Echoes of the Witch with Margaux Crump and Jake Eshelman – Thou Shalt Not Suffer: The Witch Trial Podcast
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Echos of the Witch is a photographic documentary project by Margaux Crump and Jake Eshelman exploring American witch executions in the context of cultural memory, power and the land. Operating on the premise that places hold memory and that cultural memory can be deeply rooted, hear from the artists in this reflective episode on how their project captures the land and the people of these historical witch trial sites whether the memories of these persecutions have been honored, altered, hidden, perverted, or neglected. This discussion communicates End Witch Hunts’ message: Why do we witch hunt? How do we witch hunt? How do we stop hunting witches?
[00:00:00] [00:00:20] Josh Hutchinson: Welcome to Thou Shalt Not Suffer: The Witch Trial Podcast. I'm Josh Hutchinson. [00:00:25] Sarah Jack: And I'm Sarah Jack. [00:00:27] Josh Hutchinson: In this episode, we speak with two photographers who have been touring the United States photographing witch trial execution sites. [00:00:37] Sarah Jack: Margaux Crump and Jake Eshelman have captured images relevant to the trials and executions of 54 individuals across the country. [00:00:45] Josh Hutchinson: We discuss what they've captured and what they've learned along the way. [00:00:49] Sarah Jack: We had a deep conversation about photography, witch hunts, and humanity. [00:00:54] Josh Hutchinson: Sit tight for some impactful dialogue. [00:00:57] Sarah Jack: Margaux Crump and Jake Eshelman are artists and visual researchers. Their project Echoes of the Witch explores cultural memory, power, and the land as they manifest through American witch executions, and it is viewable online at echoesofthewitch.com. [00:01:14] Josh Hutchinson: Can you explain for us what Echoes of the Witch is? [00:01:19] Jake Eshelman: Echoes of the Witch is a photographic documentary project that explores cultural memory, power, and the land as they manifest through American witch executions. So really it operates on the premise that land holds memory and what we choose to remember says a lot about what it is that we value. [00:01:39] So over the course of the last, oh, I guess it's almost four years now, Margaux and I have been traveling across present-day America to document all locations where our records indicate that 54 individuals were accused of witchcraft and executed by the state. So we're looking really at how the land and the people in these sites have honored, held, altered, hidden, perverted, or neglected the memories of these histories and really just trying to tap into really the fact that these histories are still unfolding in a lot of interesting ways in these locations. [00:02:12] Sarah Jack: Who is the project for? [00:02:14] Margaux Crump: I think that the primary mechanism I see happening in a lot of the witch accusations is othering of people who are somehow different, somehow a burden, and that still goes on in many different forms. And I think that these histories, like Jake said earlier, are still playing out in a lot of ways, and as a result, just looking at how we treat people who are different than us, I think that makes this work applicable to everyone here. [00:02:44] Jake Eshelman: The reason it is a website is because we wanted everyone to have access to this history and access to at least some of the images from this site. We have some other aspirations for this project, in addition to, but it was really important to create essentially like an online accessible archive for anyone to be able to visit, to understand what we know, to explore some of the resources that we were able to find. And in that way, like, it's not just for someone to look at, but it's for someone to really explore and dive into, no matter who you are, where you are. [00:03:12] And the other thing that I think is worth pointing out is that when we listed the names and locations of the people that we have records for of being accused and executed by the state, we also have an allusion to others yet unknown. And I think that this project also speaks to the reality that not all of these stories and not all of these histories have been documented, that there are still to this day instances of persecution that go undocumented and unrecognized. So I think that, even historically, looking through and acknowledging that there very well may be other instances that we just don't know about and people whose stories haven't been honored or told. [00:03:55] Josh Hutchinson: Yeah, that's so true. We're hoping that out of all these different projects looking at witch trials, some more research will happen and more records will show up, because we want to know everyone this happened to. [00:04:11] And what are the echoes of the witch? [00:04:14] Margaux Crump: I think of them like a palimpsest, which would be when you have an old manuscript, they used to scrape the pages down to reuse the velum that they would paint and write on. And over time the old writing would start to raise up and come through the new writing. And to me, the echoes are these places in the landscape where the past is starting to rise up and come up through the surfaces of what's there now. Or it could even be like a strange bush or a strange tree. There's just something a little uncanny or something you pick up on in the landscape, as well. Yeah. Traces. [00:04:51] Jake Eshelman: Yeah, it could even be something as intangible as a feeling, like a chill or a presence or it's hard to put a finger on, and I think that's part of the interesting aspect of this project, at least for me is as a visual researcher is how do you visualize these very intangible things? Like how do you photograph the idea of absence? [00:05:10] So, for example, if you're going to a location where records indicate that this was a hanging site, and there's no sort of memorialization there, it's just a gas station next to a railroad track, what, it's really interesting to have the context of this project, knowing this history and then being confronted with an image like that, because it just doesn't match up with our traditional understanding of memory-making and memory-keeping. [00:05:33] Sarah Jack: What drew you to this project? [00:05:36] Margaux Crump: When I was in grad school, I was doing a lot of women and gender studies. That's what we called it at the time. And I picked up a Sylvia Federici book. She theorizes how the European witch hunts, why they may have began, and I just, I got so sucked in. It was like I couldn't look away at all. And I started to wonder about, I've always felt like the land speaks, and I started to wonder about the places here where we've had similar history, similar but different. And I just felt a call, "we have to go find them." And we did. We started researching, and that's how it happened. But yeah, it was through graduate research. [00:06:24] Jake Eshelman: And of course Margaux and I are pretty much a package deal, so when she got interested, I got interested, and it just unfolded from there. [00:06:31] Josh Hutchinson: And you had worked on projects together before? [00:06:35] Jake Eshelman: Officially, this is our first above board collaboration. [00:06:40] Margaux Crump: We're always helping each other. [00:06:42] Jake Eshelman: We're like silent partners behind the scenes, in each other's practices, which is lovely and amazing, and it was interesting having this first opportunity to have really both of our names on the same project and to have, not like an equal stake, cuz we always do, but yeah, it was just a different sort of context in which to work together, which was, it was great. Very easy and intuitive. [00:07:04] Margaux Crump: It's funny because a lot of times people will be like, "who takes the pictures?" And I think that's so intriguing, because people are very attached to who clicks the camera. And when we're setting up these images, it's such a collaboration. We're both creating the composition. We're both sitting at the site. We look at the images together, and we readjust. It's definitely a collaborative effort, and yeah, it's funny to see how people read that through photo work. [00:07:34] Jake Eshelman: I'm also gonna launch into a diatribe, too, because, for me, photography isn't just about making images, it's also about knowing when an image is successful. It's selecting an image too, and that's just as much of the work, if not more than clicking an image. [00:07:46] Yeah, I think when people ask that question, it betrays a little bit about how maybe little they know about the process