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Karin Helmstaedt on Why Witch Hunts are not just a Dark Chapter from the Past

Karin Helmstaedt on Why Witch Hunts are not just a Dark Chapter from the Past Thou Shalt Not Suffer: The Witch Trial Podcast

How do witch trials in the Holy Roman Empire relate to the deadly witch hunts occurring today? We interview Deutsche Welle presenter Karin Helmstaedt about her documentary, “Why Witch Hunts are not just a Dark Chapter from the Past,” which you can watch on YouTube. Karin tells us about her ancestors burned as witches in Winningen, Germany, and we learn nuances of the trials in that area. We discuss the current global crisis of violence against persons accused of witchcraft and talk about the many similarities between witch hunts across time and space. We also connect historical social injustices to our advocacy questions: Why do we hunt witches? How do we hunt witches? How do we stop hunting witches? Why Witch Hunts are not just a Dark Chapter from the PastShop Our Book ShopSign up as a Super ListenerBuy Witch Trial MerchBuy Podcast Merchthoushaltnotsuffer.comendwitchhunts.orgDiscordTwitterFacebookInstagramSupport the show

Show Notes

Learn about witch trials in the Holy Roman Empire and the deadly witch hunts occurring today. We interview Deutsche Welle presenter Karin Helmstaedt about her documentary, “Why Witch Hunts are not just a Dark Chapter from the Past,” which you can watch on YouTube. Karin tells us about her ancestors burned as witches in Winningen, Germany, and we learn nuances of the trials in that area. We discuss the current global crisis of violence against persons accused of witchcraft and talk about the many similarities between witch hunts across time and space. We also connect historical social injustices to our advocacy questions: Why do we hunt witches? How do we hunt witches? How do we stop hunting witches?
Why Witch Hunts are not just a Dark Chapter from the Past
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[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.
[00:00:26] Josh Hutchinson: In this episode, we speak with journalist Karin Helmstaedt about her documentary, Why Witch Hunts are Not Just a Dark Chapter from the Past, which you can watch on YouTube.
[00:00:37] Sarah Jack: The video covers European witch hunts of the past, as well as the modern global crisis of attacks on persons accused of witchcraft.
[00:00:44] Josh Hutchinson: Check the video out after you listen to this episode. The link is in the show description.
[00:00:49] Sarah Jack: Karin told us about her ancestors accused of witchcraft in what is now Germany.
[00:00:53] Josh Hutchinson: And we spoke of our ancestors accused in New England.
[00:00:57] Sarah Jack: We talked about why women are more likely to be accused of witchcraft.
[00:01:01] Josh Hutchinson: And covered other similarities between witch hunts across time and space.
[00:01:05] Sarah Jack: The sheer number of attacks occurring today is eye-opening.
[00:01:10] Josh Hutchinson: Historian Wolfgang Behringer says there are now more people dying in witch hunts than ever before.
[00:01:16] Sarah Jack: Tanzania alone has lost upwards of 30,000 people to witch-hunts since independence in 1961.
[00:01:23] Josh Hutchinson: And these attacks are happening in over 60 nations today.
[00:01:28] Sarah Jack: Affecting hundreds of thousands of people every year with psychological and physical violence that leads to neglect, displacement, homelessness, physical disability, and even death.
[00:01:38] Josh Hutchinson: What lessons can we learn from past witch hunts?
[00:01:41] Sarah Jack: And how can we apply those lessons today?
[00:01:44] Josh Hutchinson: Witch hunts are not just a dark chapter from the past.
[00:01:47] Sarah Jack: Here is Karin Helmstaedt, a Canadian born journalist, moderator, and TV host based in Berlin, Germany. She studied in Toronto, Montreal, and Paris, and embarked on her journalistic career in sports, writing for newspapers and magazines before making the move into broadcasting. Since 1999, she's been one of the most constant faces on Germany's foreign broadcaster, Deutsche Welle, presenting a number of news and culture magazine formats. She currently co-hosts DW's Arts and Culture News in English. Fluent in three languages, Karin is also a sought after moderator and consultant for conferences and events around Europe, with experience in a broad range of sectors, including communications, food and agriculture, and rail transport. 
[00:02:28] Josh Hutchinson: We appreciate your film, Why Witch Hunts are Not Just a Dark Chapter from the Past. We've watched that several times and are so appreciative that you're drawing attention to the subject. Can you tell our listeners about your film?
[00:02:45] Karin Helmstaedt: Yes, I can. Thank you for having me. It started off as an idea for a format that we developed at my network where I am currently working, Deutsche Welle. And I had this idea in my head for a very long time and didn't really know how I was going to approach it, because I knew that we had an ancestor in our family who had been burned as a witch.
And it seemed to me that I hadn't seen any material done on witch hunts in the time that I've been at Deutsche Welle, which is really quite a long time. So I pitched the project, and it was accepted and got started with researching the witch hunts in Germany and of course in this particular community where my ancestor was.
And I tracked down a historian who, Walter Rummel, who is just amazing because it was really just like a meeting of the minds because he did his PhD on the witch trials in that entire area of southwestern Germany. And there were a lot of them right along the Mosel River, and it was so interesting because when I called him and asked him and told him that I had this ancestor and her name was Margarethe Kröber, he was totally excited because he knew exactly who I was talking about, and he had literally gone through all of the witch trials in sort of several communities in a relatively large radius around that area and had analyzed them in terms sociologically and looking at what had motivated all of these particular cases. And so I was able to do a lot of research, a lot of really specific research with him into her case.
And during that, I discovered, of course, that there were all kinds of other relatives, if you will. They were more distant relatives, perhaps. She's like a direct line and a kind of a great grandmother, 11 generations back, that would be. But I discovered all of these other people who had been affected and of course the entire families, and the connections that I got from Walter were a couple of other historians, Rita Voltmer being a very important one, but Wolfgang Behringer also, who was really key in alerting me to the fact that there were still witch hunts going on today. And so that in the end ended up being the arc of the story for the film.
And that's how I ended up including the chapter on modern witch hunts and the things that are going on in places like Africa and Papua New Guinea and many places in southern South Asia and also in Latin America. We couldn't fit it all in, obviously, to the film, but we had to do a bit of a bit of a sorting out.
But that's essentially how the film came to be. And we're very happy with it. I worked on it with a colleague of mine called Ulrike Sommer is her name, and we spent a lot of time really going through it all with a fine tooth comb and condensing, condensing, because of course we didn't have hours and hours that we could fill, but we're very happy with the result. We're very, certainly, very happy with the response.
