Massachusetts Witch Trials with Alyssa Conary – Thou Shalt Not Suffer: The Witch Trial Podcast
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Introducing Alyssa G. A. Conary, Historian and Author of witchcraft, magic and 17th century New England. In this conversational episode covering Massachusetts witch trial history, Alyssa, Josh and Sarah discuss shocking aspects of these stories including the courts, magistrates, ministers, misogyny, what was written about the behavior of the accused, and the circumstances around their trials. Hear how the Boston witch trials, the Salem witch trials and the witch trials of Connecticut connect, compare and differ. Find out more about History Camp Boston 2023, where Alyssa presents her research. We address the importance of seeing and responding to humanity in all people on our planet. This discussion communicates End Witch Hunts’ message: Why do we witch hunt? How do we witch hunt? How do we stop hunting witches?
[00:00:20] 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: We're going back to Massachusetts this week.
[00:00:30] Sarah Jack: But not to Salem.
[00:00:32] Josh Hutchinson: That's right. We're taking a field trip this week.
[00:00:35] Sarah Jack: So pack a snack and enjoy the ride.
[00:00:39] Josh Hutchinson: You'll love this fun conversation along the way.
[00:00:42] Sarah Jack: We talk about the Boston Witch Trials.
[00:00:45] Josh Hutchinson: That's right. There were witch trials in Boston long before the Court of Oyer and Terminer convened in Salem.
[00:00:51] Sarah Jack: We talk about Margaret Jones, Elizabeth Kendall, Alice Lake, Anne Hibbins, Goody Glover, and Elizabeth Morse.
[00:01:00] Josh Hutchinson: And we learn a valuable lesson that we can all apply today.
[00:01:04] Sarah Jack: Alyssa G. A. Conary is a historian and writer. She will be giving her Boston Witch Trials presentation at History Camp this month, and she was kind enough to discuss some of it with Josh and myself. Grab your beverage, pull up your chair, and lean in.
[00:01:19] Josh Hutchinson: We hear that there were witch trials in Boston. Is that true?
[00:01:25] Alyssa Conary: Yes, there absolutely were.
[00:01:29] Josh Hutchinson: And approximately what years were these held? What kind of range are we looking at?
[00:01:35] Alyssa Conary: There's a little bit of a question as to when the first was. It was, usually people say 1648, but it's possible that it was 1647. And then that goes into the mid 17th century. And the last execution for the first era is 1656. And there's no executions for a really long time. There's some trials, but no executions. And then you have 1688, you have another execution. And then after that is Salem. So Salem that's just like a totally different story.
[00:02:12] Josh Hutchinson: Yes.
[00:02:13] Alyssa Conary: Yeah.
[00:02:14] Josh Hutchinson: Yeah. What are some of the key differences to make that a different story?
[00:02:22] Alyssa Conary: Salem is a witchcraft panic. It's funny, because you always want people to understand that witchcraft prosecution was not strange then. That was pretty normal, because people believed in witches. But even within the history of witchcraft prosecution, Salem was an outlier. Because before Salem in Massachusetts had just been like putting one or two people on trial at a time. There was periods of time in between. It was usually for some mundane misfortune or something like that, that someone would be accused. There are also more serious cases people thought people were being murdered by witchcraft, but which fascinates me, but that's, again, that's a whole other thing.
So for the most part it was just these pretty simple cases, and they didn't execute many people. I don't think they liked to execute people for witchcraft. The execution rate was pretty low. Then you get to Salem, and it's a full-blown witch panic. And you have the afflicted people, mostly girls, but there were some others.
Geographically, it's much wider than it had been in the past. There's way more suspects. There's tons of people in jail, and then you've got these judges who are using pretty much any kind of evidence that they wanna use and just convicting, literally everybody that they tried in 1692 was convicted and sentenced to death. So it's just something that is an outlier from the rest of the history of witchcraft in Massachusetts.
[00:03:57] Sarah Jack: And you're gonna be talking a little bit about this at History Camp. What is History Camp?
[00:04:03] Alyssa Conary: Yeah, History Camp is awesome. I think I went, I think it was maybe the first or second History Camp that I actually went to in 2015, I wanna say. And my, he wasn't my husband then, he is my husband now. We were best friends back then, but we were just like super excited about going to this, 'cause we're big history people and it sounded like perfectly nerdy and perfect for us.
So we went that year and didn't speak or anything, but it was just, it's just a full day of history lectures. And you get to choose which one you wanna go to. So there are different slots and like at any given time there's like several different lectures going on. So you can choose, okay, I wanna go to listen to this topic or that topic. And then this goes all day from nine to five. So it's just basically the best thing a nerd could ever attend.
[00:04:51] Josh Hutchinson: I really hope to be able to do that sometime. It sounds like a festival for history nerds.
[00:04:58] Alyssa Conary: It's great. It started as just this event, and then the founders of the event went on to, I think it was in 2019, they created a nonprofit organization called The Pursuit of History to oversee History Camp, and then they started taking it to different places, like I think there's one in Virginia now, and there's one in Philadelphia. That's the latest one. Started in Boston, but it's it's spreading, like Salem witchcraft. Sorry, that was lame.
