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Salem, Massachusetts: The New England town with the darkest past

"Don't worry, I'm the scariest thing here," jokes the guide at Salem Witch Village. This isn't saying a lot. Clad in hooded top, surf shorts and flip-flops, he looks less a teller of gory tales in a "museum" of lumpen waxworks than a man who has taken a wrong turn on his way to the beach. But at least he has made more effort with his appearance than the "exhibits" – a hangman and his rickety gallows, a medieval torture victim on a dusty rack, a dragon sitting next to the fire exit.