[00:05:55] Sarah Jack: It's been a great response. What would you like us to know about her? And I'm curious about how you knew about her history.
[00:06:04] Karin Helmstaedt: That's an interesting story, because when I was a young teenager, I came to Germany for the first time with my family. My father is from East Germany originally and married my mom who's Canadian. So we, I grew up in Canada, but we came to Europe to visit for the first time and were visiting relatives of his mother down in the Rhein -Mosel area.
And we visited this one aunt of his, and he told her I guess, that we were going to drive through Winningen and retrace some steps. I think there are some grave sites there as well. I don't remember those very well, because what stuck out for me was that, when this aunt said, "if you're going to Winningen, you have to visit the Hexenstein."
And my father said, "oh, what's that?" And so he told me this when we got into the car, and of course I was 14 years old and know I was very impressionable. And the idea that we had a witch in the family, this was absolutely amazing to me. And we went to this monument, which of course is featured in the film. It's the oldest, I now know, the oldest monument to persecuted witches in Germany. It was erected in about 1925, I think. And her name is right on there. And it was just a really, it made a huge impression on me, this idea that somebody in our family all these hundreds of years ago had suffered this fate and was actually memorialized on this stone.
It's like an obelisk, and it never left me. And it was a story that I put in on my back burner, for many years. I probably should have done something about it earlier, but you know how life is, you think things happen, and you have kids, and you move, and I ended up moving to Europe, and yeah, eventually just decided, it was also interesting because it was during the pandemic that I decided I've gotta tackle this story. I've gotta do something and make use of this time and possibly start thinking about actually doing something about this story. So that's how it started. It really goes decades back.
[00:08:02] Josh Hutchinson: That reminds me so much of my own story of how I got interested in the witch trials, because my grandfather was from Danvers, Massachusetts, which used to be Salem Village, and there is the Rebecca Nurse Homestead, the property of one of the well-known victims of the Salem Witch Trials. And at that property there's a monument to her and there's also a monument to people who defended her, and my ancestor, Joseph Hutchinson, is on that monument, but the way they spelled the name, it's J O S apostrophe H, so it looks like it says Josh Hutchinson, which of course is my own name.
[00:08:52] Karin Helmstaedt: It is your own name.
[00:08:53] Josh Hutchinson: I saw that in stone at the Rebecca Nurse Homestead, and I've just been fascinated with the witch trials since then.
[00:09:01] Karin Helmstaedt: Yeah, it's an interesting thing to look at a kind of a legacy like that. And interestingly enough, when I went to Winningen and started the research, I asked about that monument. There's very little known about the motivation for having put it up or who exactly put it up. I couldn't find an awful lot of information about that. There are mistakes on it as well. It's not complete. And as I discovered, the mother of my ancestor was actually the very first woman burnt as a witch in Winningen, so the whole thing started with her, and the date of her execution is actually wrong, as well, if you look into all of the trial records.
So Walter Rummel ended up being really helpful to me because I bought, I, I found an old secondhand copy. I searched and searched on Amazon and found an old secondhand copy of his thesis, which is a book, and spent ages reading it, and just my jaw just kept dropping further and further, and I would get on the phone to my dad and say, "you have no idea how many people." Really quite a lot of people, because interestingly enough, of her generation, Margarethe's generation, not only she was accused of witchcraft, but also her cousin, as I say her mother already was killed 11 years before, her aunt, so the mother's sister, and then every single one of her brothers and sister-in-law. So in other words of that one particular branch of the Kröber family, they executed all the spouses. So that's interesting and we can talk a little bit more about why these things happened and what Walter Rummel was able to tell me, because even he found that pretty extraordinary that a family was so taken to the cleaners, as it were, in in that sense.
[00:10:52] Sarah Jack: Yeah. Do you wanna speak more about that right now?
[00:10:55] Karin Helmstaedt: It's interesting, because the historians that I spoke to, so Rita and Wolfgang and Walter, and I spent really a long time talking to all three of them. The belief is generally accepted that all of the people who were burned for witchcraft or accused of witchcraft were healers and wise women and cunning women, midwives, herbalists, all that kind of thing.
And so that was, of course, one of my first questions when I was talking to them. And they told me that, based on their research, and this doesn't necessarily have to be the case for everywhere else, like, for instance, in places like Scotland or in places like some of the eastern European countries, but certainly in that area of Germany, and in their experience and their analyses of the trial records, which are copious in many regions, in certain regions of Germany, and in this one in particular, there's hardly a midwife to be found. That's really not the case for any of these victims. 
So what was at work was social ladder climbing, if you will. There were sort of tiers of society, and there were levels of society that essentially wanted to take out slightly more powerful or wealthy individuals. But she came from quite a wealthy winemaking family and married into my father's mother's family, so the, that's where the Kröber name comes from. And that her husband was a judge, and he was one of a long line of judges. And afterwards his son became a judge. And a lot of these professions seemed for a while to be handed down. So you were in a bit of a social set, and it seems that another branch of his own family was not happy with the amount of wealth, I suppose, that was accumulated, the amount of influence that they had in the town, and I think it was very much a tactic to go after these men by literally taking out their wives, accusing their wives of witchcraft. And there was also the one man involved, as well, and he was one of the wealthiest people in the town at the time.
[00:13:15] Josh Hutchinson: And you share in the film that women were about 80% of the victims in the European witch hunts and that they continue to be targeted today, as predominantly women are accused of witchcraft. Why do you think that is that women are more likely to be accused of witchcraft?
[00:13:38] Karin Helmstaedt: That's also one of these interesting questions that I think obviously there is the misogynistic element, the fact that women had a lesser position in society at the time, and there were reasons to want to get rid of women, to get rid of uncomfortable women. But it's, I guess what was very interesting to me was to learn just how many men had been involved, and it was almost always a question of wanting to usurp their influence and their power and their wealth. With the women, it's tricky, I think. The misogynist element is there, and it was possibly very much sparked by some of those early texts by people like Heinrich Kramer, the Malleus Maleficarum, which I mentioned also in the documentary.
These seminal texts that described what a witch was about gave rise to a lot of the imagery that was created around witches and witchcraft. And those were primarily female, simply because someone like Heinrich Kramer actually had a real bone to pick with women. He was somebody who had tried to go after a woman in Austria for witchcraft, and I think that effort was foiled, actually. And then he left Austria and wrote that book, and a lot of the trouble started there. There was trouble, there were ideas of witchcraft that had already been created by the church, but he really crystallized a lot of that.
And great levels of description such that then the art world, and the publication of that book actually coincided also with the invention of the printing press, pretty close together, such that these texts, but also the ideas that were then able to fuel an artist's imagination, could spread a lot faster.