[00:05:24] Josh Hutchinson: That's a perfect analogy.
[00:05:27] Sarah Jack: It's a, it's an exciting and positive one, though.
[00:05:31] Alyssa Conary: Yeah.
[00:05:32] Josh Hutchinson: You had mentioned early on that there was a gap in the executions between, I think 1656 and 1688. Why was there such a long period where they weren't executing anyone?
[00:05:47] Alyssa Conary: I think they, like I said, they didn't like to execute people. I think for a long time that they were just, "yeah, we're not really gonna do that anymore." Maybe, you know, it wasn't a conscious decision, but it was just, they were just very, it was actually a situation where from the top, the Court of Assistants, the judges, the center of the thing in Boston, they were like a mitigating force on this witchcraft accusing, so they'd be like, you know this, okay we'll hear this case, but it was hard to prove in court.
So it was hard. It was really, it was hard to get a conviction. And then you have 1688, which happens. That one's kind of weird, because you do have afflicted children, so it's like a, it's like a lead up to Salem. There is an execution in that case.
But before that, I just, I think that they were just slow to wanna execute people, which I feel like the stereotype of Massachusetts puritans is probably just the opposite, but, in my opinion, they didn't wanna do it. They felt like they had to sometimes, but they didn't love doing it.
[00:06:50] Josh Hutchinson: Yeah, in the early years, Connecticut was the place where you were more likely to get hanged, and that really surprises people.
[00:06:58] Alyssa Conary: Yes. Yeah. Connecticut in the 1660s had a big witch panic, and that was huge until Salem happened and Salem was much bigger. But yeah, Connecticut was not a good place to be accused of witchcraft.
[00:07:13] Sarah Jack: And the 1688 case, was that Goody Glover?
[00:07:17] Alyssa Conary: That's Goody Glover. Yep.
[00:07:19] Sarah Jack: And why was she chosen as a scapegoat?
[00:07:22] Alyssa Conary: She was Irish. And it's interesting, because there is that scapegoating aspect of witch hunting, but at the same time, usually the majority of people that are being accused are members of the community who are basically just like their accusers, the same religion, oftentimes they're neighbors. They're pretty much like the same people that they're accusing. It's like this purge from within a community.
But you would have, once in a while, you'd have someone who was inside a community, but who was an outsider on the inside. And that's the case with Goody Glover. She was an Irish Catholic woman, and her first language was Irish Gaelic. She was someone who stood out, and that could be part of the reason why she was accused to begin with.
[00:08:05] Josh Hutchinson: How many people were executed before Salem?
[00:08:10] Alyssa Conary: Before Salem, in Massachusetts, it's five people.
[00:08:13] Josh Hutchinson: And who was the first one?
[00:08:16] Alyssa Conary: The first one, that's a little bit confusing because it could have either been, most sources say Margaret Jones, but there's some question as to when Elizabeth Kendall was executed. It could have been earlier, but we're not positive, because the sources are very bare.
[00:08:32] Sarah Jack: And what are those early sources that discuss those two ladies?
[00:08:37] Alyssa Conary: So for the most part, with the five who are executed, who are the ones I've done the most research and reading on, there are no trial records for any of them, any of the five. There's some kind of strange gaps in the Court of Assistants records there. They're missing basically all of the early stuff.
I think it's in like the 1670s that, the record kind of begins. So they're missing the early stuff, and then strangely they're missing like 1687 and 1688, which is exactly when Goody Glover happens. So you really don't have court records for these five women, but you have contemporary accounts.
So with Margaret Jones, you have Governor Winthrop, his journal, which is great. And you also have John Hale's book, Reverend John Hale's book, Modest Enquiry into the Nature of Witchcraft. And then for Elizabeth Kendall, I think it's just Hale. That's the only source we have for her. And so we know it was sometime between 1647 and 1651. But we can't exactly be sure when.
[00:09:44] Sarah Jack: What does he say about her?
[00:09:46] Alyssa Conary: For Elizabeth Kendall?
Yeah. So he basically, he was very small. He actually visited some of these people in jail, John Hale, when he was a child. And I don't remember if he visited Elizabeth Kendall, it might've been actually Margaret Jones that he visited, but for Elizabeth Kendall. So what happened with her was she's interesting because, you always hear people believed in witchcraft. So I know there wasn't a lot of fraud. And I do believe that, I don't think that there was a lot of fraud, people accusing people knowing that they were lying about it. But this is a case where it's pretty obvious that's what happened.
So a nurse, so Elizabeth Kendall, she was from Cambridge. A nurse from Watertown accused her of bewitching a child to death, and the nurse testified that this is what she said here, actually have her words, "Elizabeth did make much of the child, and then the child was well, but quickly changed its color and died in a few hours after." So what happened is Goodman Jennings, who was the father of the child, he was apparently unaware of the evidence that was given against Elizabeth, because after she was executed, we don't know what was said in court or what the evidence was in court, 'cause we don't have the record, but after her execution, a deputy to the general court named Richard Brown went and talked to the Jennings family. And he asked whether the family had suspected Elizabeth of murdering their child. And the father was like, no. They thought the child's death was the nurse's fault, because she had kept the child outside in the cold for too long.
