, Salem, MA

Local News

November 12, 2013

The Salem State Vikings ... but who knows why?


“Must we be witches, or clippers or even pumpkins in season?” wrote Robert Griffin. “Not so, because the legend of Leif Ericson’s voyage to Massachusetts, and very probably to Salem Harbor, dates back somewhat before the witch-clipper ship era.”

There you have it.

Leif Ericson, not Roger Conant, settled Salem.

Of course, most historians don’t believe the great Norse explorer came to Salem, or Massachusetts or anywhere near here, despite the fact there is a Leif Erikson (i.e. different spelling) statue on the Commonwealth Mall in Boston.

There is speculation, however, that Leif’s father, Erik the Red, may have stopped in Salem. How else to explain Red’s Sandwich Shop?

Tom Dalton can be reached at

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