And I think that's how the ideas of female evil and the ability of women to be closer to the devil and their tendencies to wanna be closer to the devil, I think that really took off in the imagination of a lot of people at the time.
 It's interesting. I guess one of the biggest surprises for me also was, there were several things that were surprising. First of all, you're surprised to hear that actually it wasn't midwives and herbalists and these wise women. Second thing was that men were involved and so that was interesting.
But the really shocking thing to me was that basically half, over a third to half of the witches, of the people who were executed as witches, in the entire 300 years of the great European witch hunts happened in the German-speaking area. That is something really interesting and makes the whole thing incredibly complex, because you're looking at an area of the map, the Holy Roman Empire it was at the time, which was much, much bigger than modern day Germany, so that included areas of Northern Italy and actually parts of France. It also included Austria and Switzerland, the whole German speaking area. It's really shocking to think that those numbers have been, well, largely ignored for a very long time. People haven't really paid attention to that. 
You think back to a number of the traumatic things that were happening in that part of the world at the time. And my ancestor was killed in the midst of the 30 Years War, which was just devastating and there are so many factors that influence the number of witch Hunts in Germany. That it, we probably need three hours of a podcast to go through the history. But one of the things that was so influential was climate, and this was also complete news to me. There was a phenomenon called the Little Ice Age that was going on in much of northern Europe for an incredible amount of time, literally from the 14th century all the way into the mid 19th century. That there was a very stark cooling and a lot of years of really poor harvests.
And this climate element had a huge impact on Germany, first of all, because it's in Northern Europe, but Germany's also landlocked. Just in terms of its geographical positioning, it was really hard hit by that phenomenon, by the Little Ice Age and unable to, it didn't have sea access to mean that it could necessarily get grain and get supplies from elsewhere very easily.
So people were really down and out, suffering great hardship at the hands of these marauding armies, the Swedes and the French, and everybody who was marching back and forth over their territory during the 30 Years War. And the other thing that I learned from Wolfgang Behringer. Wolfgang Behringer was the first one to actually do this analysis of climate and come up with this theory that actually of the 300 years of European witch hunts, it went in cycles, and you had three waves, actually. And those three waves are, interestingly enough, always about a, an entire lifetime. I guess if you look at a at the length of a long lifetime, 70 to 80 years, and every 70 to 80 years things would pick up again until they finally, eventually completely died down.
 It's very interesting that climate affected things and forms of settlement, according to Wolfgang Behringer, were also very important. So for instance, there were hardly any witch hunts in places that were extremely rural, this is in Germany, anyway, or in nomadic peoples. They tended to concentrate in places where people are in a village situation and where people are eventually, as in Germany, getting crowded.
That's the other thing about Germany is that it's actually always had a lot of people in a relatively small geographic space. So when you end up with these phenomena of towns building up and people are sitting on top of one another, that's when you get a lot of the comparing what you have with what I have and a lot of these developments of social situations that can possibly be a fertile ground then for that kind of, and then the weather doesn't work and then the harvest fails and then somebody dies and then there are all these reasons, the same reasons that we see in the modern witch hunts today.
The things that are happening in Africa, for instance, it's the same kinds of patterns that reproduce themselves. So it's always a question of forms of community and whether those forms, whether they're somebody is trying to get an advantage. And unfortunately we seem to repeatedly tend to do that.
[00:20:31] Sarah Jack: There's so many striking comparisons, and one of the things that you said a few minutes ago really made me think of the modern was when you talked about the multitude of victims in the German history, that we don't really fathom it. People don't really talk about it, understand it, and that is part of with the modern. People don't have a concept of how rampant it is for the modern victims.
[00:20:58] Karin Helmstaedt: Yeah, it was upwards of 25,000 people in Germany, which is just a staggering number really when you consider that it's between 50 and 60,000 all told. So that's including places like Iceland, Norway, Sweden, all of the other countries where witch hunts did happen. 25,000 people. 
And I really think something really interesting happened. Once the film was online and people were watching it, people started responding, I had a number of really interesting responses from women in Germany who said, "why haven't we looked into this more deeply in terms of what this can mean or has meant or means continually for female identity in Germany? How many cases of generational trauma are there that have never been considered?"
And when you look at some of the work that's been done in Scotland, also, for instance, by the Witches of Scotland, Claire Mitchell and Zoe Venditozzi, who've been doing that fantastic campaign up there. They've looked into a lot of the cases in Scotland and actually talked to social scientists who have indicated that when you take a family like that, you completely snuff out their wealth, usurp their fields and their lands and possibly even their livelihoods. You completely demote that family. That family has to start again from zero, and possibly those families actually never get back to the position that they had or never get back to the actual. It has a knock on effect or a domino effect, if you will, very far down the line in generations.
That was something that was really interesting to me, because I think it's interesting to look at what people have said, and I've had a lot of response from people who have, like yourself, Josh, who have some relative that was affected in the Salem Witch Trials or in Connecticut or in Scotland or in England, and the ideas are really so multifaceted in terms of how these particular tragedies have affected the different families. The stories are as long as my arm, the list it's amazing. So I think every case is individual and every family is individual and a lot of these communities have had different ways of dealing with things.
Some of them had just a few families affected. But a town like Winningen, where my ancestor came from, we're looking at between 160, 200 people at the time. 21 people were killed, 24 were accused, so three managed to get off, which was also remarkable, but only happened towards the end of things. When you consider the number of families that were affected then, those 21 people that got lost, and you look at that one branch of my family where literally every spouse was knocked off and those people had to go on and very often married again. But my ancestor actually already had two children, so those two children also they lost their mother. They were six and three at the time. And that was also a really interesting thing, even when I was researching with Walter, because he was pretty much also thinking that it was mostly older women. It was mostly older women who actually had some status, possibly widowed. And here was my ancestor, a mother of two boys, six and three years old. So there were a lot of these stereotypes that just disappeared through the detailing of this story.
[00:24:32] Sarah Jack: I really loved that you were able to do that with your narrative.
[00:24:37] Karin Helmstaedt: It was very lucky. And again, it's because of this, of the fantastic treasure trove of trial records that are available for that area. It's not the case everywhere. It's, for instance, in France, it's very interesting. A lot of stuff did happen in France, but there's relatively speaking, little documentation about it. I've talked at length with Rita Voltmer about that. When you don't have that documentation, then you really are guessing. You're taking, records come from everywhere. You're looking at diaries, you're looking at, Walter was able to analyze, for instance, all of the receipts from the time, for instance.