And this is the same nurse who testified against Elizabeth. So basically it looks like what happened was she just blamed Elizabeth for something that she had actually done. So the nurse was subsequently actually in prison for adultery, Hale says and she gave birth to a child, apparently in jail, and Richard Brown, the deputy to the general court, he visited her in jail and apparently told her, and I have that quote as well.
"It was just with God to leave her to this wickedness as a punishment for her murdering Goody Kendall by her false witness bearing." So there is a very clear example, early example of a fraudulent witchcraft accusation.
[00:11:57] Sarah Jack: Wow. That's so interesting, because that's like a question people have often about the different cases, and here is the story. That is the story. And then I was curious, you're calling her a nurse. How is that different than, so like for non historians who are, hear that healers or midwives are involved in which trials, what's that role of the nurse?
[00:12:22] Alyssa Conary: You know what? I'm not sure to be honest why she is called mmm a nurse. I think that might have just been like a modern word that they used to call her. I'm not sure that was actually in the historic testimony that they called her a nurse. I would have to double check about that. But but yeah you get to, you're mentioning that the healer midwife sort of myth, which I've actually been thinking a lot about lately.
So you can see that people in the medical profession were also accusing others. So it wasn't, it wasn't just people coming after healers and midwives. Actually midwives mostly gave evidence against accused witches, because they would be the ones who would search their bodies for witch marks.
But that being said, there is something to it. There's some kernel of truth in this this myth that healers were targeted. I don't think that there's evidence in New England for the doctors going after midwives. That's one big myth. I don't think there's evidence for that, but, and Paul Moyer actually, who just recently published a book about witch hunting in the Atlantic world, he looks at New England, but he ties it into things that were happening in England at the same time. So he describes it really well. He says that there's no like clearcut connection between midwifery and witchcraft accusations. But there is this sort of connection between like healing in general and like medical practice in general, because being a healer, you'd be put in these situations where someone could end up dying under your care.
And then that was the perfect opportunity for a family member to accuse you of witchcraft. So just by the nature of the profession, you were more vulnerable, I think. I don't think that there were a lot of healers accused, but it did happen. There's some truth to it. Truth for sure.
[00:14:11] Josh Hutchinson: Yeah, I haven't seen many that stand out as like professional healers. I've seen a lot who seem to have had things in their medicine cabinet, so to speak, that they used to treat people within their own home. Yeah.
[00:14:28] Alyssa Conary: Of course. Yeah. Which is what mainly would be the role of the woman in the house. As far as the people who were known as healers, I think out of the like 27 that are tried in Mass Bay before Salem, I think there's only four who were known as being healers in their community.
So it did happen, but probably wasn't an organized conspiracy against healers and midwives.
[00:14:54] Sarah Jack: We did some research when we were working on our episodes that we put out on the Connecticut history and looking at some of those individuals, and sometimes an author would label somebody a healer, but there was maybe one thing mentioned that could be viewed at in a different way even, or just as the medicine cabinet healer
[00:15:25] Alyssa Conary: right.
[00:15:25] Sarah Jack: there, is there record or diary or anything that ever talks about one of these women who you know was doing that for her neighbors regularly?
[00:15:36] Alyssa Conary: I think with the four that are more known as healers in their communities, there's I don't know of any diaries. I just know of contemporary accounts of their accusations. I know, let's see, there's one, Mary Hale, she's a Boston widow. She had a sort of, I don't wanna call a hospital, but like a place where people came to be like cared for.
And this ended up not, it didn't end well for her because she was accused of witchcraft, but she was acquitted, so she was never executed. But for the most part, like Josh was saying, it's unclear, because medical care was usually done at home by the woman in the house. So someone could be involved with healing, but not necessarily be known as a healer.
[00:16:24] Sarah Jack: And Mary Hale is my 10th great grandmother.
[00:16:27] Alyssa Conary: Stop it. Are you serious?
[00:16:29] Sarah Jack: If like the records indicate that she was indeed Winifred Benham's mother, have you looked at that at all?
[00:16:38] Alyssa Conary: No, I haven't.
[00:16:39] Sarah Jack: Winifred Benham was and her daughter, Winifred Junior, were the last case tried in Hartford, in 1697. But if you go back to Mary Hale's case, her granddaughter, Joanna, ties Mary and Winifred, because Joanna is Winifred's daughter.
[00:17:00] Alyssa Conary: Wow. It runs in families, right?
[00:17:03] Sarah Jack: Yeah. And it's interesting, both Mary and Winifred Senior disappear from the record after their trials. There's nothing that shows when they died or where they went. Joanna, you can trace into New York and Winifred Junior, you can trace her marriage too. But both of those senior women, we know nothing after they were acquitted.
[00:17:26] Alyssa Conary: Yeah, I know there's so many like that, because 17th century women, there's not much to start with. There's not that much out there about them. So yes. So many of these women, we do lose them after the trials. That's the last we hear of them. That's fascinating, Mary, so you're a Hale. Wow. Very cool.
[00:17:45] Sarah Jack: Yeah. And I didn't understand that connection until our Connecticut Witch Trial Exoneration Project started, 'cause we just were doing more research. And since that's my direct, Winifred was my interest in the Connecticut witch trials. That case, there's a lot of, it's not misinformation, but it's not primary source information that's been passed around, where she's possibly buried, which there's actually no indication of her burial, 'cause there's no indication of her death either.