of making images, but, no shade. Just one of those things to bring into the fore, because, again, it's like this work is and has been so all encompassing, between finding the locations, meeting people, working with grassroots historians, tracking down the primary source documents, making the images, remaking the images. [00:08:11] We have certain shots that we've made probably at this point, maybe 20 different times. Cuz something wasn't quite right or something wasn't quite coming through, and, or maybe we have sites that have changed, and we go back, and it's just such an incredible transformation even in just a matter of two or three years. [00:08:29] And it's interesting, too, because in a lot of these locations where we've been to, we've seen this history come to the fore and unfold in ways. There have been locations where we go, and there's no sort of memory making, but in the last year or so, there's been success with people being able to set up plaques and set up memorials. And it's interesting to be able to have imaged in just a short amount of time how this memory is starting to seep into and demand a sort of collective consciousness beyond just a couple books and, and an archive somewhere. [00:09:00] Sarah Jack: That was really great, both of you. That was wonderful. And I'm really proud to say that question is not on our list. Who clicks? I was like, oh, phew. Thanks for sharing that depth to what you're doing. That was really important to capture, so thank you. How do you pick your locations and map them out? [00:09:20] Margaux Crump: That's where a lot of the primary source documents came in handy. In most cases, it's not specified where someone was executed. So it's a matter of knowing, okay, what time period was this? And then looking at maps of those places and seeing is there anything that suggests some sort of like a gallows, like even if it's just like a cartoon on a map. I saw that once for Connecticut, and that brought me to a certain river bend and a certain part of the city. [00:09:46] And it's okay, it might be like there. And then it's a matter of we go to the place and oftentimes we'll photograph a few different options, like a few different possibilities, but it could be like, I keep bringing up my favorite bush, but in one of the images there was just this bush that was near to the river, and I was like, that's it. I just know. It's that's the spot. Like, we need to photograph the bush. And so yeah, it's a educated guessing process through research and looking oftentimes at old maps would be a way to sum it up. [00:10:19] Jake Eshelman: I was just gonna say that another layer to that is I think it's really poignant to realize that in a lot of cases we don't actually know. We have options, we have suggestions, inklings and I say we collectively as in like history. And I think that says a lot about what we valued then, the records that we would keep and that we wouldn't keep, and a lot about essentially what we value now, as well. Because, if we don't dig up these histories, and we don't understand or try to map them out, then it's a sort of continual sense of neglect, in my book. At least that's one way to read it. I'm not trying to be didactic. I think that yeah, the fact that we can't, in some of these sites exactly pin down the locations of these executions, it's significant in a different sort of way. [00:11:05] And as two artists who are really interested in the research process, that was a kind of evolution of how we understood that this project is a little bit different for us, because we have to be comfortable, and we have to embrace the idea that sometimes in certain situations, again, we don't know. [00:11:21] How do you memorialize a history where someone was executed in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean? You can't go there, you can't visit it, you can't have any sort of exact coordinates. And that brings up a lot of intrigue for me in thinking about how you honor that story and that place, cuz you can't visit it. You can't put up a plaque there. So it's really interesting how ephemeral and ethereal a lot of these these images end up being, at least for me. [00:11:48] Margaux Crump: Yeah, with the boat executions, they were individuals who were coming over from, I believe England, and they were headed to Maryland and Virginia. [00:11:58] Jake Eshelman: Yes. [00:11:58] Margaux Crump: And so we, in those cases, we imaged the ocean from the locations where they were supposed to land their boat, where it actually came in. And so that's the best we could do. [00:12:09] Josh Hutchinson: I take it, Margaux, that your favorite location is the bush. Is that right? And Jake, do you have a favorite location, too? [00:12:18] Jake Eshelman: A favorite location. I don't. I think that piggybacking off of the conversation that we just had, though, I felt the most peaceful, and I think the most quiet and the most somber, with the Atlantic Ocean. And a lot of that is because that is in and of itself not really a location. It's this expanse, it's this seascape, it's the entire horizon, and you feel small, and you feel humble in the face of that. Looking at the Atlantic Ocean in context of this project, knowing the history that we were exploring, it was a very different way to interact with the sea that I've ever had before. So I think that personally that was the most, maybe the most lasting experience that I had in any of these locations. So I would have to say maybe that as a favorite in bunny ears. [00:13:12] Sarah Jack: As you've gone deeper into your project and moved from one location to the next, how have the previous locations affected your examination of the next? Is there a connection at all, or is it very independent? [00:13:27] Jake Eshelman: I think each place has its own flavor. [00:13:31] Margaux Crump: Yes. [00:13:32] Jake Eshelman: Yeah, it's, I immediately, when you asked that question, I went back to the locations that we were exploring around Boston and just remembering this incredible sense the entire time we were there that Boston just did not want us there. We were not welcome to explore the, this history there. [00:13:48] Margaux Crump: No one, to be clear, nobody said anything. It was just a feeling. [00:13:52] Jake Eshelman: It was just a feeling. Yeah. We had a lot of really strange, awful animal encounters. And it was just, it was a very bizarre way of making images. Whereas when you're in a place like when we were working with people in Stratford, Connecticut or Windsor, you're there with people who are on the ground and working to bring these histories to the fore, so it's much more social in that respect. So each location is very different. And I'm sure that there have been things that we picked up here and there that we've brought with us and has influenced the next experiences that we have in the next place. But it's hard to put a finger on that, for me at least. I don't know about you, Margaux. [00:14:30] Margaux Crump: Yeah, one of the early locations, we both talked a lot about our having to learn to work with something that we didn't find visually attractive, like a dumpster. [00:14:44] Jake Eshelman: Yes. [00:14:44] Margaux Crump: And so doing that a few times prepares you for the later sites for sure, because we're not talking about, for the most part, beautiful stone monuments or churches or anything like that. Sometimes you get literally a dumpster, and what do you do with that? And so that was definitely something that we learned from and worked with and built on. And it's still not something I'm super comfortable with, but I can accept it now pretty readily. [00:15:08] Jake Eshelman: And then when you do encounter things that are beautiful, you're just so relieved and excited and jazzed, or at least I am. Because I think for both of us, beauty is really important in our work broadly, in this project and also throughout our practices. So to be forced to let that go a little bit in lieu of, you know, photographing, sometimes what we photograph is really ugly, and I mean that in every sense of the word, right? And to have to bear witness and have that responsibility to face these places and to make these images, even though it's, oftentimes it's the last place I want to be, the last thing I wanna be looking at, but that's important too. [00:15:47] Josh Hutchinson: And on your website, we saw that you list the victims. Have you been able to visit locations associated with all the victims? [00:15:57] Jake Eshelman: Yes. [00:15:59] We've been doing this project since 2019, and I should probably sit down and add up the amount of miles that we've traveled