Somebody blow out the black candle and grab the salt because the Sanderson Sisters are back in Salem, and some of the tourist attractions in the city are experiencing an influx of guests who are drawn to the film’s black magic nostalgia.
Hocus Pocus 2, the sequel to the 1993 cult classic Hocus Pocus, is finally streaming on Disney+, and the return of the classic witches played by Bette Midler, Sarah Jessica Parker and Kathy Najimy have encouraged fans and Halloween enthusiasts to book a trip to Salem, Massachusetts, the witch capital of the world.
And with the Sanderson Sisters’ resurrection, tour groups and attractions such as the Salem Witch Museum are already seeing a larger than normal turnout of guests this fall.
“We’re seeing surges of visitors coming,” the museum’s executive director, Tina Jordan, told Newsweek. Jordan said she just spoke with someone who was planning to visit in October solely because of their love for Hocus Pocus. “And Hocus Pocus has brought people to Salem since the movie debuted. It’s really become a cult classic and people love it. They want to go to the homes, the exterior facades, where things took place.”
“But it’s wonderful to see,” Jordan added, saying that people have come to Salem for years because of the classic film. “I cannot believe the number of Sanderson Sisters costumes that come to Salem every year,” she said.
The same is true for Beth Crowley, the owner of Witch City Walking Tours in Salem, who told Newsweek that the city is showing Hocus Pocus 2 in the Salem Common this weekend. “Lots of viewing parties, people are going all out dressed in costume,” said Crowley.
She also said that her walking tours, which she started in 2014 by herself, had to begin accommodating a separate Hocus Pocus-focused tour because of the number of fans requesting it.
“The uptick in interest is, like, incredible,” Crowley said. “This year has been insane. It seems like like one out of every four phone calls we get once the Hocus Pocus tour. We’ve actually [been] sold out of this tour for months already.”
They can only take 40 people on one tour, and the Hocus Pocus tour is only twice a week, but Crowley said that they have been “turning away people constantly” due to overbookings.
“You could safely say our bookings are up at least 50 percent from what they were last year,” Crowley said.
The history of the witch in Salem is a well-known tale of hysteria that ended with the deaths of 25 people who were accused of witchcraft in 1692. The history alone brings masses of people to Massachusetts, but it also has much to do with the modern-day Wiccans and pop-culture witches that tend to both fascinate and attract.
“Take all of that and mix it in with Hocus Pocus and Hubie Halloween and other movies that are filmed in the area, and Salem really is a mecca,” Jordan said.
Hocus Pocus is now so engrained in the Salem culture that the infamous Sanderson Sisters’ house was recently turned into an Airbnb for superfans to stay in.
Regarding the sequel on Disney+, Bette Midler previously told Newsweek, “I have to say a huge fat thank you and a huge shout out to all the fans that basically made it happen. If it hadn’t been for them, we never would have been given the green light to do it.”
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