But there's a really great article that I found that talks about the trial records for Mary Hale and then that's how that author made the connection. And that was exciting to me, because that was like, oh, this is record because with Winifred and Winifred Junior, there's not much actual trial record.
[00:18:37] Alyssa Conary: For Mary Hale there, there is an entry in the Court of Assistants that mentions her. There's not transcripts. I don't think there are trial transcripts for any of them, but yeah, I do remember seeing Mary Hale was mentioned in the Court of Assistants records as a widow from Boston.
[00:18:53] Josh Hutchinson: Yeah. Were there other cases that you know of witchcraft being passed down in the family?
[00:19:01] Alyssa Conary: Oh yeah, for sure. The one that comes to mind right now is Ann Burt from Lynn, who is one of the women actually who was known as a healer and, in the community. And she was tried and evidently acquitted. I don't know if there's an actual record of her acquittal, but she shows up later, so we know she wasn't executed, so she was probably acquitted. Her granddaughter is Elizabeth Proctor from the Salem Trials. So there was that suspicion hanging on her, because of her grandmother being accused of witchcraft. I think it is mentioned at least once.
[00:19:42] Sarah Jack: Yeah, I was curious about that. How many of these earlier trials in Massachusetts maybe had some connections to Salem or other trials?
[00:19:53] Alyssa Conary: Yeah. You have the same, it is the same guys in charge in the mid to late 17th century. So you have some of the same judges at the trials. Mary Hale's acquittal, you have Nathaniel Saltonstall, William Stoughton, Bartholomew Gedney, and John Richards are the judges involved, and she's acquitted. Mary Webster, 1683, you have William Stoughton and Bartholomew Gedney and also acquitted. James Fuller, acquitted in 1683, also you have William Stoughton which it just makes me wonder if he was just seething, because we know he was very enthusiastic about convicting witches. There must have been, like I said, these sort of other forces that were keeping it in check back in the 1680s, and then when Salem happened, he just got to let it rip pretty much. So yeah, you do have some of the same guys that are on the Court of Assistants.
And then you have a couple of Salem victims who are actually accused for the first time earlier in the century. Susannah Martin, who's actually my husband's ancestor, she was acquitted of witchcraft in 1669. And then you have Bridget Bishop, she's acquitted in, presumably acquitted, 'cause obviously she wasn't killed until later. In 1680 so she's not Bridgett Bishop, yet, she's Bridget Oliver at that time.
So you do have some people showing up in more than one story and then showing up again in Salem, for sure.
[00:21:19] Sarah Jack: It was so enjoyable to hear you say who was sitting at her trial, Mary Hale's. Thank you I had not seen that yet.
[00:21:27] Alyssa Conary: It's four of the guys who were on the Court of Oyer and Terminer. And I think it's interesting that Saltonstall was on there. He's the one who left early on. He is, "you know what? I don't have the stomach for this. I'm gonna, I'm gonna take off," we presume.
[00:21:41] Josh Hutchinson: It is fascinating.
[00:21:43] Alyssa Conary: Yeah. It's the same guys, it's just something changed. Basically, what changed for Salem was that there was no one in charge after the charter was revoked. And even though they had this new charter in 1691, they hadn't reestablished the courts or the laws yet. So it was the governor, Phips, was like, "let's set up this court illegally." And the judges got to pretty much convict people however they wanted to. That's one reason why Salem got so out of hand, because these guys are, it's the inmates running the asylum here. There are no rules. There's no one in charge really.
[00:22:21] Sarah Jack: It makes me think of this meme that I've seen. The guy hands a note to this officer, and the officer reads it, and it says, "oh, this just says you can do whatever you want."
[00:22:32] Alyssa Conary: So basically what happens, that's what Phips gave to William Stoughton. He had carte blanc. Phips didn't want anything to do with it. He just wanted it to go away. So he just hands it over to them and is, "okay, do what needs to be done."
[00:22:45] Sarah Jack: Whereas the Boston Court was running for more than just...
[00:22:50] Alyssa Conary: Exactly, yep. It was a center of political power. And it was, there was checks and balances, which is not, again, what people think about Puritan New England as being this moderate place. It is obviously, it's religiously driven, but they took laws seriously, and they didn't, like I said, I, they didn't wanna execute a bunch of people.
Yeah it, and it changes. It changes, and it has a lot to do with the politics. And I think the best book for understanding kind of the situation with the charter and with the political climate is Emerson Baker, A Storm of Witchcraft. If anybody's really interested in learning more about the judges and the politics, he does a really excellent job of explaining that whole dynamic.
[00:23:33] Josh Hutchinson: I'm wondering, was there a lot of spectral evidence involved in cases outside of Salem?
[00:23:41] Alyssa Conary: No, absolutely not. It was not seen as very reliable or valid evidence. And of course, in England you have these guys writing handbooks on how to prosecute witches. And there's some differing opinions. Some of them do put stock in spectral evidence, and others say, "no, it can't be used to prove witchcraft."