cumulatively by car and plane and walking and all that sort of stuff. I think it'd be really amazing. But yeah, this has been very much a labor that's been carrying us through essentially these last four years. It's been very involved. [00:16:20] Sarah Jack: Is there anything that you would wanna speak to that's been surprising? The experience, what you're finding, what you've learned working together, anything like that? [00:16:31] Margaux Crump: I was surprised. I did not expect when we started this that we would make so many lasting connections with people. I didn't expect that. I imagined this would be a lonely, little journey and something that we were just two crazy people working on their own. The community surprised me. The community that's still growing and forming and yeah, it's really beautiful, and I'm moved by it all the time. And also how helpful people are who research this for others who are trying to contribute, as well. That's been beautiful. [00:17:09] Jake Eshelman: I also had a surprise, and this is probably a bit more personal, and I hope this doesn't offend anybody, but when we were going to Salem, I was bracing myself, because I was concerned about the dark tourism, about T-shirts with different slogans and stuff on them, but just, didn't quite suit my taste, and I was worried that it would be a sort of memory making that was just across the board. [00:17:37] And what surprised me was there's actually a lot of incredible memory making in Salem. There is of course dark tourism there, no doubt about that. One of the things that just completely blew me away was we in the course of this work, ended up connecting with a theater company. I believe it's called History Alive Theater Company in Salem. [00:17:57] And what they do is they have this one production called Cry Innocent, where they base everything around the transcripts that they have available of the arraignment of Bridget Bishop, who is the first woman in Salem to be accused and executed for witchcraft, and through these productions, it's all interactive, such that the audience essentially serves as the jury, and they get to interrupt the production to ask questions, to cross examine people if they want. [00:18:24] And at the end, they end up voting as to whether Bridget is guilty enough to go on and actually stand trial, or if she's gonna be acquitted in this new history timeline that they're weaving. And it was really astounding to meet with a lot of the members of the theater company and with the director and to understand the devotion that they have for this history and for bringing it alive, hence the name. [00:18:47] And the reactions that they've had from audience members, from everyday people, and even just some of the things that the actors and actresses have shared with us about the experience of being involved in this production. It was really moving for me to be able to see these productions and talk with them and to photograph the whole process around it. [00:19:05] And it's been one of those things that gives me a lot of hope for histories like this or like these, that there are people out there who can take something that is awful and reimagine it and re-envision it in a way that makes it relevant and immediate to our current situation, our current culture and draw those parallels and encourage people to think about these things in their everyday life. [00:19:27] I think a shared goal that we have for this project is trying to get people to see, oh these people were executed in the 1600s and 1700s, but we still today persecute people. There's still othering happening, there's still oppression and suppression, and I really we're not over this by now? We're not done with it? And I think that anything we can do to help encourage people to think about this history, not as something that's in the past, but something that we need to address now and moving forward I think is, I think it's really important. [00:19:59] Josh Hutchinson: I agree. That's so critical to get people realizing witch-hunt behaviors have been passed on from our ancestors. We're not different people than they were, and maybe it's different times and different technology, but, underlying, it's the same humans. [00:20:19] Jake Eshelman: Yeah, I think so. [00:20:22] Josh Hutchinson: And we've been fortunate through the podcast to be able to connect with playwrights, actresses, writers, a ballet company that are all doing these performances and artwork. To bring up just that point, that Cry Innocent tries to make that you mentioned, just to get people thinking. And the arts, I find is a really good way to hit people and get them thinking about things. [00:20:56] Margaux Crump: I agree. [00:20:57] Jake Eshelman: I've been doing a lot of thinking about the value of artistic research, the methods that we use, and the things that are possible through these approaches. And I keep on going back to there was a report that someone issued one of the COP summits, I think it was 2022. And their report essentially said that artistic research is really valid, because it can access spaces, it can access people, it can build communities in ways that traditional ethnography can't, and those approaches, they produce different kind of insights and different kind of data, right? [00:21:33] And that's worth supporting, and that's worth pursuing, because really at the end of the day, like you said, the humanities are a big part of how we see and understand our world, right? The stories that we tell and that we reimagine, and I think that's super valuable to really give people the context to look at their lives and look at their surroundings in a different way. [00:21:58] Sarah Jack: That's really good. In the light of the things that we've been discussing here and all the layers, can you explain or speak to the first piece, cultural memory, and then I have, we have it broken down to cultural memory, power, land. Speak to it as you are interested to. [00:22:18] Jake Eshelman: Cultural memories. The way that I interpret that is we have these ideas that get passed down, right? And even things that are apocryphal that aren't necessarily true that we take for face value and that we incorporate into our lives, into our outlook. And I think that with the history of witch persecutions and witch hunts and things like that, those are deeply ingrained into how, at least we, Margaux and I, in the culture that we grew up in, see the world. And I think that you mentioned breaking down cultural memory and power, but I think that there's a lot of power structures innate in the cultural memory, right? [00:22:54] It's things that we choose to remember, right? It's things that we choose to forget and suppress. And when you take that sort of lens and apply it to a history like the history of witch persecutions, it becomes really interesting to see, okay what do we conveniently forget about? What do we conveniently not document? What do we conveniently not talk about even? And what can we interpret from those sorts of omissions or those sorts of master narratives that go above and beyond those sort of quiet moments? And I think that really for me this project is a way to probe the sort of cultural memory-making though that we have as just broadly as a culture and to see, okay, is this serving us? Is this honoring these histories, or is there another sort of impact or motive, or is something else unfolding from this that maybe we could revisit and learn something from? [00:23:50] Margaux Crump: I also think part of cultural memory is how we hold the archetype of the witch in oftentimes popular culture. And like why, what is it about a lone older woman, for instance, living at the edge of a wood that is inherently fearful, is inherently dangerous somehow? Why do we believe that? And or another aspect of it is like the seductive witch, the seductive woman, and the danger in that, and certainly not all the people accused are women. I'd like to be very clear about that. [00:24:27] But I think that archetype of what is a person with power who's somehow at the edge of society, that's a powerful thing to ask ourselves. Do we still find that we're wary of those sorts of characters? Why is it that they still have such a hold in our imagination? Why are there still so many movies and books that capitalize on that archetype? And yeah, it's a very deeply rooted part of many of us. [00:24:58] Josh Hutchinson: And in the context of the project, what does power mean? How does that play in? [00:25:06] Jake Eshelman: The first word that came to my head was obfuscation. And I think that where that's coming from is a sense that we have, these