March 4th through March 10th
Witch Trials Weekly Video 8: A New Specter, Confessions, and Chains
In the 2015 American Bus Association’s (ABA) Motor Coach Marketer the Salem Witch Museum was named one of Massachusetts’ top 5 group attractions. ABA’s Marketer is the official guide for the motor coach and travel industry.
TOP 5 ATTRACTIONS
The Freedom Trail
Salem Witch Museum
Six Flags New England
Top 5 TOURISM DESTINATIONS
Boston/Cambridge & Greater Boston
Plymouth & Cape Cod
Salem & the North Shore
TOP 5 EVENTS
Cape Cod Maritime Days, Cape Cod, May
North End Festivals, Boston, July – August
Tanglewood Jazz Festival, September
Working Waterfront Festival, New Bedford, September
Eastern States Exposition/The Big E, West Springfield, October
Witch Trials Weekly: Video 5, February 12th through February 18th
Witch Trials Weekly: Video 6, February 19th through February 25th
The First Examinations
Witch Trials Weekly: Video 7, February 26th through March 3rd
Diagnosis, Witch Cake, and the Spread of the Evil Hand
Witch Trials Weekly Promo – Project Overview [YouTube link]
It’s that time of year again – here at the Salem Witch Museum we like to make the most of the season by sprucing up in January.
We’ll be closed Monday through Friday January 6th through 10th and again January 13th through the 17th.
We’ll reopen the museum and gift shop Saturdays and Sundays. Reopen daily on January 18th.
If you have any questions, please feel free to call us at 978-744-1692.
Date: October 3, 2013
Time: 6:00 pm – 7:00 pm
For reservations email: email@example.com
Or call: 978.744.1692
Where: Salem Witch Museum
19 ½ Washington Square North
Salem, MA 01970
In Six Women of Salem: The Untold Story of the Accused and their Accusers in the Salem Witch Trials, author and historian, Marilynne K. Roach chronicles the lives of six specific women involved in the witch hunt who represent the accusers, the accused, or both, and uses their unique stories to illuminate the larger crisis of the trials. Roach works to reconstruct the events of the trials, bringing to life this representative group of women, and examines the entire experience of the Salem Witch Trials through the eyes of those who lived through the hysteria and delivers a historically intimate narrative that gives readers a front row seat to this desperate and dangerous time in history.
Marilynne K. Roach works as both a historian and illustrator. Her illustrations, how-to articles, and travel pieces have been featured in the Boston Globe. She’s lectured to groups ranging in age from kindergarteners to senior citizens, and is the author of the classic The Salem Witch Trials: A Day-by-Day Chronicle of a Community Under Siege.
Last year Kemal Argon, a contributor to Huffington Post, wondered What Can The Salem Witch Museum Teach American Muslims? . Yet this spring after the Boston Marathon bombing a few of our staff, reeling with the aftermath of the horrific events so close to home and family, expressed apprehension about discussing religious, cultural, sexual, gender and racial tolerance in our second exhibit.
Fear + Trigger = Scapegoat
Our second exhibit Witches Evolving Perceptions looks at the evolution of folklore and stereotypes that lead to scapegoating, especially of those accused of witchcraft in Essex County 1692. The formula for a witch hunt fits to explain other scapegoating events, for example the McCarthy hearings in the United States in the 1950’s.
Trigger: Dr. Griggs
Scapegoats: 150 Townspeople
Fear: Imperial Japan
Trigger: Pearl Harbor
Scapegoats: 100,000 +/- Japanese Americans put in internment camps
Trigger: HUAC / Senator Joseph McCarthy
Scapegoats: Blacklisted citizens
Scapegoats: Gay community
There are many other examples of witch hunting in the United States and elsewhere in the world throughout history. Using the formula, it could be said that the treatment of law abiding Muslim-Americans as terrorists in a post-9/11 environment certainly follows.
When the Boston Marathon bombing occurred this spring, one unforeseen result was that tourists visiting the city were rerouted elsewhere, including to Salem; the Salem Witch Museum hosted several unscheduled tour groups, even as the Boston police were chasing down the suspects, and most people in the area were single-minded in their concern. It was a surreal day where citizens of the metro Boston area were unified in prayer of sorts, while political and social tensions were escalating.
A couple members of our staff struggled with discussing tolerance in our second exhibit that day. While there were those who felt that Muslims as a whole should not be allowed to immigrate to the United States, others believed that this was the precisely the time to hold fast to our commitment to teach the lessons of intolerance.