One of the stories that was really shocking in the case of my ancestor is she was actually, I had to fudge this a little bit in the film, because she was actually killed on the same day as another woman. There were two women killed on the same day, and they had an enormous party after that was over, and it's detailed. It's absolutely crazy the amount of detail that exists about that particular. It was like a bonfire. You've got two women literally burning on this pyre, and they had all kinds of wine, and there were local, what would you call them, restaurateur, who just made a killing on this kind of thing. And that's all documented that these things happened. 
It was absolutely shocking that so much was available, and yet when you see how much is available, for instance, another really interesting detail of the trials, the trial records in that area, is that most of them were written for about 15 to 20 years. They were written by one scribe. It's the same handwriting over and over again. And this guy, I don't exactly know where he lived. I did figure out what his name is, but his handwriting, very, very beautiful 17th century script. And you go through pages and pages and pages and pages of this stuff.
And at one point Walter said to me, this guy, he wrote them all at the time, so he was literally just moving around the communities when a trial came and needed to be protocoled. And we're talking, this guy was present for the torture. He was present for the accusation, for the witch commission basically accusing the women, and then they were tortured, and then they were executed. So there were all these phases, and this is, it's all documented like a diary. But you didn't necessarily have that wealth of information in other places.
[00:27:07] Josh Hutchinson: Yeah, there's so many parallels that I know our listeners who are familiar with witch trials in other areas will pick up on. On the documentation, Salem is well documented, but the other New England witch trials are not.
You have a lot of the same things. The ratio of men to women is about the same. It's something like 80 to 85% were women in New England. Salem was a little bit heavier with the men. There was maybe a quarter of the victims were men. But you have the same things going on with the Little Ice Age, the crop failures, the storms. You have the situation where people believe it's the midwives and healers, but it really wasn't. You have warfare or tension as if war is coming played into it, the local economics played into it. In Salem, overcrowding played a role, because there were refugees from warfare that came into Essex County, where Salem was the seat. And so there were a lot of extra people vying for resources, as well. So there's really just, it's remarkable how the European, New England, and modern-day witch trials, it flows. 
[00:28:35] Karin Helmstaedt: There's so much. Yeah. That's so interesting what you said about the overcrowding, and the other thing that comes into it, of course, is religion. And another really surprising thing that I discovered, because everybody thinks the Catholic Church was the main motor of the whole thing, and Walter and Wolfgang Behringer basically told me that was not necessarily the case in this area. And interestingly enough, that particular community, Winningen, was a Protestant community. So we're talking, we're post reformation now, and the reformation happened in, I guess it was 1517, it's when it started. Martin Luther was actually quite keen or quite a sort of an encourager of witch hunts. There wasn't necessarily on our side in that sense. 
But you had this Protestant community surrounded by other Catholic communities, and then you had a kind of a bit of a pressure cooker situation that developed because there used to be, and I forget what the word was for them in German now, but there used to be basically sort of seers who would go around to the Protestant communities and check to make sure that everybody was behaving properly and minding the new doctrine and not stepping astray with all of the ritualization of the Catholic religion was left behind by the Protestants, so they were really very strict, and there really was a kind of a situation that developed where they felt they had to be the more chaste community, the community that was more on the ball, that was paying attention to all of this possible influence of the devil. And it turns out that some, many Protestant communities were actually more zealous in going after people for witchcraft than Catholic ones, which is also a little bit counter to what we tend to hear and believe. But it's interesting that France, which is a predominantly Catholic country, Portugal, Spain, they had much lower incidents of witch trials than Germany did. Although Germany had a lot of Roman Catholicism still at the time. Obviously there was huge tension with the Reformation and then the Counter Reformation. 
But even if you look, for instance, in the difference between Scotland and Ireland. Scotland was predominantly Protestant, and the witch trials there were really fired on by King James VI. And in Ireland, where they were Catholic, I think there were three or four victims, like you can count them on one hand. So that's a really interesting thing to look at. It's really interesting to look at those numbers and to look at the fact that up in Sweden, they were also actually Protestant, I think in the Norwegian area, as well, where witch trials happened. A lot of the things that you think you knew, or that I thought I knew and many people thought they knew are not necessarily the case.
And yet these, all these parallels exist. And the one thing that I remember Rita Voltmer saying to me that she couldn't believe that people were still thinking that it was midwives and herbalists, because there really is so much evidence to the contrary. On the other hand, there probably are a few communities where that, those kind of women did end up in difficult straits, as well.
You can never blanket statement anything about it, because Europe is complicated at best today, and it certainly was complicated back then. 
[00:32:03] Josh Hutchinson: This idea of a religious cleansing or purification that you bring up, I think is important in the European witch trials. We spoke with Mary W. Craig about Scotland, and when the Kirk became Protestant, they were getting rid of the old Catholic rituals, and they also came down harsh on people who had the still pre-Catholic mythology and what they termed to be superstitious beliefs.
So it was really the heavily Protestant areas that were seeking this cleansing. And there were lower incidents in like the Highlands and Islands, which were still more Catholic. The Kirk didn't have as much control there. 
[00:32:55] Karin Helmstaedt: It is super interesting and the other thing that comes to my mind when you talk about that with sort of the religious tension is, and what had a huge effect on the German, the prevalence in Germany, is the governance structure as well. So the governance structure in the Holy Roman Empire was incredibly fragmented. You had all these little kingdoms and fiefdoms and principalities, and some of them in the area that we're talking about with my ancestor were actually governed by religious figures. And in this particular case, there was one Catholic and one Protestant. It was actually a dual influence that was going on there.
And when you had that kind of fragmented governance from the top, what it allowed was less centralization in terms of the laws. And what happened was that you ended up having these situations like a poor harvest or something terrible has happened in a community. And it was the people, it was actually usually a bit of a grassroots movement that decided this person is a witch or that person is dangerous for our community, let's go after them. And the pressure from the bottom was difficult to counter for these sort of fragmented governance structures. They couldn't necessarily control all of these small communities, which is why you had many cases of localized witch trials in this area around the Mosel, and you can just go through all those communities, and there were witch trials everywhere.
[00:34:34] Josh Hutchinson: That's actually another theme that I've noticed in England and New England, that witch trials occurred largely at times when the government had less control. In England, you have the Matthew Hopkins witch hunt, and that occurred during the civil wars, when Parliament and the King were vying for power, and in Connecticut, the colony of Connecticut started witch hunting in 1647. They didn't get a charter from the king to be a colony until 1662, which is when the executions ended before their governor returned with the charter in 1663, they had the last execution in Connecticut, and then Salem also, Massachusetts, the king had revoked their charter, and they just received a new charter in the year 1692, so there was all this weaker central government.