histories exist, right? And yet we don't talk about 'em. We don't learn about them. And to me it seems like that is a sort of power play, right? That you have lineages of people who have been in control, who have presided over witch persecutions, who really don't want that to come out. [00:25:40] And the reason I bring that up is even just thinking back to some of our experiences in those, these locations without of course like naming any names, there have been instances where there people who are doing this research may descend from people who have been executed. They may descend from people who were accusers or who presided over things. And in some of the attempts to memorialize some of these histories, some of the descendants of families whose last names happened to be listed as accusers were not thrilled about having their last names included on these plaques. So they were removed and edited. And that's one of those sort of situations where it's okay, yes, these histories in the past, but also they're very clearly still alive, right? [00:26:31] 300 years in the scheme of things, if your family has lived there for generations, it's not all that far away. So I think that there are these lingering moments where you do have these expressions of power, whether it is through like editing or redaction or just plain, downright omission. [00:26:48] But as Margaux said, you also have these really interesting understands that power being attributed to the archetype of the witch, right? So when we think about the history, if someone was accused of practicing witchcraft, they were in a sense rendered powerless, right? Because no one would believe them. They were already probably already othered. Then they were ostracized and executed, right? They got gone. And now it's been interesting because in a lot of contemporary and pop culture, when you think about the witch archetype, a lot of people are interested in it, because it offers a symbol of subversive power, right? [00:27:27] People will adopt the sort of archetype. And I'm saying this, very generally, I'm not, pointing to any specifics, but there is a tendency, I think, that at least exists where people can adopt the persona of a witch as a way to empower themselves, right? And it's a really interesting shift between the history of people who were powerless and the contemporary experience of people who are looking to that history or even projecting onto that history to get a sense of power surrounding the witch archetype. [00:27:58] Margaux Crump: I should say another thing that I didn't expect to find as playing a part of power in the project with shame and the power of shame. And that ties back to what Jake was mentioning about what is edited out, what is hidden, what we try to forget. And a big part of that I think is shame, but we don't wanna look at anymore, we don't want to face. And shame can really control a person and a culture. So that's definitely part, I think, of the power in the project. [00:28:26] Sarah Jack: I was just thinking about Bridget Bishop, she just had this tribute, and she definitely, there's one image of her that she's known through, the seduction. Some of that, there was testimony suggesting, but then we also know about her struggles in her personal history in life, and that kind of gets hidden. That story is hidden there, but then some of that could be even considered shameful. It's it's all very complex, but I like that we can break apart all these different ways of looking at these individuals, and I hope that when we consider these different aspects of how we look at them, that we learn from it. [00:29:14] Was there anything interesting from the tribute this past weekend? [00:29:19] Margaux Crump: Was beautiful. They did a beautiful job. [00:29:22] Jake Eshelman: It was very well done, very respectful, very moving. Yeah, it was, at least for me, I had a hard time with realizing that, okay, this is a one-time only event, I need to make these images, because I wanted to keep on stopping and just put the camera down and participate, cause it was just everything that they were saying and sharing, and the way they went about that memorial or memorialization was, it was very moving. [00:29:47] Margaux Crump: Even down to the flowers that were brought, everything is very symbolic. A lot of herbs, little bundles were tied and placed. [00:29:55] Jake Eshelman: From gardens. [00:29:56] Margaux Crump: Everybody received recognition that day, and there was song, beautiful songs were sung and yeah very respectful and somber. [00:30:06] Jake Eshelman: Yeah. And I was really pleased to that both the number of people who were there, that's not a, like the audience, but the people who wanted to be a part of this. And their participation, as well, because they brought a lot of flowers that everyone was welcome to take and place. And that was really interesting to watch how that unfolded and the way that people would linger on specific stones or near specific names and what those interactions were like. Yeah, it was really interesting to be a part of it and to be able to witness it. [00:30:35] Josh Hutchinson: Yeah, her story has touched so many people. It's good to honor her and pay your respects. I'm so glad that happened. [00:30:46] Margaux Crump: Yeah, me too. I think a lot of her being alone when she died, where everybody else was in a group. Everyone in Salem was in a group except for Bridget. And yeah, she really, there's something about her that just really pulls at the heartstrings and so many people do feel very connected to her story. [00:31:08] Sarah Jack: Do you guys wanna speak more to the land? [00:31:11] Margaux Crump: I think of the land very much as an active participant in our project. Like we really work to listen to the land when we're in a location and to let it guide us. And oftentimes we talk about them as portraits of the land. Like the land is a being, it's alive, and it speaks in very different ways. And sometimes it's symbolic and what it reveals and conceals is always changing. And that's, I think what has kept us at this project for so long is that it's still shifting so much in terms of what a land is showing. So I think that's, for me, a very important part is recognizing that in our worldview, the land truly is a collaborator. And we couldn't do it, we couldn't do this at all without the land. [00:31:59] Jake Eshelman: Yeah, there have been really interesting moments throughout the course of this project where the land takes a front seat in this work. And I'm thinking that there in Stratford, there's a an ice cream shop called Goody, Bassett's Ice Cream Shop, and it was named after one of the women who in that community was tried and executed for witchcraft. And we were talking with the owner about the history and just about his ice cream parlor and everything, and it was interesting, because he got the lease on the building, he opened up his ice cream shop, and he found out later that the remnants from the gallows brook, or at least this is the thought, that it runs directly beneath his ice cream parlor and now it's essentially a drainage ditch out back. And it's this interesting moment, for me at least, where you have this history, you have this memory making, and then like brooks, they shift and they move. And this one was essentially covered when they installed the train tracks, but somehow the remnants ended up going of all places right underneath. And it's, I think a lot of people could look at that and not know what to make of it. I count myself as one of those people, but it's also just very interesting, and it's very fun to see how the sort of agency of the land can pop up and influence this project and be a part of this history as it evolves. [00:33:24] Josh Hutchinson: Yeah, I just wanna say we got to eat Goody Bassett's ice cream a few weeks ago at the Goody Bassett Ball, and I approve. [00:33:37] Sarah Jack: I met the owner picking up my scoop, and I let him know that I worked at an ice cream shop for years and I knew how hard he was working. I was like watching and I'm like, I think that's the owner. So when I got up through the line, I'm like, is this your business? [00:33:51] Jake Eshelman: Such a small [00:33:52] Sarah Jack: world. [00:33:52] Josh Hutchinson: On a more serious note, you started your project shortly before the pandemic hit. How did that impact you? [00:34:03] Margaux Crump: Oh man. Everything came to a standstill. Yeah, we didn't travel for the project, and all of the leads we had on a possible publication, everything just went silent. And basically, once the worst of the pandemic lifted, and we felt like it was time