But for the most part, I think in New England, in the 17th century, no, they didn't wanna use that to convict people. The big thing that would get you convicted was a confession, again, before Salem, because Salem is completely different. But before Salem, you wanna get that confession. But that doesn't happen very often.
So another way to get a conviction would be to have two witnesses who witness the same sort of act of witchcraft. And that was another big way to get people convicted. But no, spectral evidence was not really seen as a reliable way to prosecute people. I think with Elizabeth Morse from Newbury, who actually was convicted in 1679 but then reprieved, actually, I think it's John Hale, who later says her being reprieved might've had something to do with the fact that the judges did use some spectral evidence to convict her and then subsequently realized, "okay, maybe we shouldn't have done that." So yeah, no, it was not reliable.
And then again, like we have said a million times, and then in Salem it was just like night and day. It was just like, okay, we're just gonna use, it's, it was a free for all.
[00:25:12] Josh Hutchinson: Yeah. And it's like you said, a lot of the same people making the decision to suddenly include spectral evidence.
[00:25:21] Alyssa Conary: It makes you wonder what they were thinking at those earlier trials where people were being acquitted. I think about Stoughton just probably super angry every single time someone was acquitted. He had to play by the rules.
[00:25:34] Sarah Jack: He was ready to unleash when 1692 came.
[00:25:38] Alyssa Conary: Yeah, he was ready. He was ready. To me, he's the biggest villain. He's the biggest Salem villain in my mind, for sure.
[00:25:44] Josh Hutchinson: I agree. One that judge that surprises me is Waitstill Winthrop, because his father, John Winthrop, Jr. was very opposed to spectral evidence, and he brought in the two witness rule into Connecticut witch trial cases, and then Waitstill's like, "whatever Dad."
[00:26:06] Alyssa Conary: John Winthrop, Jr. It's funny. And then you go back to his father and his father was just like super haunted by all of this stuff and did some very strange things. But yeah, it is interesting that Waitstill Winthrop then, maybe it was a way to differentiate himself from his father.
[00:26:24] Josh Hutchinson: Sided with granddad or something.
[00:26:28] Alyssa Conary: I mean, I think Winthrop was pretty earnest in wanting to believe what he thought was the right thing to believe. But yeah, you can't read his diary without thinking, "wow, the guy was such a jerk." Yeah, he said some pretty interesting things, and the antinomian controversy, he did some pretty questionable things. Yeah, that, it is really interesting to look at those three generations and how their opinions differed and their actions differed, for sure.
[00:26:55] Josh Hutchinson: Yeah. I noticed the victims we've talked about so far have all been women. Why were women the predominant victims of witch trials?
[00:27:08] Alyssa Conary: The short answer is that they were believed to be more susceptible to the devil. And I always giggled to myself when I see that in, in a book and the scholar will say it wasn't because of misogyny, it was because they were believed to be more susceptible to witchcraft. And then I say to myself, "isn't that pretty misogynistic?" I don't know. And this isn't every book about witchcraft, but it's just a few times I've read these people dance around it. They don't want it, they don't wanna admit that it's misogyny. But it's absolutely an aspect I think it wasn't, again, just like with the midwives, I don't think it was this coordinated conspiracy like, "oh, we're gonna, call them witches just so we can kill them." No, they really believed in witches for the most part. But yeah, they thought women were more likely to be witches, and something like four out of five of people accused, I think, I wanna say it was four out of five were women. Something like 80 to 90% I wanna say. And that differed in other parts of the world. There were some places where actually more men were accused. But when we're talking about England and New England, there is an aspect of misogyny to it. Women were definitely more likely to be believed to be witches for sure.
[00:28:18] Sarah Jack: I wish there was more information on Thomas Jones. There's some secondary mentioning of his being accused or arrested after his wife had been hanged for witchcraft. I don't know any more than that, but I know that's like somewhat different than some of the other situations where the husband and the wife were arrested together, and then the husband was not found guilty.
That would be in Connecticut, or the couple in Connecticut where they were both found guilty. I wanted to know more of this backstory with the Jones that when his wife was hanged, it wasn't over. I wish I knew. And then is he the first man that we know of in Massachusetts who was accused?
[00:29:00] Alyssa Conary: I'm not sure about that. That is pretty, pretty early. He's definitely one of the first, and he is absolutely. He is put in jail. But he's never prosecuted, I don't think. And then you get to the Parsons where it's the opposite. But yeah, you do see these sort of like married sort of duos where they'll both be accused, but generally speaking it was much more likely that the wife would be executed statistically speaking. So there you go again.
[00:29:33] Josh Hutchinson: Yeah, and it's really similar. We've had guests on recently talking about witch hunts today, and you still see that pattern with the women in most locations. There are like regions of Papua New Guinea where more men are accused, regions of other nations where more men are accused. But overall, it's still that very high ratio of
[00:30:01] Alyssa Conary: Yeah.
[00:30:01] Josh Hutchinson: women to men.
[00:30:04] Alyssa Conary: And I think it's a bigger question. Why do men kill women? Like I said, it's not, the witchcraft accusations, it's not a coordinated conspiracy clearly, but there's gotta be some reason why men kill women. It's just, it's always been that way. It's still that way today. I think we have to ask those questions, like, why? And maybe instead of shying away from the misogyny piece, confront it.