[00:35:37] Karin Helmstaedt: It's interesting that, I mentioned France earlier, and France had a very centralized system, and that meant, for instance, that if you were somewhere in the middle of the country and decided you wanted to accuse your neighbor of being a witch, you ended up having to take that case to Paris and prove it.
And that centralized system alone was what meant that it was much, much harder to actually bring people to a death sentence for witchcraft in France than it was in Germany. In Germany, you ended up having these local witch commissions, which were severely under pressure by their local populations, and with all of the other motors that were happening, the somebody wanting to gain an advantage here or there, and and that's why a lot of real chaos happened, certainly in that period between 1630. 
And there's another community in Germany the city of Bamberg, you might have heard of, is down in Bavaria or in Northern Bavaria. And it was just decimated back around the same time, between 1628 and 1632, I think. So again, right smack in the middle of the 30 Years War, and I think over a thousand people were burnt there. And you ended up literally with, I think it was Walter who quoted one of the, there were the writings of some religious man, and I should figure out exactly who that was, that I can quote it properly, but there was, these religious eminences would travel through the countryside. And this one made an observation that the entire countryside was literally smoking pyres. And that's a very powerful and brutal image, and that's what things pretty much looked like around that time. Bamberg is also a very interesting place to visit if you are interested in witch trials, just because it also has a very tragic legacy.
[00:37:37] Josh Hutchinson: I used to live pretty close to there in Schweinfurt.
[00:37:41] Karin Helmstaedt: Oh.
[00:37:41] Josh Hutchinson: My dad was in the Army, so I was a child, but yeah, we were in that region.
[00:37:47] Karin Helmstaedt: Yeah. Beautiful area.
[00:37:48] Josh Hutchinson: Oh, yeah. Gorgeous. I loved it.
[00:37:51] Sarah Jack: Could you tell us what the witch commission was?
[00:37:54] Karin Helmstaedt: It was basically a group of people who were local magistrates, but not necessarily all, groups of local men who had the backing of the local governance, and there were usually about five or six of them that would come together and then create a bit of a power node within the community. And once you got denounced to them, then you had to prove your innocence. 
And the interesting thing with the trials, the way they happened in this area of Germany is that they insisted on a confession. You deny that you're a witch, it's not a confession. And so torture was used in order to extract that confession. And once the confession came, then you had admitted you were a witch. You had lied under duress, under the duress of torture, but you were at least able to be executed and have your soul go to heaven. So the whole religious element came into play there, as well, that you had to be exonerated in a religious sense. You had to be cleansed. And that's of course why the bodies were burnt.
It's interesting that people also always think that witches were burned at the stake. They weren't necessarily in in a lot of places. As in Salem, a lot of people were hanged. In Germany, what happened, there were people who were burnt alive, but in this particular community, and with my ancestor, they beheaded them first and then actually just burnt the bodies. But the idea of burning the bodies was to completely cleanse this mortal shell that had been sullied by the devil.
[00:39:48] Sarah Jack: What did the shaving, how did that play into that? Was that part of the cleansing steps or was it humiliation?
[00:39:56] Karin Helmstaedt: That was, yeah, exactly. That was something that happened during the interrogations. And they did in Germany what they called a peinliche befragung, which is essentially equivalent to a torture session. So it's an interrogation that becomes extremely physical and involves a lot of duress for the victims, and there were a lot of things that they employed. For instance, sleep deprivation was probably the simplest and one of the most perfidious techniques, simply because of course, once people had been deprived of sleep long enough and physically harmed so much, then eventually you're willing to admit anything just to make it stop, just to make this agony stop.
But the shaving was for two reasons. One, it was humiliation, especially with the men. The men were shaved completely, beards were completely taken off. But it was also with the idea of being able to locate this devil's mark, which at the time they believed every witch would have. You were pretty unlucky if you had something like a large, conspicuous mole or any kind of conspicuous birthmark. Something like that, of course, could be construed as something like that, and that's one of the reasons that they shaved their bodies as completely as possible. But it definitely also had a, an element of humiliation.
[00:41:11] Josh Hutchinson: And two of those themes you just spoke to are also present in the modern day witch hunts. In your documentary, you spoke with the woman who was shaved, and you showed images of someone who had been burned. And recently in Nigeria, a woman was burned alive, and that's garnered a lot of attention.
[00:41:39] Karin Helmstaedt: Yeah. We haven't talked about Leo Igwe yet, have we? And Leo is someone I discovered really on the basis of the fact that I had learned this from Wolfgang Behringer that there were so many witch trials going on in the modern world, which of course, if you haven't been paying attention to that, it's amazing how many people still comment after watching the film that they had no idea that this was going on.
Researching further, I found Leo Igwe and talked to him, and he has this advocacy group, the Advocacy for Alleged Witches, and the tales that he can tell will just curl your hair. It's happening all over the place in multiple countries in Africa. And it's interesting that, from what I understand, it isn't necessarily there always something where the communities themselves are using the word witch. That's an English word that we've imposed upon it, but the mechanism is the same. Something has happened in the community. Somebody needs to be scapegoated, and it ends up being a woman or an older person, who for some reason is either easy to get rid of, and possibly there's something to be gained by getting rid of that person.
The mechanisms are all the same, but they're not necessarily being called witches. They are being accused also even by local healer people who decide, okay, let's get this person outta the way. So there's a lot of, I think it's just the same societal mechanisms that are happening there, and we call it witch trials, but it's not necessarily how those communities are understanding it with that particular word.
[00:43:28] Sarah Jack: They're finding the culprits of misfortunes and those culprits are using powers outside of natural phenomenon to influence.
[00:43:38] Karin Helmstaedt: What is going on in so many places in Africa, and so many of the cases that Leo Igwe is dealing with, is just utterly brutal situations, what we showed in our film, the women being banished or having to literally escape to these witch camps and witch villages, which are places that are essentially just a refuge for women who can no longer be a part of their family. They can no longer be a part of their community. It's really tragic. 
[00:44:07] Sarah Jack: And did you visit a witch camp? I wondered how you got your interviews with those women. They were really powerful interviews.
[00:44:15] Karin Helmstaedt: Indeed. And I have to do a shout out to Isaac Kaledzi, who's our correspondent in Ghana, and we worked very closely with him, and he was able to travel to Northern Ghana because Gambaga is up in the north. It's quite difficult to access. It's also quite difficult because of the language differences. So he had to find a translator and was able to visit and get that footage for us. So unfortunately I didn't get to visit it myself. On the other hand, it's a pretty tough journey. But Leo Igwe has done field work there, so he's definitely been to a number of those villages.
