenschoonover.com.

Posted on October 5, 2021, in Deep Thoughts & Fun Stuff, Ladies of Salem and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

  1. Oh, I hope “Lady Slocum” didn’t really watch a ship sink with all hands. How horrifying. It sounds like a cool town exhibit.

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