[00:30:30] Josh Hutchinson: Yes.
[00:30:31] Sarah Jack: Yeah.
We need to do it for the future victims. Discussing it, talking about it, those conversations have to become more comfortable.
[00:30:41] Alyssa Conary: Yeah, absolutely. I think as far as like the witchcraft scholarship goes, the early stuff, the Margaret Murray and all of that, and the fertility cults and the, I, people wanted to react against that scholarship and didn't wanna make it about misogyny, but it's there. It's there, and we can't ignore it.
[00:31:02] Josh Hutchinson: It's pretty plain when you see the comments of some of the people in the New England Witch Trials, at least, some of the comments that the men made about the women, like Cotton Mather's not my favorite guy. He's not he's not so nice when he writes about, say, Martha Carrier as a rampant hag, and John Winthrop's not so kind calling everybody a witch and everything.
[00:31:34] Alyssa Conary: oh, Yeah, Winthrop, man, he writes some real misogynistic stuff. Cotton Mather, he's fascinating to me, cause initially he's telling the judges to use caution at Salem. And then he becomes the guy who does the whole government defense of the trials.
But yeah, yeah, one thing, Winthrop, he really, the way he wrote about Margaret Jones to me was like, ugh. Wow. He talks about her "behavior," quote unquote, at her trial. And I have his quote here somewhere, and it's just, here it is. "Her behavior at trial was very intemperate, lying notoriously and railing upon the jury and witnesses. And in the distemper, she died. The same day and hour she was executed, there was a very great tempest at Connecticut, which blew down many trees."
And it's dude, like, if you were about to be executed, maybe you'd be acting intemporately, like I think, and then you get the account from Hale about her, and Hale is saying he went to visit Margaret, and they had urged her to confess, and she had insisted, "as for witchcraft," this is the quote, "as for witchcraft, she was wholly free from it, and so she said unto her death," and it just gives her like more of this like earnest sort of victim, description of her as like this earnest victim. And then you have Winthrop who's basically describing her as like this crazy woman who's yelling and screaming.
But of course she was, like, she was going to be executed for something that she was denying, and she was terrified, and she was angry. And it's just like what he says, it's just just being a crazy woman, just lying and railing upon people. And yeah, that one has always really bothered me.
[00:33:16] Josh Hutchinson: Yeah, that's like blaming her for you, just saying, oh, she was hysterical. And uh, you know, he doesn't use the word.
[00:33:25] Alyssa Conary: Pretty much. Yes. She's a hysterical woman. It's like women weren't allowed to be people at so many times in history and even today, but we don't even have to touch that. Obviously it's an issue. Obviously misogyny is an issue. It always has been. And it is still today.
[00:33:44] Sarah Jack: I wonder how Margaret's fight for her life, since she was one of the early ones, intimidated the next women.
[00:33:57] Alyssa Conary: Yeah.
[00:33:57] Sarah Jack: It didn't play out well for her. Her fight didn't, and then they're being read or reading the account that there was the hearsay of the account or they witnessed it, and then how she was recorded in history.
[00:34:11] Alyssa Conary: It's terrifying. There's also this account after she's indicted of her sitting with her friend, Alice Stratton. And the account was given that she that Alice Stratton had a bible on her lap, and they were both crying, and that has always hit me pretty hard, too. Margaret Jones is fascinating to me and I just wish that we knew more about her. So you get this whole gamut of emotions from this woman who's facing this terrifying thing and it just makes it so real.
[00:34:44] Sarah Jack: yeah.
[00:34:44] Alyssa Conary: You read these accounts. Yeah. Makes it so immediate and scary and I'm sure people reading about that, hearing about that, more likely, would've been terrifying to hear for sure.
[00:34:58] Sarah Jack: And possibly at that point she had hope that someone was gonna hear her message and hear her plea. It was worth fighting for it, because what if somebody stands up for her?
[00:35:12] Alyssa Conary: Exactly. And nobody did. And apparently she made the weather really bad in Connecticut.
[00:35:19] Josh Hutchinson: Yeah.
[00:35:20] Alyssa Conary: Silly.
That, that was a big, that was a big witchcraft belief back then was that witches could control the weather. But yeah, it's just, it's very sad.
[00:35:29] Josh Hutchinson: On this topic of misogyny, I was thinking about how the women were physically examined, at least at Salem. Were they physically inspected in these earlier trials, as well?
[00:35:43] Alyssa Conary: Yeah. And that would actually mostly be by other women. And yeah, it, I mean it went on in the earlier trials too, to find, try to find, the witches teat or the witches mark that was not good enough to convict someone, but it was good, like corroborating evidence if they had other evidence. And God knows what they were actually looking at. I actually think Alice Stratton had something to say about that, because they did supposedly find a witch's mark on Margaret Jones. Yeah, she they found a witch's teet, and Alice Stratton says it's just an injury related to childbirth.
[00:36:19] Josh Hutchinson: Like Rebecca Nurse.