[00:44:50] Sarah Jack: Seeing the captured testimony of the women, seeing them visually, knowing what Leo's message has been, and then it just, it was really brought together well, and I think, I just think it's so important for people to hear from those women.
[00:45:08] Karin Helmstaedt: Yeah, indeed. They don't get a voice often enough. And I think the idea of what Leo is doing is trying to be able to integrate them back into their communities, that sometimes is successful and oftentimes is not. It's really tough, as well, that there doesn't seem to be a lot of political will to change things. There are even cases in some African countries where they've been wanting to bring witchcraft back into the penal code. It's very difficult conditions of course, because every community is so different. All of the countries they're dealing with multiple languages, traditions, make it extremely difficult to penetrate with one clear message about that kind of thing. And I guess Leo's point is that education is the only hope to change it.
[00:46:04] Josh Hutchinson: Yes, he's working on his critical thinking initiative, which I think will be very helpful. But in the documentary, Wolfgang Behringer has some very eye-opening quotes about the scale of witch persecutions today. He says that there are more witch hunts happening today than there were in the European witch trials.
And I'd noticed some more parallels there. You were talking about the witch persecutions in Africa and Asia, and right now we're experiencing climate change. There's famine, there's large number of natural disasters occurring. And that rang a bell with what you're speaking to. Now it's the heat and the storms becoming a problem, where before it was the cold, but it's draining resources and pushing people to great lengths to secure their food. 
[00:47:09] Karin Helmstaedt: People need a reason to, they have to understand, find a way to understand what's happening. And I know that with the communities that Leo is in contact with, a lot of those communities are not, they're very rural, and there's not necessarily a lot of formal education. And as long as you've got traditional beliefs in magic and superstition, and as long as those kinds of things are there, in the absence of widespread formal education, that sort of pushes that stuff off in, into the realm of of superstition where it belongs and not actual crime, then yeah, he's up against. It's I guess we can't talk about it enough because we're only gonna make a dent at this point, but a dent is a dent. You have to start somewhere. He's certainly doing a lot of good work.
[00:48:06] Josh Hutchinson: Oh, he definitely is. I also have noticed that there's a lot of religious conflict in many of the areas that are hotspots today. Nigeria, I know, is a very divided country religiously. In Papua New Guinea, we've read about intertribal conflict. So these other tensions are also happening as well as the economic pressure.
[00:48:34] Karin Helmstaedt: Indeed. And I remember when I was talking to Wolfgang, it was just, it was so shocking to me, because I think he mentioned that literally just one country like Tanzania had more people killed than, more than 50,000, which would pretty much totals what happened in the 300 years in Europe. And it's almost bizarre to, or impossible to, even conceptualize that. But I think what's going on there is that populations are so much bigger. The population of Nigeria is literally booming. It's the most populous country in Africa, and it's growing all the time. So I think a lot of these issues of resource scarcity and the overcrowding that you mentioned, for instance, that was even happening in a place like Salem, that's gonna be happening very acutely in a lot of places in Africa, just as one example, because of course it's not just there. Yeah. South Asia, there's a lot a lot of problem with that as well.
[00:49:37] Josh Hutchinson: Speaking to how widespread it is, I even read this morning a case here in the United States, in the city of San Antonio, Texas. Just this morning there was a report from the San Antonio police that a man allegedly shouted, "it's time to kill the witches," and then swung a sword at an acquaintance, cutting his nose. So it's everywhere. It's not Africa, it's not Asia, it's worldwide, the Americas, everywhere.
[00:50:10] Karin Helmstaedt: To get back to the comments section on the documentary, that has been hugely eye-opening, because a lot of people, a lot of people also in our modern times identify with nature religions like wicca. They identify, that's another point that we touch on is that witchcraft is something that is very attractive in turbulent times, like what we're experiencing. And there has definitely been a bit of a renaissance going on. I would say it's been going on really quite a long time. At least five, if not 10 years. I think if you talk to people who are really in, in the mil ieu they will say that they've been noticing it for a good decade.
But a lot of the comments that have come in, because we asked for people to share their stories, and people have been very forthcoming with some of the stories that they've shared, and a lot of stories have been of personal persecution or of the fact that I am this way, I practice this, but I'm very quiet about it, because I know that, and a lot of the cases that are mentioned are happening in the United States, and people do not feel safe declaring or openly saying that they practice a religion like that.
[00:51:28] Josh Hutchinson: And you shared a little about Boris Gershman's study on witchcraft belief and how many people in the world believe in the evil eye and the power to curse someone. And It's widespread. It's every country. The lowest is about one in 10 to upwards of 90% in some nations. In America, one in six people believe that there is this evil witchcraft occurring, not this peaceful, Wicca, nature-based belief. They believe that any form of witchcraft is inherently evil.
[00:52:07] Karin Helmstaedt: Indeed. And that's, I think there's a lot of clashing with the Christian religious beliefs without going too far into sort of saying that it's fundamentalists, but there are very extreme beliefs out there. And I think certainly judging by some of the comments that have arisen, you realize that some have a very black and white view of how these things can be, but happily, a lot of responses have been ones of respect, with a call for respect as well of all of the different interpretations, that witchcraft can take. And they are many.
[00:52:48] Josh Hutchinson: You talk about how the archetype of the witch, the view of the witch has changed in modern times, and we've seen portrayals in film evolve over time to go along with that. And I wonder if you could speak to any of that.
[00:53:09] Karin Helmstaedt: Yeah, that's the whole sort of popular culture thing, which I guess, it's interesting. When I started researching this, I said, "okay, I'm gonna do a film on, I'm gonna find out about my ancestor, and then I'm gonna do this arc over to witches and witchcraft in popular culture." And it just goes on and on. You get into a kind of a, I don't even know if you could call it a rabbit hole, because that's too small. It's a more like a spiderweb, and it just goes and goes. It feels like a universe and then another universe. And there's so many different levels to how the witch has been portrayed, first of all, in the initial kind of visualizations of her and how that has influenced art and how that has influenced literature and of course literature, the witch in Hansel and Gretel, all of those Grimm's fairytales and the witches that were really not only incredibly embellished, but also romanticized in the romantic period. There were incredibly, yeah, I guess embellished is the word, sort of portrayals of how a witch could be. 