To address the conflict, staff members researched various media for a broad sample of opinions on the subject of Muslims in America: some pro, some con. We realized that this complicated issue brought to mind the very real conflict between our moral ideals and our naturally occurring human fears and prejudices. Today as much as in 1692.
We found the research and following discussions somewhat unsatisfying, as none of the opinions expressed were coming from the very people whose presence in our midst we were examining. Museum director, Tina Jordan, reached out to our Education Director Emerita, Alison D’Amario, to help us get a more personal view of the issue. Alison has taught English at the Immigrant Learning Center, Malden, MA through which she’s been afforded a genuine familiarity with – unedited by mass media – the daily lives and stories of people, including Muslims, who have decided to live in the United States.
. . . . . to be continued. . . . .
In part II, we’ll recap a moving evening of discussion on the topic of the treatment of Muslims in the Boston area after the fateful marathon bombing of this spring.
Betty Parris, Reverend Parris’ nine year old daughter, falls ill. Soon, other girls in Salem Village are likewise “afflicted.”
D. William Griggs, village physician, decides that the girls are bewitched.
On the advice of Mary Sibley, a member of Parris’ congregation, Tituba and John Indian, Parris’ servants, bake a witch cake to persuade the girls to reveal the names of those who are bewitching them.
Warrants are issued for the arrests of Sarah Good, Sarah Osborne and Tituba, named by the afflicted girls.
Tituba, Sarah Good and Sarah Osborne are examined in the meeting house in Salem Village by Magistrates John Hathorne and Jonathan Corwin. Only Tituba confesses.
Abigail Williams accuses Rebecca Nurse of witchcraft.
Rebecca Nurse is examined before Magistrates John Hathorne and Jonathan Corwin.
Elizabeth Proctor and Sarah Cloyce (Rebecca Nurse’s sister) are examined in Salem Town. John Proctor is accused and later imprisoned.
Rev. George Burroughs is arrested in Wells, Maine.
Sarah Osborne dies in prison in Boston.
Increase Mather returns from England with a new charter and a new governor, Sir William Phips.
The Court of Oyer and Terminer is established to try witchcraft cases. Its members are: Lieutenant Governor William Stoughton, Nathaniel Saltonstall, Bartholomew Gedney, Peter Sergeant, Samuel Sewall, Wait Still Winthrop, John Richards, John Hathorne, and Jonathan Corwin. Sometime after June 2 Nathaniel Saltonstall resigns from the court, dissatisfied with its proceedings.
Bridget Bishop is tried and condemned at the first sitting of the court in Salem.
Bridget Bishop is executed on Gallows Hill in Salem.
Twelve ministers of the colony advise the court not to rely entirely on spectral evidence to obtain convictions.
Rebecca Nurse, Susannah Martin, Elizabeth Howe, Sarah Good, and Sarah Wildes are executed on Gallows Hill. Sarah Good tells Rev. Noyes that if she is hanged he will have blood to drink. Tradition says that twenty-five years later, Noyes died of a hemorrhage of the throat.
George Jacobs, Martha Carrier, George Burroughs, John Proctor and John Willard are hanged. Although George Burroughs recited the Lord’s Prayer perfectly on the gallows, Cotton Mather insisted that, “…the Devil has often been transformed into an Angel of Light.”
Giles Corey is pressed to death for refusing to stand trial.
Martha Corey, Margaret Scott, Mary Easty (sister of Rebecca Nurse and Sarah Cloyce), Alice Parker, Ann Pudeator, Wilmott Redd, Samuel Wardwell, and Mary Parker are hanged on Gallows Hill.
Increase Mather addresses a meeting of ministers in Cambridge to warn against reliance on spectral evidence. “It were better that ten suspected witches should escape than one innocent person should be condemned…”
Gov. Phips dissolves the Court of Oyer and Terminer.
A Superior Court tries to the remaining witchcraft cases.
The new Superior Court condemns three of the fifty-six persons accused of witchcraft. Chief Justice Stoughton signs death warrants for those three and for five others condemned in 1692.
William Stoughton leaves the court after Gov. Phips reprieves the eight Stoughton had condemned.
Governor Phips pardons those still imprisoned on the charge of witchcraft.
Witchcraft is no longer an actionable legal offense in Massachusetts Bay Colony
Twelve of the jurors of the Court of Oyer and Terminer sign a statement of contrition.
