'Bewitched' statue bothering a bewildered Salem

People in Salem, Mass., are split over whether to accept the gift of a bronze statue of Samantha, the main character from 'Bewitched.'

People living in the witchcraft capital of the United States are split over whether to accept the gift of a bronze statue paying tribute to the character Samantha from the classic TV show Bewitched.

The three-metre tall statue of the lovable suburban witch, seated on a broom, is to be erected by the middle of June at a busy intersection in Salem, Mass.

The site is not far from the courthouse where 20 suspected witches were sentenced to die in 1692, at the height of anti-witch hysteria.

The statue will be a gift to the town from the U.S. cable network, TV Land.

The network wants to pay homage to the 1964-1972 television series, which starred the late Elizabeth Montgomery, as a movie remake starring Nicole Kidman opens this summer.

Opponents of the plan say the statue is in bad taste, given the fact that the Salem witch hunts led to the deaths of innocent people and the town has only a tenuous connection to the TV series.

The Samantha character attended occasional witchcraft conventions in the Massachusetts town.

But town officials who approved the statue point out that Salem has branded itself as "The Bewitching Seaport" and encourages tourists to visit for a big Halloween festival each year.

The town's police cruisers even sport witch logos during the October festivities.