It's so interesting, because the witch as a being who is somewhat marginal, as a marginal on, in, in terms of the the core of a village or a society, a small society, is somebody who is an outcast, but she's also feared, she has powers perhaps that people need to be worried about, which is one of the reasons they were persecuted. Those early portrayals of the witch were really something that you could invert and make and claim for yourself, this idea of her being a powerful woman who says my way or the highway of I'm not, I don't need the rest of the community. I can survive on my own and make my own rules. I think that's been a very attractive aspect of the entire concept of witchcraft and the idea that you could possibly then create and influence your own life with magic is something that's different again.
You've got the Wicked Witch of the East and the Wicked Witch of the West, and then of course the Good Witch. And I think it's interesting because those images have also really influenced how we think about witches and popular culture. And they're everywhere. They're everywhere. And they're quite often extremely compelling individuals and extremely, obviously in many interpretations, very sexy individuals. 
And I remember when I was a kid, even before I discovered, so I hadn't left Canada for Germany yet, I had not yet made my first foray to Germany or to Europe, so I had no idea that we had a possible ancestor who had been burned as a witch. But I was completely into witch novels and various stories of witchcraft and a lot of that kind of thing simply because they are attractive figures.
[00:56:10] Sarah Jack: I had that same experience when I was like a tween. I was reading any book that had a witch character in it or if the teens or the neighborhood kids were fearful or looking for somebody or if their home was near graveyard. Like any kind of that I could find like that I was reading it, and then when I was 15 I found out that my ninth great grandma was Rebecca Nurse from the Salem Witch Trials.
[00:56:39] Karin Helmstaedt: You're both related to the same person. That is so interesting. 
[00:56:44] Sarah Jack: We're related to her through her sister Mary Esty, who hanged. One of our other colleagues, Mary Bingham, is also a descendant of Mary Esty. And then I also descend from Rebecca, cuz their grandchildren married. But it was a great aunt that had been doing family history, and I, for a long time, alls I did was have this little pedigree on a piece of paper, and it said Rebecca Nurse hanged as a witch in Salem 1692, and I just didn't really do much for a long time on that. I just had no concept of the significance of that. 
What you said when you spoke to the pop culture and the archetype of the witch, I found so much of what you said very important. So thank you for articulating all of that. And it isn't lost on me that a lot of these countries right now with vulnerable women who are experiencing violence, their culture isn't in a place where western culture is with women in power. They don't have that opportunity to try to seize back power or find an identity like we can here. And I was just thinking about that, how that is definitely, they're in a different, where they fall in the social order, and I mean they have all of that stacked against them now.
[00:58:05] Karin Helmstaedt: Very interesting. It's interesting that your ancestor was also your ninth grade grandmother. So was mine. It is really interesting. When I of course sent the link to this film to my entire family in Germany, because actually I have a lot of relatives here. And it was so interesting that everybody knows that stone, because we have family reunions traditionally every four years or so of the German side, of my father's mother's side. And it's so interesting that we take a Sunday walk up to that stone. So I've been there many times, and we always talk about it and look at the names on the stone, and there she is. But nobody was very interested in finding out more.
So in the end, a lot of them were really delighted that I did find out a bit more and that we now know a bit more about her. And she was quite a feisty piece of work, too, which is I think possibly the finding that I was happiest about, because I felt really like I had been able to sketch her personality, figure out exactly what she was like, read some of these really key entries in some of the protocols, the trial protocols. That let me know what kind of a person she was, and she was a person who really spoke her mind, and that also possibly didn't play well for her. But it's nice to think that you've been able to give this person a bit of a profile, a bit of form again, so that people can understand. 
[00:59:37] Sarah Jack: You, were her voice now. I was really, I at her death, her meekness that she expressed with what she said, that's what Rebecca Nurse was like when she was in court, too. It's very interesting. They were strong women, and these are different women, different cultures, same, not quite the same era, cuz Rebecca was 70ish in the nineties, 1690s. But during her examination, often when she was questioned, she was standing up for herself ,not submitting to what they were saying necessarily. And it sounds like your grandmother was much like that.
[01:00:17] Karin Helmstaedt: Yes. And at the end, nevertheless was forced to make this admission and this kind of public apology that is, I think, the most heartbreaking moment. When I was reading all of that with Walter, that really hits your solar plexus, because what you realize is that there was no way out of the whole thing but to lie. And yet, for a woman of that level of religious faith and fervor that they had at that time, lying is also a mortal sin. And so you were lying to get out of this unbearable situation, and at the same time, really not even sure that you were gonna make it to the afterlife or that you were gonna be accepted into heaven, because you've just literally told a lie.
That I think is something that it's very hard for our modern, relatively, areligious existence and state of mind to relate to exactly how, what kind of a conflict that for a person. So that was I think, what really stuck with me, those two aspects for her.
[01:01:31] Josh Hutchinson: . Women speaking their mind is a persistent theme in witch trials we notice in Salem, the women who spoke back that they didn't believe that the bewitched people were actually bewitched, and they refused to go along with the story that they were told. And then the Witches of Scotland Podcast, Claire and Zoe often talk about the figure of the quarrelsome dame that recurred so often in the records. 
We're near the end of our time, so I wonder if you have any closing remarks.
[01:02:12] Karin Helmstaedt: I guess just thank you for having me on the podcast and for sharing your stories with me ,because it's, once again, amazing to me how many parallels there are with these stories and it's great to know that there are other people who are so interested in making that period of history come alive.
I think it's very important. We're living through a period here in Europe again where we're looking at how the mistakes of history get repeated and repeated, and it's all the easier to repeat them if people don't know what happened. So these are histories, I think the histories of these women that we're talking about, these victims that we're talking about, they're histories that haven't really been given much time, much space, much publication, as we know now, of course, there's all kinds of stories coming out and a lot of written accounts of even the witch trials in England and Scotland. And I'm planning to also write something about Margarethe, as well. You leave something for posterity for your own children and their children, because that stone is still standing on the top of that hill in Winningen, and people have to know what went on there.
[01:03:20] Sarah Jack: Mary is back with Minute with Mary. 
[01:03:31] Mary Bingham: The fun for me is deep diving into the documents to help tell the stories of the people who lived so long ago. When I started my work on Sarah Wilds, I read every online article I could find. Then I read all the entries in every book on the Salem Witch Trials I could find. Most said the same things about her, like she had an unsavory past based on two court cases, which are often quoted way out of context. Finally, I was able to purchase a copy of the Records of the Salem Witch-Hunt, my Salem Witch Trial Bible. It is a collection of all the available documents, verbatim and in chronological order.
I studied all of the depositions offered for and against Sarah, the petitions, her jail transfers, and everything else included in the documents, which were now at my fingertips. Looking at the original sources allowed me to get a glimpse of her life, her relationship to her husband and her son, as well as her neighbors.