Joseph Green, the new minister of Salem Village, tries to bring peace and reconciliation to his parishioners by seating the families of the accusers and accused together in his church.
January 13, 1697
A day of “prayer with fasting” is observed to ask God to “…pardon all the errors of His Servants.” Judge Samuel Sewall declares his feelings of “blame and shame” and asks God to pardon his sins.
Samuel Parris resigns from the ministry of Salem Village and moves to Boston.
The General Court declares the witchcraft procedure, especially the use of spectral evidence, to be unlawful.
Ann Putnam stands in church while Rev. Joseph Green reads her statement repenting her role in the witchcraft trials.
Twenty-one survivors and their families petition the court for redress of the loss of their civil rights and property.
The General Court reverses the attainders (loss of civil rights) of those victims whose survivors had so petitioned. Gov. Dudley never signs the petition.
Supervised by Stephen Sewall, five hundred seventy-eight English pounds are distributed to the survivors and families. Amounts of restitution vary.
The Province of Massachusetts Bay becomes one of the few governments ever to voluntarily compensate persons who had been victimized by its own policies.
August 28, 1957
A General Court Resolve in favor of “Ann Pudeator and certain others” absolves their descendants of their burden of guilt and shame. The Resolve states that the accused may have been tried illegally.
October 31, 2001
Governor Jane M. Swift of Massachusetts amends the 1957 resolve to include Ann Pudeator, Bridget Bishop, Susannah Martin, Alice Parker, and Wilmott Redd.
Visitors whose ancestors were involved in the Salem witch trials often ask us to point their investigations in the right direction. There are online ancestry resources, document transcripts and historic narratives that can provide clues and details of their families’ lives.
Research uncovers so many captivating human stories. In this case Peter helps a descendent of Sarah Basset:
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
By Peter Murphy
Sarah Hood Bassett was born in August of 1657 in Lynn, Essex County, Massachusetts to Richard Hood and Mary Newhall. In her eighteenth year, on October 25, 1675 she married William Bassett, Jr., who was the brother of Elizabeth Bassett Proctor, wife of John Proctor. Both John and Elizabeth Proctor were accused and tried for witchcraft; John was hanged on August 19th, 1692, whereas Elizabeth escaped persecution due to her pregnancy. Their daughter, Sarah Proctor, was also accused of witchcraft at age 16 on the same day as her aunt Sarah Bassett. Thomas Putnam and John Putnam, Jr. issued this complaint on May 21, 1692, exactly one month after the examination of Mary Warren (John and Elizabeth Proctor’s hired girl) who claimed Elizabeth Proctor administered an ointment to her which she received from “Mrs. Bassits of Linn.”
Only two days after the Putnam’s complaint against Sarah Basset she was brought to jail in Boston on May 23, 1692, where she remained until her release on December 3, 1692. One month after her release another indictment was issued for afflicting Mary Walcott, but was returned “ignoramus,” meaning the charges were ignored due to lack of evidence.
Not long after the ordeal was over, Sarah gave birth to a daughter whom she named Deliverance as an ode to her freedom. Sarah Bassett died at age 64 in 1721.
While no burial record exists, I have theorized that she may be buried in the Western Burial Ground in Lynn, Massachusetts. This was the only operational burial ground in the town at the time of her death with the exception of a Lynnfield burial ground opened in 1720, but where the oldest inscription dates only back to 1723. Further evidence that may lend itself to my hypothesis is the fact that Lynn’s Western Burial Ground contains 19th Century graves sporting Sarah’s married name – Bassett – and her mother’s maiden name – Newhall.
Ancestry.com Connection between Proctor and Nurse Families
New England Historic Genealogical Society Hunting for Salem “Witches” in Your Family Tree
Records of the Salem Witch Hunt , Bernard Rosenthal General Editor
The Salem Witch Trials: A Day-By-Day Chronicle of a Community Under Siege, Marilynne K. Roach
We have the privilege of working closely with historian Marilynne Roach on many projects. She answers nuanced questions about the Salem witch trials, helping our staff interpret the underpinnings of the events, and is a perpetual inspiration in understanding what can be learned from Essex County’s 1692 experience.
If you don’t yet own a copy of The Salem Witch Trials: A Day-By-Day Chronicle of a Community Under Siege, now is your chance to get one of 20 remaining signed copies of the book.
In our shop or online, while supplies last!