to revisit the project, it was almost. Frankly, we went to every single site again. We just did it again, because it had been so long in between, and the break, I just felt like we lost so much momentum. [00:34:41] Jake Eshelman: We did. And I think the break also, though, the silver lining was that it gave us a lot of time to think and to sit with these images, right? And to sit with the work that we'd done and to have clarity about the images that we needed to make about the stones that we're still yet to, for us to flip over. So on one hand it was a big pause, but on another hand, I think it was a supercharging of this project because we realized that there was, there's so much more that we needed to do to really flesh out this project in the way that it wanted to be in the world. [00:35:17] Margaux Crump: And it's still not done. We're close. [00:35:19] Jake Eshelman: We're still not done. I know. [00:35:21] Sarah Jack: So I was gonna be asking how will you know when it's time to wrap up the project, but it sounds like it's going to tell you. [00:35:30] Margaux Crump: It definitely tells us. Yes, absolutely. [00:35:33] And it's when they stop nagging me. It's if an image doesn't feel right, it just like pokes and pokes and pokes at me. And I can't let it go. I just know, I know it's not done. And so once they all get quiet, it's once they start resting, once everything just get rests, then it, I think it'll feel complete. But there are still like little images raising their hands and saying me, me, me, I'm not done. Oh, yeah. [00:36:02] Sarah Jack: That's so interesting that you used the word rest. I don't know if you know that my Twitter handle is @restingwitches. [00:36:08] Margaux Crump: No, I, I did not. [00:36:10] Jake Eshelman: Neither of us are on Twitter. [00:36:12] Sarah Jack: I'm on there quite a bit. Before I got into these bigger projects with the Exoneration Project and the podcast, that was one of the places that I started rooting around, seeing who's talking about the accused, what are they saying, what sources can I find, what places, like all those answers I was digging around on there, and I had at that I don't remember if I realized about my third accused ancestor at that time, but Rebecca Nurse and Mary Esty meant a lot to me then. And I just felt they're resting, but this history is not. [00:36:48] Jake Eshelman: I love that. [00:36:50] Margaux Crump: Yeah. Yeah, and it's been interesting, kind of riffing on that, what sites feel like they're resting and which ones don't. And you never know what to expect when you get to a place. But there definitely have been some where I've sat back like, wow, it's quiet here. And there are others where it's just boisterous and loud and things are moving and yeah, it's definitely not all resting yet. [00:37:17] Josh Hutchinson: We've touched on this in some of the questions, but what are you saying through the project? [00:37:24] Jake Eshelman: Well, I'm saying, look. Yeah, look, look at this. And I say that with a giggle, but I'm also very serious about it. I think that there's great responsibility in acknowledging and respecting history, right? And especially when it's a history that is still pervasive in our everyday cosmologies. [00:37:46] So my goal is that when we look, my goal at least, and I'll of course let Margaux speak for herself, but when people look at these images, I want them to see this sense of absence, the absence of memory-making or the beauty of memory-making, like what I was saying with History Alive in Salem. [00:38:06] And to really just sit with that and spend time and think about, critically, why did we do this to one another? Why have we done this to one another? Do we have to continue doing this or can we rewrite a new story or for us, for our culture, for our individual relationships? And if so, what's possible when we don't spend our time essentially attacking one another for stupid shit? God, I can't take me anywhere. All right, Margaux, you take over and be more eloquent. [00:38:36] Margaux Crump: Jake did a beautiful job covering some very important things that we're saying, and to add to that, one of the things that I know I am working to say with Echoes of the Witch, that archetypes are very powerful, and the archetype of the witch is a very powerful figure. And that archetype is far more complex than we often let it be. And I'm a big believer in blurred lines and complexity and of breaching boundaries here and there. And I would love to bring more complexity and ambiguity to that archetype to be a part of that, because it's not going away at all. And it's beautiful in many ways. And I love how it's changing and transforming. [00:39:29] But I want to keep into our memory, how in the past it was a very different thing. It was not a deeply empowered figure and allowing that to still infuse into what we today think of as the witch, because part of the witch's power is that they overcome. They're resilient and they're constantly transforming themselves. And I think that mirrors in how so many of these sites have transformed over time. [00:40:01] I think another thing is the power of transformation and that we're all capable of change, and we're capable of transforming our culture and our values. [00:40:09] Sarah Jack: And are you already seeing the project transform people you've met? What are you seeing them take away from your work already? [00:40:18] Jake Eshelman: When I've shared this work with people, they tend to be surprised that there were so many here in the U.S., present-day U.S, whereas I was surprised that we only had records for 54. I thought there would be a lot more. So it's interesting just to compare where people are when they come to this project. [00:40:42] And I also get a lot of questions about there's so much emptiness in a lot of these images, and I'm grateful because people pick up on the fact that in a lot of places there is no sort of memorialization. That this is a history that is largely, you know, uncovered, undiscussed. And I think that watching that realization on people, on their faces when they spend time with this project and it sinks in, that's a moment where I feel like this has legs and that this is successful. Because you can see the wheels turning. You can see people go, "oh God, wow. This is, it's a dumpster." and it's just, it's a really interesting process to watch people take it in and really just sit with it. [00:41:32] Margaux Crump: The people who have reached out, who are descendants, who don't have access to the place where their ancestor passed, I didn't know whether that would happen or not, whether to expect anyone to reach out, and seeing and witnessing how much it matters to them to be able to point to a specific spot. It might not even necessarily be the exact spot, but at least it's within reasonable doubt, the spot. And that somehow is bringing them, I'm not going to say closure. I don't have a word. I don't have a word for that, but there's something about it that's of value. And I don't know whether I could say that. [00:42:14] Sarah Jack: A connection. It helps them connect. [00:42:16] Margaux Crump: Connection. It absolutely helps them connect to their own mind and their history. Yeah I don't, I'm not gonna say that's transformed anyone cuz, I can't speak to that for those people. But it certainly has transformed me, and I also, it really resonates with me when people who are present-day practicing witches find the project meaningful. Because it's work that needs to be done, and they feel into that, the importance of being able to feel safe in the world, because for a long time they could not be so open with their beliefs and their practices, and for them it's important work, as well. [00:43:01] Josh Hutchinson: We're very into memorialization, and I'm so glad that you've been working on this project, because it is, in lieu of plaques and statues and things like that, this really is a great memorial to the victims. So I thank you for doing this. [00:43:25] Jake Eshelman: Thanks for saying so. [00:43:26] Josh Hutchinson: And you mentioned there were there are 54 victims, and that brings to mind one of the things I really love about the project, which is that you cover the whole United States. It's not the New England Echoes of the Witch or the New England plus Virginia and Maryland. You're covering New Mexico, and a lot, so many people don't know that there were witch trials right here in the southwest. [00:43:56] Jake Eshelman: We were surprised to learn that, too. [00:43:57] Margaux Crump: And I'm from Texas. You would think I would've maybe gotten an inkling of that, but no, we did