"People come and think it's a joke, and find out it's not a joke," Ken Stigler, pastor of Salem's Wesley Methodist Church, told the National and International Religion Report. "People walk around town wearing black capes, with inverted crosses and pentagrams," Stigler said. Wiccans claim to have 4,000 followers in the city of 40,000. Others put the number much lower.
"Allowing Wicca the rule and rein of tourism in Salem has been unfortunate theologically and economically disastrous," Stigler said. Businesses may be intrigued by the idea of witches, but tend not to settle in town, he added. In Salem, famous for its 1692 witch trials, the town seal and promotional materials feature witchcraft symbols.
"People here are sick of it," said Joseph Kost, pastor of the non-denominational Christian Renewal Church. He told NIRR that Christians long remained silent "because the town was making money," but occultism "crept in because the door was open." Christian clergy will meet separately this month to pray and plan their church events.