Not any other book tells us that her son, Ephraim, thought of his mother as a friend. The primary document pertaining to his position for restitution does, whereas that document. In Records of the Salem Witch-Hunt. No other book tells us that Sarah shared a cart with Ann Pudeator on her return trip to the Salem Jail from Ipswich, except Records of the Salem Witch-Hunt. No other book quotes Sarah, when she angrily said to John and Joseph Andrews, "it is a brave world if everyone did what they would." After all, they took a scythe from a tree after Sarah said that there was none to lend. Records of the Salem Witch Hunts mentions this. This book is a must own for anyone seriously studying the witch trials.
Another great source for putting together great colonial stories, Records and Files of the Quarterly Courts of Essex County. This is the source I used for the story I will tell in next week's minute with Mary about the supposed witchcraft allegation against Joanna Towne, the mother of Rebecca Nurse, Mary Esty, and Sarah Cloyce.
Tune in next week. It's a great story. Thank you.
[01:06:07] Sarah Jack: Thank you, Mary.
[01:06:09] Josh Hutchinson: Now here's Sarah with End Witch Hunts News. 
[01:06:28] Sarah Jack: End Witch Hunts, a nonprofit 501(c)(3), Weekly News Update. 
Witch hunts across time. Witch hunts past. Witch hunts present. Once a person, once a child is targeted as a witch culprit, their old life is over. Nothing is ever the same for them again. The family is never whole. They are no longer in their home with the family unit, living life as it was prior to the accusations. Most often, extended family is no longer close, family is scattered. My ancestors tried for witchcraft were hanged in Salem, and we do not know for sure where their bodies were buried. Probably on family land. Rebecca Towne Nurse is likely on the homestead. Maybe Mary Towne Esty is on hers. 
We do know many of the Towne families scattered out into other settlements, other colonies after the Salem witch trials. My ancestor tried for witchcraft in Boston was acquitted, but to date records after the trial giving any sort of timeline for the remainder of her life have not been identified. Her life course was altered. What happened to Mary Hale? Her daughter, my ancestor tried for witchcraft in Connecticut, also acquitted, disappears from the record. We know she and her husband fled their land in Wallingford. We know where some of their daughters settled. But to date, Winifred Benham disappeared from the record after her final witch trial. What became of 4 year old little Dorothy Good, arrested and tried for witchcraft in the Salem Witch-Hunt? What happened to enslaved Tituba after the trials were over? We know nothing of Tituba's fate. Due to uncovered records in 2022, we know the unfortunate course Dorothy's life took. It was unsettled, she never landed on her feet. There was continued turmoil and misfortune. Learn more about those records next week on Thou Shalt Not Suffer Podcast when this important newly uncovered story is told by Rachel Christ Doane of the Salem Witch Museum.
What happened to those accused witches of the past, is not unlike what is happening today. Today, thousands of people are targeted and hunted. They are believed to have used sorcery or evil to cause misfortune to their family, neighbors, or community. In many, many countries today, misfortunes like dangerous weather and unexplained sickness or death are still believed to be caused by humans doing supernatural harm.
 In Ghana, women are hunted as witches, and thousands of them are now in refugee camps. These refugee camps are known as witch camps. The women sent away to them are alleged witches. They are innocent. They are not witches. These are not witch camps. These are refugee camps loaded with forgotten women. Women who have not forgotten the life they were torn from. Women who carry the visible scars and damage on their bodies from the attacks they endured. They survived brutal attacks, but now they are set aside. Their existence is buried in the past that they were plucked from. They are barely surviving, many of them do not survive. Thousands of women did not supernaturally cause mischief and misfortune. They were vulnerable and now they live a life uprooted, suffering from what has been done to them.
Once a person, once a child is targeted as a witch, their old life is over. Nothing is ever the same for them again. The family is never whole. They are no longer in their home with the family unit, living life as it was prior to the accusations. Most often extended family is no longer close, family is scattered.
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 and are taking action and are educating about it. The United Nations Human Rights Council is acknowledging the crisis and urging additional efforts by effected states and by all stakeholders. We are all stakeholders in efforts to stop these witch attacks and abuse crimes against women and children. When you see it in the news, read about it and share it. Educate yourself and others. Today you have heard from alleged witch descendant and journalist Karin Helmstaedt. Go watch her documentary today. Share it today. Her documentary, Why Witch Hunts are Not Just a Dark Chapter from the Past, features important interviews with several experts, including Advocacy for Alleged Witches director Dr. Leo Igwe, Witches of Scotland advocate Dr. Zoe Venditozzi, modern attack victims, and witch trial historians. You will see the faces of modern witch attack survivors and hear from their own voice what has happened to them. Please see the show description for the link to watch it. 
The Connecticut Witch Trial Exoneration Project has started to collaborate with individuals and organizations in discussion about a future Connecticut State Witch Trial Memorial. This will not be in the place of local community tributes for the individual victims like Alice Young, Goody Bassett, or Mary Barnes, for example. To join us in the early stages of brainstorming and recognizing what descendants and Connecticut residents would like put together to pay tribute and educate, please contact us now. 
Thou Shalt Not Suffer Podcast supports the global efforts to end modern witch hunts. Get involved. Financially support our nonprofit initiatives to educate and intervene. Visit to make a tax deductible contribution. You can also support us by purchasing books from our bookshop, merch from our Zazzle shop, or subscribing as a Thou Shalt Not Suffer Podcast super listener for as little as $3 a month at Keep our t-shirts, available on, in mind when you start to get excited about Halloween 2023 and buy some fun wear. Sport one of our awesome shirts and introduce people to the podcast or one of our projects by leaving your house looking cool.
[01:11:59] Josh Hutchinson: Thank you, Sarah.
[01:12:01] Sarah Jack: You're welcome.
[01:12:02] Josh Hutchinson: And thank you for listening to Thou Shalt Not Suffer: The Witch Trial Podcast.
[01:12:07] Sarah Jack: Join us next week.
[01:12:09] Josh Hutchinson: Subscribe wherever you get your podcasts.
[01:12:11] Sarah Jack: Visit
[01:12:14] Josh Hutchinson: Remember to tell your friends about the show.
[01:12:17] Sarah Jack: Please rate and review on Apple Podcasts or wherever you listen.
[01:12:21] Josh Hutchinson: Support our efforts to end witch hunts.
[01:12:23] Sarah Jack: Visit to learn more.
[01:12:26] Josh Hutchinson: Have a great today and a beautiful tomorrow.
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