Salem, Massachusetts

The "Witch History Museum had a basement full of diaramas that illustrated the events of the witch craze that swept this area for a very short time.  

The story begins with a brief review (by a very good guide) of the Native Americans whom the Puritans feared, and then how the Puritans managed commemorate their newfound religious liberty by depriving every non-Puritan of theirs: Quakers and Presbyterians were exiled under cruel circumstances and if they did not leave they would be dealt with harshly.  This left only Puritans, and the Puritan ministry had absolute authority in terms of things religious, but since sheriffs and judges were also believing Puritans, there was no real distinction between church and state.

One minister's daughters began to behave strangely, and were sometimes totally immobile, other times ecstatically out of control:

Their minister father, Rev, Parris, consulted a doctor who found nothing physically amiss: his diagnosis?  They had been "bewitched."

When they were younger, their domestic slave, Tituba,  had taught them all about the magical aspects of the world and how they could be manipulated using voodoo:

When older, the teenage girls claimed to be taking part in nighttime revels in the woods, like the Sabbaths of European witchcraft fame:

Then they were aware they had a gift: they could look at someone and see their spectral accompaniment, their familiars.  They went and accused townspeople of being witches, and were believed, not only that, they went around the countryside at the request of other villages and detected witches in their midst as well:

The results?  Arrests!  Here are people being loaded into a cart with the accuser swooning as she feels their malignant influences.

Their relatives could only look on in horror:

Some did not go willingly, this was the man who was crushed by piling on rocks, because he never stopped fighting:

The court accepted spectral evidence, the accusers would show their reactions to what they, and only they, saw around the accused:

And for many, this was the result:

Since their bodies were unholy, they were thrown into a pit, only later to be exhumed and reburied after the witch-craze had stopped:

There is much more of historical interest in this set of diaramas, including some insights into the beliefs and acts of some famous people, but go and see for yourself.

The guide said that the witch hunting was stopped instantly when the governor of the territory, Phipps, came to town with his wife to investigate the going ob here.  His wife was accused of being a witch.  He must have liked here, because he then and there instructed the court that spectral evidence was not admissible, and to set the hundred-some persons still in jail free.

So what did I do after this romp through history?  See the next page.

 Go to fourth Salem visit page (cemeteries, trees and a storm)

 Go back to first Salem visit page (Griffen Theatre and the town)

 Go back to second Salem visit page (Witch House)

 Go back to 'where in the world' page three A

 Go to yearbook for 2007

 Go to ThoughtsandPlaces.Org home page