There was definitely more than one emotional experience for my husband and I in Salem. I think that visiting the Witch Trials Memorial was at the top of our list though. Visiting there is truly a unique experience. We felt as if we’d been transported back in time . . . back, and then back further . . . all the way back to the year 1692. When, not long after the hangings, all of the jurors signed affidavits attesting to the fact that all twenty individuals who had been executed for the crime of witchcraft had been innocent.
In honor of those whose lives had been so unjustly taken, the memorial contains several stone benches; each bench has etched in it, the name of one of the individuals who were hanged. In some of the stone sidewalk pieces are etched the last words of many of the victims. Yes, it is indeed an emotional experience as well as a very important piece of history of the United States.
. . . and these are but a few.
ACCUSED OF WITCH CRAFT
Salem Witch Trials
BRADBURY, Mary Perkins
She was tried for witchcraft in Salisbury, MA; convicted, but not executed. The papers pertaining to the case show the high estimation in which she was held.
Think there are no women accused of witchcraft in modern times? Think again. Helen was a simple woman supporting her disabled husband and her 6 children by working full time in a bleach factory and part time as a Spiritualist Medium. Her messages during the Second World War became so accurate that she was arrested and tried as a ‘witch’ for fear she would reveal the truth about D-Day plans, the Enigma Machine and much more.
GARLICK, Elizabeth Blanchard
As “Goodwife Garlick”, Elizabeth was accused of bewitching a woman and causing the death of her child while residing in East Hampton, Long Island. She was, fortunately, acquitted.
GREENSMITH, Rebecca Elson Mudge
Not all “witches” were from Salem, MA. Many were accused and executed in Connecticut and both Rebecca and her husband, Nathaniel Greensmith were hanged in Hartford in 1662.
HOWE, Elizabeth Jackson
One of the women accused and hanged at Salem’s famous witch trials. Some of the testimony against Elizabeth is found here.
KNAPP, Elizabeth Warren
Sixteen-year-old Elizabeth was a servant in the house of Rev. Samuel Willard when she became “possessed” in 1671. Rev. Willard left a detailed account of the case.
MARTIN, Susanna North
Accused of witchcraft, Susanna was one of the twenty women and men executed during the hysteria that gripped Salem, MA in 1692.
MARTIN, Susanna North
Another page devoted to Susanna.
NURSE, Rebecca Towne
Rebecca, probably the most famous of the Salem “witches”, was one of three sisters accused and imprisoned for withcraft. One of her sisters, Sarah survived. Rebecca and her sister Mary were hanged.
Long before Salem, there were the “Pendle Witches” of Lancashire, England. Alice was one of the seven “witches” executed August 20, 1612. Her crime was bewitching a man to death.
PARSONS, Mary Bliss
A Springfield, Massachusetts woman and wife of a prominent citizen, Mary went to court twice – once as the plaintiff against a woman who had accused her of witchcraft, and secondly as a defendant when she was again accused of witchcraft.
PUTNAM, Ann Carr
Her daughter, Ann Jr. started the Salem witchcraft hysteria. Ann Putnam Jr.’s testimony is here.
In 1664 in the town of Lindheim, Germany, Martha Schuler was arrested, imprisoned, tortured and eventually burned for witchcraft. Her husband, arrested with her, was able to escape.
Having a magistrate for a husband did not prevent Sarah from being tried, convicted and executed as one of the Salem witches.
Here is another biography of Sarah Wild written by another descendant of hers, revealing more of Salem’s dark history.
WILSON, Sarah Lord
One of the women in Andover, MA who was victimized by the Salem witch hysteria, Sarah and her daughter, Sarah, Jr. were both arrested, imprisoned and forced to “confess” to witchcraft.
DECLARATION OF REGRET – SALEM JURORS
“We whose names are underwritten, being in the year 1692 called to serve as jurors in court at Salem, on trial of many who were by some suspected guilty of doing acts of witchcraft upon the bodies of sundry persons, we confess that we ourselves were not capable to understand, nor able to withstand, the mysterious delusions of the powers of darkness and Prince of the air, but were, for want of knowledge in ourselves and better information from others, prevailed with to take with such evidence against the accused, as, on further consideration and better information, we justly fear was insufficient for the touching the lives of any (Deut. xvii) whereby we fear we have been instrumental, with others, though ignorantly and unwittingly, to bring upon ourselves and this people of the Lord the guilt of innocent blood; which sin the Lord saith in Scripture he would not pardon (2 Kings xxiv.4) – that is, we suppose, in regard to his temporal judgments. We do therefore hereby signify to all in general, and to the surviving sufferers in special, our deep sense of, and sorrow for, our errors in acting on such evidence to the condemning of any person; and do hereby declare, that we justly fear that we were sadly deluded and mistaken – for which we are much disquieted and distressed in our minds, and do therefore humbly beg forgiveness, first of God, for Christ’s sake, for this our error, and pray that God would impute the guilt of it to ourselves nor others, and we also pray that we may be considered candidly and aright by the living sufferers, as being then under a strong and general delusion, utterly unacquainted with, and not experienced in, matters of that nature.
We do hereby ask forgiveness of you all, whom we have justly offended, and do declare, according to our present minds, we would none of us do such things again, on such grounds, for the whole world – praying you to accept of this in way of satisfaction for our offense, and that you would bless the inheritance of the Lord, that he may be entreated for the land.”
Thomas Fisk, Foreman
Joseph Evelith Thomas Pearly, Sr.
Henry Herrick, Sr.
– EPILOGUE –
I truly do not believe that the importance can be overstated of every American understanding the relentless power of mass hysteria – of the insanity it can trigger and the horrors it has the power to inflict upon innocent people. It is my deepest and most sincere hope that no atrocity such as this will ever be repeated.