not discuss that in school. Yeah. That's something that has surprised people with the project. I have yet to meet someone who knew about the New Mexico accusations. [00:44:14] Josh Hutchinson: I only learned about them after we started this project myself, just researching, what other witch trials might there have been in the US and came across, Abiquiú, New Mexico and I really want to go there. What were your impressions of that location? [00:44:36] Margaux Crump: It's very Georgia O'Keeffe focused, if I'm gonna be honest. [00:44:43] Most of the work that we did there was in Santa Fe rather than Abiquiú. We did visit Abiquiú. It's a little harder to get information for that area, and the Santa Fe location was very interesting, because the Governor's palace still stands where, cause in, in New Mexico, there weren't trials, per se, the way there were trials in New England. There were accusations, and the Spanish church was involved, and the people who passed in Santa Fe passed in prison. They weren't officially executed. Within our project, we counted people who were in prison and died. But the Governor's palace still stands, but the jail is missing, and the jail would be in the middle of the road to the best of anyone's guess. And there, if you go inside the palace, which is attached to, I believe, the History Museum. [00:45:35] There is a plaque, like a didactic, a large didactic on the wall that talks about the missing jail cell and has some handcuffs that they uncovered during archeological work, but there's no mention of the men who died there under those accusations. Yeah, it's a very different history than the New England trials and executions. It has its own distinct cultural moment. Yeah, it's, I'm still educating myself about all of that. [00:46:04] Sarah Jack: Thanks for speaking to that difference, because that's one of the things we've been learning when we're looking at the modern mobish attacks that are happening to women and children, how the different places, times, cultures, circumstances, beliefs really played into how they played out. And I think that helps, that is such a big part of bringing it all together and starting to recognize witch-hunt mentality, and that it's not just one thing. And Margaux, when you spoke to people feeling safe, being able to find a more safe feeling in their practices or for whatever reason they may have not felt safe before from this project. [00:46:55] I think that is a really amazing gift that you are giving. So thanks for bringing that up too. It's not totally connected, but I think about in South Africa one of our podcasts' guests, Damon Leff, who's been an advocate there. He has fought against the discrimination of pagans there, and there's that safety element too. They aren't safe when they're not protected. And our history of these victims who died, they weren't safe, and they were vulnerable and harmed. And so I really do like that we can create more safety, hopefully, for everyone who needs it. [00:47:39] Jake Eshelman: Just one thing I wanted to bring up just for clarity, you mentioned the real reality of like mob-style persecutions and things like that. When we say 54 people throughout present-day U.S., we are looking specifically at cases where we have trial records and executions, right? So these are what we are considering executions by the state, right? This isn't your crazy mob who gets an inkling who goes to neighbors or whatever and does whatever awful stuff they do to people. We wanted, because we are looking at cultural memory, right, and this idea of power, it was really important to not only kinda narrow the scope of this project, but to also do so in a way where it really was looking at, culturally these are to a certain degree culturally-ordained executions, if you think about it, socially-ordained or politically-ordained executions. And that says a lot, because it represents at least a majority of the culture, right, a majority of the people who are in a municipality. So I think that has a totally different read than looking at very specific instances of mob mentality, because we really wanted to look at something that had a large critical application to a large swath of our culture and our cultural history. [00:49:04] Margaux Crump: Part of that was also that you'd actually be surprised the number of contemporary murders where someone was, oh, she or he, or they are a witch and they've been murdered. And that's very recent, and I don't think our project would ever end. So we needed to create a framework. [00:49:25] Jake Eshelman: That's when this project will be successful for me is when this project can end, when we don't perpetuate these histories, that's when this project has done its work in the world. [00:49:35] Josh Hutchinson: I recall reading about a case last summer where someone was murdered in the United States for supposedly bewitching someone else. That happens regularly. And you have in the news right now the Lori Vallow case, which is similar, believing in supernatural activity around the children. And so it's important for people to know that these behaviors are still present, and we haven't evolved past that somehow, and we need to work every day towards getting past that. [00:50:18] Jake Eshelman: Yeah, and I think that acknowledging and spending time with this history is important, because it demands a sort of respect for the history, right? And again, without naming names, you have today really prominent politicians slash crooks slash businessmen who get on Twitter and talk about how there's a giant witch-hunt against him, and he's the persecuted one. And that's just such an egregious statement for me, but it's also part of how culturally some people choose to handle these stories in this history or to co-opt them, or, I don't even know if there's a verb for how gross that is, but whatever that verb is to that history. [00:51:10] Josh Hutchinson: There's been a lot of discussion about that on Twitter recently with his counterpart in Britain declaring he's been the victim of a witch-hunt, as well. And we've seen a lot of the witch trial academics out there basically shouting, "don't call it a witch-hunt, that's not fair to the victims of witch hunts." [00:51:38] Margaux Crump: Yeah, and I think that's where that word power comes back in, because both of those individuals have an extreme amount of power. [00:51:45] Sarah Jack: I don't even know what word for this, but I was thinking, I was looking at these comments that were coming out, wanting to engage, wanting to say the right thing myself. I have all these feelings about it, as well, but it's so you have maybe, whether it's these guys or any other possible male losing power that would choose to call it a witch-hunt, it's an acknowledgement that the person being hunted is losing power. [00:52:12] So I'm like, okay, so okay, we're acknowledging that actual accused witches were powerless. That's an important message, but to victimize themselves with such a atrocious history on the innocent. [00:52:30] Jake Eshelman: Pretty much. [00:52:32] Josh Hutchinson: Yeah, and when you talk about the, between the early modern witch hunts and all the witch hunts that have happened since around the world, there's probably hundreds of thousands of people who've been victims of witch hunts and real witch hunts. And it just trivializes their suffering, and it's really a pet peeve of mine. [00:52:57] Sarah Jack: I really like, Jake, how you mentioned that your project and work like this, when we're sharing the history, teaching, delving into it, that it starts to build up that respect for the history and that the world does need to respect what has happened to a huge portion of our humanity and continues to happen, and I definitely, I feel like looking at what I've observed over the last four years, that's about the timeframe that I've been actively trying to jump in and do something about it. The conversations that I'm seeing online, some are changing in a better way. I'm seeing bigger questions asked, more information coming forward. So I feel very hopeful that things can keep having momentum in the right direction. [00:53:52] Jake Eshelman: The bar is low. Maybe we can count that among our many blessings is that any sort of increase in conversation and bigger questions is you know, pie in the sky. But to your point, no, I think it's absolutely wonderful and very affirming and very fulfilling to, to not only see that, but to hopefully have some sort of modest part in encouraging some of that. So I think, hopefully, Echoes of the Witches is one of those things that is at least contributing or providing resources