[00:36:20] Alyssa Conary: Exactly, yeah, exactly. They're seeing these marks or whatever, which probably have perfectly reasonable explanations, but but yeah, they are it is, it's it's an assault. It's an assault being, their bodies being searched, for sure. But like I said, it was usually women who did it, but I'm not gonna, I'm sure at some point there were men doing it as well. And that's horrifying to think about. But yeah, that's an assault, basically.
[00:36:46] Josh Hutchinson: Yeah, it's so invasive, and I've noticed in my reading of witch trials that for women, the witch's teet is almost always found in the secret parts. For men, it's on their shoulder or their neck or something.
[00:37:05] Alyssa Conary: That, That. Interesting. Yeah.
[00:37:07] Josh Hutchinson: So yeah, they didn't get the same
[00:37:09] Alyssa Conary: like someone's just really preoccupied with a female genitalia. There's so much, there's so much here that is just so clear, so clearly, just.
[00:37:21] Sarah Jack: Preoccupied but unaware at the same time. It's surprising that they couldn't start to understand it since they were looking at it
[00:37:30] Alyssa Conary: interesting is
If they had midwives looking for it, these midwives must have seen things like that before. So why would they be so quick to say, were they pressured into saying it ever that it was a witch, I don't know. I that's the thing is you always wish you could be there and see the things that happened that weren't written about, and I can only imagine. I can only imagine. I bet some women went through some really horrible things
[00:37:55] Sarah Jack: Rebecca said, take another look. Have an actual expert look, because
[00:38:01] Alyssa Conary: Yeah.
[00:38:02] Sarah Jack: is wrong.
[00:38:03] Alyssa Conary: Yeah. Her case is, that's a tough one.
[00:38:07] Sarah Jack: she's she's my ninth great grandma. So I get real
[00:38:11] Alyssa Conary: How many,
[00:38:12] Sarah Jack: her
[00:38:13] Alyssa Conary: oh, wow. Do you have any more? Is that the only two? Mary Hale and Rebecca Nurse
[00:38:18] Sarah Jack: so mary, It is a lot. Mary Esty, her sister, their grandchildren married and I descend. There's a line of Russells that goes down several generations and I descend out of there. And so I knew about Rebecca since I was a teenager. And then as I started doing my own research seven years ago or so, I realized, oh, Mary is my grandmother too.
[00:38:41] Alyssa Conary: fascinating.
[00:38:42] Sarah Jack: a few years after that, I discovered Winifred on my dad's, side of my tree. And then I'm like, oh, I wanna find out where her memorial is. And then the rest
[00:38:51] Alyssa Conary: So when did your family leave New England? 'cause they must have been there early on.
[00:38:55] Sarah Jack: They all left pretty quickly. So the Towne descendants moved into Vermont, that I come from, and then my line left Vermont about five generations back from me and moved into the Midwest. So I am, I'm an Iowan. And All of my New England ancestors, and there's a lot, they ended up coming through Ohio, Minnesota, Illinois, Iowa.
[00:39:22] Alyssa Conary: Oh, that's fascinating. My husband, he is his family, it's like they came over from England and they're still there. Like they never, it's, he is, oh my gosh. He's related to so many colonial people. And like I said, Susannah Martin is his ancestor, which I find, I always look at my kids and think, wow, it's really cool, because she was such a firecracker. I really think that's a plus to be a descendant of Susannah Martin. She was awesome.
[00:39:50] Sarah Jack: Awesome.
[00:39:51] Alyssa Conary: But he, let's see, I think he's a Towne as well, somehow not a direct descendant of one of the sisters, but one of a descendant of one of their brothers. I think. I have no ancestors that I know of that my, all my ancestors were Quaker, not, I haven't found any that were actually executed, but definitely put in jail a lot.
[00:40:10] Josh Hutchinson: Wow.
[00:40:11] Alyssa Conary: yeah.
[00:40:12] Josh Hutchinson: Yeah. I'm also a Mary Esty descendant. My grandfather was from Danvers and he just moved to California after World War II. He, the Navy sent him there and he stayed so up until two generations ago, a quarter of my family at least was Essex County
[00:40:35] Alyssa Conary: You're recently from Danvers. Yeah. That's fascinating
[00:40:37] Josh Hutchinson: Yeah.
Pretty recently. Just yeah, just a couple generations ago. I feel a closeness to Danvers and that area and
[00:40:47] Alyssa Conary: I love Danvers.
[00:40:49] Josh Hutchinson: Uh, like dozens of ancestors and close relatives that were involved in Salem on the accuser side as well as the accused and the in-between just playing different roles, giving testimony, signing petitions.
[00:41:07] Alyssa Conary: Her letter, Mary Easty's letter, that, that blows my mind. They just, the Peabody Essex Museum had a, an exhibit, a Salem Witch Trials exhibit, and they actually had the actual piece of paper on display. And that was crazy to see. Yeah.
[00:41:23] Sarah Jack: Yeah. You know that no more innocent should die. She said that in 1692, and that hasn't stopped yet. So I'm really motivated by those words of her to keep pulling out the education and pushing out the word, because the innocent need to stop dying. They, those women who were pleading for their lives then didn't want others to suffer.
[00:41:54] Alyssa Conary: And it's happening.
[00:41:56] Sarah Jack: Yeah.
[00:41:56] Alyssa Conary: again and again. Yeah.
