Laurie Cabot ~ Modern Day Witch

How Salem's first witch shop started a movement

Laurie Cabot was born Mercedes Elizabeth Keersey, in Wewoka, Oklahoma on March 6, 1933. As a teenager, Laurie and her family moved to Boston where she developed a profound interest in witchcraft; her discovery of the dark arts evolved over time as she began to spend her free time researching its intricacies in the Boston Public Library.

Dating to her time before living in Salem, Laurie held a residency in the North End of Boston. The time was the 1960s…Laurie, although she displayed the ultimate visual representation of a mystical woman of the occult, still remained hesitant to declare her identity of being a witch. She was known to wear stark black robes as well as eccentric jewelry representing symbols of pentagrams. By the late 60s, her fashion was largely associated with the hippie lifestyle, as opposed to witchcraft. A single mother of two, Laurie was solely responsible for making key decisions for her children’s well-being. To ensure the safety and appropriate upbringing of her children, Laurie decided to move to a more suburban apartment, and she ultimately found an apartment on Salem’s notable Chestnut Street. It was during Laurie’s residency here that her infamous interaction with her cat, Molly Boo, took place.
Molly was no ordinary cat, she was what’s known as a “familiar” or a helpful spirit. Familiars may take the form of a beloved pet, a totem animal, or even a helpful nonphysical entity. According to legend and deep-rooted tradition, familiars serve as loyal guardians and protectors to witches who are sent to assist them with magic. One evening, Molly Boo, one of Laurie’s two cats, got stuck in a 50-foot tree. Laurie, justifiably nervous, decided to call her local police only to be told to “just wait,” for her cat to return back down to the ground. After waiting three days for Molly to descend from the tree, Laurie took action. She called the Salem News and informed the individual on the other line, “My cat is stuck in a tree. I am a witch. That cat is my familiar. And I want someone to come to get my cat out of my tree.” This interaction, of course, gained much attention from the community as well as the media. Several rescue cars, photographers, and the mayor advanced to the scene to get Molly Boo out of the tree. Due to the intensity of her media attention, Laurie was able to open the city’s very first witch shop, called The Witch Shoppe. One year later, the shop moved to Essex St., where it acquired its new title of Crow Haven Corner; as well as being financially successful, Crow Haven Corner is known for being Salem’s longest-operating witch shop. In the mid-90s, Laurie eventually opened a third location known as The Cat, The Crow, and the Crown on Pickering Wharf, later renaming it The Official Witch Shoppe, in nostalgic reference to her original business. 


Laurie’s opening of this very first witch shop in her city sparked an influx of people practicing modern witchcraft began to move to Salem, seeing it from a new perspective as a place of acceptance and renewal. Inspired by Laurie’s successes, many of those practitioners also started lucrative business practices themselves. In 1997, more than 2,500 residents of Salem had claimed to be practicing witches, with the numbers only increasing in vehement volumes since then. Laurie has always maintained that her true mission has been to educate the public about witchcraft and to simultaneously dispel rumors about the practice as a whole. To summarize her goals towards informing the public, in an interview, Laurie had once stated, “Despite what our modern society would have you believe, the Witch within you is not dangerous, but protective. She is not frivolous, but exceedingly accurate and trustworthy.”

Speaking to the Dead with Laurie Cabot | Witch magic, Traditional witchcraft, Wiccan

4 thoughts on “Laurie Cabot ~ Modern Day Witch

  1. I love how this piece is super informative and has pictures which make it easy to visualize- and you not only focus on the past but the future (ie the effects on present day).

  2. Absolutely love your idea for your passion blog!! I never would’ve thought to learn more about witches, but I enjoyed reading your thoughts on the “Modern Day Witch.”

  3. Really nice Job! I enjoyed reading Laurie Cabot’s story. I did not know much about a modern day witches influence, but I love to read anything about the supernatural.

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