for people for that end goal. [00:54:20] Josh Hutchinson: All right. Here's a question. What have you learned about humanity through the project? [00:54:29] Jake Eshelman: Talk about big questions. [00:54:32] Josh Hutchinson: That's the $64,000 one. [00:54:34] Jake Eshelman: Yeah, man. What have I learned about humanity? [00:54:39] Margaux Crump: I have learned, and I probably already knew this, but it's been hammered home a few times, that humanity has a very long memory and a very short memory, simultaneously. I tend to be very introverted. I'm very happy to be at home alone with my cats and with my partner. And sometimes this project reinforces that, and sometimes I am moved to tears by how beautiful we can all be with each other. And I like those best. Those moments are my favorite. [00:55:16] Humans are complicated. We all know that, but sometimes I think we want to forget that. We want, we can try to simplify things. And in a history where there really aren't a lot of answers, a lot of concrete answers, you have to accept things for their muddy edges and the uncertainty and the just the messiness, and I think humanity can be a bit like that, too. We can be a bit messy, and sometimes we're beautiful messy, and sometimes we're messy messy. [00:55:59] Jake Eshelman: Yeah, that was beautiful. Yeah, I'm not sure that, I think that's all wonderful, and I think that's valid, and I absolutely feel the same way. The only thing that I can add to that is essentially just a different flavor of what Margaux said, that I feel like I have confirmed some things that I've wondered about in terms of humanity. [00:56:22] In undergraduate, I studied classical studies, so ancient Greece, ancient Roman culture, and through that, I had an inkling that people are people, the only difference is today we're wearing baseball caps and we carry automatic weapons. But really we're the same in a lot of respects as we always have been. Some of our circumstances may be different, some of the things that we worry about may be different, but ultimately there's a continuity there. And Margaux said, like we, we have a very long memory when it suits us and a very short one when it doesn't. And I think that even in spite of the fact that I think we are the same as we have been in a lot of respects, I think that there are these moments where you can see that we are evolving and that we can change for the better, and that we can decide to act and behave in a way, in a world that makes it a better place for everyone. And not just humans, like actually everyone. And those are the moments that, that give me hope and make me feel uncharacteristically optimistic. [00:57:30] Sarah Jack: Is there anything specific that you have felt change in yourself from doing this project? [00:57:38] Margaux Crump: Yes, I have had to be much more. Through doing this project, I have found a new safety in my own voice. At first I was, I knew I needed to do this work. I was very nervous. I'm still nervous some days about the ramifications. Even having to ask people to make images in certain places like that made me nervous. I felt unsafe. And sometimes I would talk to the people who in that site I was there to do work around. By people, the people who are gone now and feeling into that and into their stories gave me the courage to push through my own fears and to grow. [00:58:34] Jake Eshelman: I've had to this whole process of researching and traveling to these places and interacting with the communities and making these images. There's a humility in it that I think has really benefited me in my practice and just the way that I moved through the world. But also to Margaux's point, it's been validating to realize that we, Margaux and I, through this process we have tapped into our power of observation, our power of sharing, our power of cultivating, creating community through this work. And I think that is one of those sort of benchmarks in my creative and research practice where I realized that our approach is valid, our ideas are valid, our interest in this subject matter is valid, and that it's capable of being met, which was great. [00:59:27] Margaux mentioned that we're still have a little bit of trepidation around this work, around sharing it, around doing it in the right way, about being responsible about it. But thus far, the reaction that we've had from people both solicited and unsolicited has been very supportive and very affirming, so I would say that delving into this project and building it up has given me more confidence in my perspective and in the kind of work that we can create and put out into the world and hopefully enable it to do its work right in the world and create positive sort of reverberations that go out beyond what we could imagine. [01:00:09] We don't see how this work actually hits people, right, all the time. It's pretty rare that we get to share this with someone for the first time and be able to gauge their reaction. Really what's happening is that people are quietly trickling in or someone shares it with someone else and they're having this experience, the work that, that we can't even, we don't know about it. It's just off somewhere in the ether doing its work. And I hope that through this process that this project and also projects that we may collaborate on in the future, will have a similar sort of mechanism. [01:00:39] Josh Hutchinson: And how can people support your project? [01:00:43] Jake Eshelman: Telling people who might be interested is always a great place to start, sharing this, spreading the website. That's all very helpful. It seems so silly to ask for attention, but it certainly helps when people are interacting with the work and sharing it and talking about it. So I'd say that would be the big thing. The other thing I can think of is that if you have resources and you have knowledge regarding this history and you wanna share it, not only with us, but with the rest of the world, please send it our way. We're always looking for that kind of additional knowledge and insight and information. Oh, and if there are any curators listening, give us shows. We love the idea of having this as a solo exhibition, really bring people into the work through our material culture. [01:01:29] Was that too shameless? [01:01:31] Sarah Jack: No. [01:01:32] Josh Hutchinson: No. No. [01:01:33] Sarah Jack: What is next for you guys after the project wraps? Or when do you start? You mentioned that you have your individual projects. When this starts to wrap and you may wanna do another collaboration, do you already have some ideas? Do you think you'll be surprised by it? [01:01:50] Margaux Crump: We tend to work on many things at once, so there are always multiple projects happening. I have a feeling that this October Echoes of the Witch we will actually finish making images for. But before that, Jake and I will be in Wales this summer doing a project looking at the deep ecology of sacred springs and holy wells, so that, that is next. That's very soon. We actually leave July 4th for the U.K. [01:02:21] That's its own project, and it's very different for us, because we are not the only people involved. It's going to branch out and have a lot of different collaborators depending on the location. We have someone we're already working with in the U.K.. We actually have an intern who's working with us, which is very exciting. [01:02:40] It's also a project that doesn't have a strong plan yet, which is very different. Echoes of the Witch had a tremendous amount of research. I knew exactly where we were going. I'd created maps. And this project tracing the sacred springs and the holy wells is very in the spirit of the water, we're really gonna go with the flow and see where we end up and what calls to us and who we meet and what they think we should look at and who shares what. And it's very different. I'm very excited. I think it'll be a good change of pace. [01:03:12] Jake Eshelman: There are also through lines, too, because we're looking really, as Margaux mentioned, at the deep ecology of these sites throughout Wales. And it's interesting, going back to our conversations earlier about the idea of land as being sentient, right, of having agency and being able to interact. And this project that we're discussing in Wales very much centers on that kind of idea. Like how do you photograph the spirit of a place? And a lot of these interesting challenges. How do you photograph the mythological invisible beings, whether they're from stories or whether they're microorganisms that are in these places? [01:03:43] And it's gonna be a very interesting exercise at really the limits and possibilities of image-making, of ecology, of all these things that we tend to be interested in, wrapped up into to one project. Definitely stay tuned. We'll be sharing a lot of our adventures and, of course, our misadventures on social media and through our email newsletters and things like that. So hopefully it's a good time for everyone. And if not, at least it'll be entertaining and significant. [01:04:11] Josh Hutchinson: Thank you so much for all your wonderful answers. Is there anything else you want to add to the conversation before we go? [01:04:21] Jake Eshelman: I would just say thank you, to all the people who've done the research before us, to all the people who have supported this work, enabled this work, who put us in touch with other people, people who've expressed enthusiasm about what it is we're doing, people who've seen our images and cried, people who've seen our images and gotten excited because they saw something of their sixth great grandmother. [01:04:43] Yeah I guess ultimately the thing that I wanna put out there is just gratitude for the ability to do this work and hopefully to have this work enrich the history for people who are looking for it and for people who aren't looking for it, cause I think that's just as, as valuable. [01:04:59] Margaux Crump: Thank you for saying that, Jake. We definitely could not have done this work without the very strong community that surrounds this history. And we're just one in a beautiful concert of individuals who are working around this. And yeah I'm grateful as well for everybody who's made this possible. [01:05:20] Sarah Jack: And now for Minute with Mary. [01:05:23] [01:05:30] Mary-Louise Bingham: I have heard descendants say to me on several occasions, "I wonder what my ancestor who lived two or 300 years ago looks like?" I have wondered that many times myself. A few days ago, when Sarah, Josh and I met to discuss this week's wonderful episode, Sarah pointed out that we three, who are direct descendants of William and Joanna Towne through their daughter, Mary Towne Esty, all have the same rosy colored cheeks and cheekbones. [01:06:02] My interest was now truly piqued. I looked at pictures of my siblings, same cheekbones, although some are not as rosy as mine. I looked at my distant Towne cousin, with whom I work almost every day, Cindy Hobbs, and her family, all the same rosy cheekbones. [01:06:22] I then looked at pictures of other Towne descendants on the internet. There they were, again, those same cheekbones. So it might be safe to say that most Towne descendants share the same wonderful feature. Now that we know this, maybe we can all paint a picture in our own imagination of how we view William and Joanna Towne in our own mind's eye, based on our cheekbones and other similar features we share. [01:06:51] I also looked at pictures of two of my other famous ancestors, Thomas Dudley and his son-in-law, Simon Bradstreet. Ashton Kutcher looks more like Thomas Dudley than I ever will, but I do share a resemblance to my 10 times great grandpa, Simon. Great Grandpa Simon and I have the same eyebrows, eyes, same circles around our eyes, same nose, and the same mouth, with one difference. Grandpa Simon has a natural smile, whereas I have a natural frown. [01:07:24] It was really cool to discover from where some of my looks came, and though I will never know what many of my other ancestors look like, I must remember one more very important thing. When I look in the mirror, I remember that because of them, I exist. [01:07:42] Thank you. [01:07:42] [01:07:50] Sarah Jack: Thank you, Mary. [01:07:52] Josh Hutchinson: Now here's Sarah with End Witch Hunts News. [01:07:55] [01:08:12] Sarah Jack: Awareness of the violent, modern witch hunts against alleged witches is increasing across the world. International media, organizations, governments, and individuals want it to stop. The United Nations Human Rights Council is acknowledging the crisis and urging additional efforts by affected states and by all stakeholders. [01:08:31] We are all stakeholders in efforts to stop these witch attacks and abuse crimes against women, men, and children. When you see it in the news, read about it and share it. Educate yourself and others. Witch hunts that are happening now are fueled by the same influences that incited panic and hunting in the past. [01:08:49] The Salem Witch-Hunt was not different than what is happening now. Those that were executed in Salem were as innocent of their charges as the victims targeted today. Human agency is behind past and present alleged witch executions. Misfortune is not due to human agency in the way that accusers imagine and punish for. [01:09:08] We must help change this moral panic against vulnerable community members by standing against witchcraft fear. We are seeking to change a behavior that has been present for thousands and thousands of years. We can reflect on what is known of historic witch trials and evaluate the alleged witch attack crisis that is happening in our own time and place. If it's happening on a continent now, it's happening in your time and place. This world belongs to us and we can end witch hunts. [01:09:35] Think and speak like Member of the Executive Council Nonhlanhla Khoza of South Africa. Quote, "It is alleged that Mchunu was brutally murdered by a local boy at the weekend, accusing him of witchcraft." Then, quote, "it's alleged that the community also stoned the boy to death after he was seen following the pensioner." [01:09:53] Khoza, the KZN Member of Executive Council for Social Development, condemned the killing of Solani Mchunu. Quote, "as the community of this province, we should understand that every individual has the right to life, dignity and freedom from violence. Therefore, targeting and persecution of individuals based on accusations of witchcraft is not only morally repugnant but also a violation of fundamental human rights." [01:10:19] MEC Khoza said witchcraft-related violence is a deeply rooted issue that requires immediate attention and concerted efforts from both the government and society as a whole. She said it was crucial for communities to foster understanding, tolerance, respect for diversity, recognizing that myths about witchcraft do not justify violence. [01:10:39] Quote, "we call upon the law enforcement agencies to conduct a thorough investigation into this heinous crime and ensure that perpetrators are swiftly brought to justice. Quote, "it is essential that legal systems send a clear message that such acts of violence will not be tolerated and that those responsible will face the full force of the law." [01:10:58] She appealed to the public to prioritize the protection of vulnerable individuals, particularly the elderly, who may be more susceptible to accusations of witchcraft. Khoza said a team of social workers had been dispatched to both families to provide adequate psychosocial support, including trauma debriefing and trauma containment. [01:11:17] Khoza is echoing the message that Thou Shalt Not Suffer has been sharing. You have been listening to her same plea from advocates on this podcast. The crisis is real. The plea is real. The solution is real. You are the real solution. [01:11:31] Now listen to this quote a second time, considering it could be any violence to anyone that is important to you. Quote, "we should understand that every individual has the right to life, dignity, and freedom from violence." I know you agree with that. Therefore, this should feel pressing to you. Quote, "therefore, targeting the persecution of individuals based on accusations of witchcraft is not only morally repugnant, but also a violation of fundamental human rights." [01:11:56] Get involved now. Witch hunts did not end. [01:11:58] Read our show notes for links on guests, books, news, and supporting the podcast. We need your support. Get involved. Contact us at endwitchhunts.org. To support us, purchase books from our bookshop or merch from our Zazzle shop. [01:12:11] [01:12:27] Josh Hutchinson: Thank you, Sarah. [01:12:29] Sarah Jack: You're welcome. [01:12:31] Josh Hutchinson: And thank you for listening to Thou Shalt Not Suffer: The Witch Trial Podcast. [01:12:36] Sarah Jack: Join us next week. [01:12:38] Josh Hutchinson: Subscribe in whatever app you use to get your podcasts. [01:12:42] Sarah Jack: Visit us at thoushaltnotsuffer.com. [01:12:45] Josh Hutchinson: Remember to tell your friends about the show. [01:12:48] Sarah Jack: Support our efforts to End Witch Hunts. Talk about it. Visit endwitchhunts.org to learn more. [01:12:54] Josh Hutchinson: Have a great today and a beautiful tomorrow. [01:12:58]