[00:41:59] Sarah Jack: I was curious if you wanted to tell us anything about the hanging site in Boston.
[00:42:03] Alyssa Conary: Yeah. Traditionally, people have believed that in the 17th century the hangings were on Boston Common. And I know that in later centuries, actually, there were a few people hanged on Boston Common, as we know it today. But in the 17th century there were other pieces of land that were common land, and if you look at the maps from the early 18th century that exist, the gallows was actually on Boston Neck on some common land there. It's likely that sort of led to the misconception that they were happening on Boston Common, because that was also Boston land. So there is evidence, at least by the mid 17th century that yeah, people were, the gallows people were being executed on Boston Neck, which was this little tiny strip of land that connected the Shawmut Peninsula to the mainland.
Now there's a bunch of landfill around it, it's, there isn't a tiny little strip of land anymore, but it's clearly marked on these early 18th century maps that that was the execution site,
[00:43:01] Josh Hutchinson: So basically instead of hanging them in the center of town, they're taking them out towards the edge of town.
[00:43:10] Alyssa Conary: Which was usually the case in 17th century New England, is they would execute people outside of town.
[00:43:16] Sarah Jack: Which is a possible detail in Connecticut, in Hartford, possibly. We don't know.
[00:43:25] Alyssa Conary: Do they, I don't even, you know what, I'm so uneducated about the Connecticut trials, even though I find them absolutely fascinating. Do they have a, know of the execution site in Hartford?
[00:43:34] Josh Hutchinson: We think that we have a leading contender for it. It's, there's an old land transfer from the early 18th century that references a plot of land where the gallows once stood, and you can trace that, who owned that land, through the generations up till now, how it's transferred over the years, and what it's transformed into.
But there's a legend that goes along with it of the Witch Elm. And back in 1930, they tore this witch elm down. So it, that doesn't stand there anymore. But the gallows were supposedly, like near that tree. That tree was the landmark. It used to be on a rise, which has since been graded down level, but it was up above, and it's about a mile from downtown Hartford. So again, it was on the town edge, it was on a road leading to the cow pasture. And yeah, it's just at the edge of what the town was at the time.
[00:44:47] Alyssa Conary: Yeah. Yeah. Which that is to be expected, which is the reason why Boston Neck is such a better location than Boston Common, because it was on the outside of town. So that's at least, Anne Hibbins and Goody Glover I'm pretty sure it would've been Boston Neck. Yeah.
[00:45:06] Sarah Jack: And would've they discarded the bodies right there?
[00:45:09] Alyssa Conary: I think that was usually the practice with executions. I don't specifically know of any evidence, but it's probably, it's safe to say that is most likely what would've happened, yep.
[00:45:21] Josh Hutchinson: Okay. The question, what lessons can we learn from the past witch trials that we could apply today?
[00:45:30] Alyssa Conary: Oh man. Yeah, that's a, I actually love, as a historian, on the one hand, you have to be able to recognize that the past is unique and that it has to be looked at for the sake of looking at it. And it has to be looked at from its own perspective. But, that being said, I think, I do think that there are, lessons. I do think that if history doesn't necessarily repeat itself, but it rhymes. Someone said that once, I cannot remember who said that, but I loved it that history rhymes. So I think it is very useful to look for lessons.
And as far as witch trials go, I think the lesson is to not get carried away. If you're looking at things like Salem, singling people out and demonizing them is something that humans have always done. But we can get into this sort of mode where we're not even seeing clearly anymore, where it's just like other people aren't even people to us anymore. And I think being able to pull ourselves back and ground ourselves back in, in a place where we can look at others and actually see them as people is really important.
And it's scary, because, America today and like how divided we are. It's such a cliche, but it's true. And people, I feel like people don't even really see the humanity of other people at times. So I think that's the lesson is just stay in touch with people's humanity, other people's humanity. Don't forget about it. So I think that's probably one of the biggest lessons.
[00:47:13] Sarah Jack: I think that's such a good reminder, because if things are hard and ugly, which surround a lot of witch hunting situations, and you hold onto that strand of humanity, it's the lifeline. It can pull everyone through to the other side less harmed. Working together, finding the common ground, healing through something together instead of divided would be great.
[00:47:43] Alyssa Conary: Absolutely. Yeah. To think more about what you have in common than what might be different. That I think that loss of humanity is, and you see it in all kinds of discrimination and singling out of people. So it's just important to not forget that we need to take care of each other. That is just like something that is just gets so lost today is there's just no concept of I think the the sort of importance of taking care of other people is just like completely lost in our political discourse today. Yeah. It's all about seeing the humanity of others for sure.
[00:48:24] Josh Hutchinson: Right now there's a lack of a collective, a feeling of that our society is a collective
[00:48:33] Alyssa Conary: a
[00:48:34] Josh Hutchinson: society. Yes. It's more I am out for me. Yeah, and you're out for you and yeah.
And then it's easy if I have a problem to go blame it on somebody else. I don't want to take responsibility. Like the case you mentioned earlier where with the nurse and the baby died, because she had it out in the cold, if that's the way it went down. It's the same kind of thing today where something bad happens and you weren't prepared for it and instead of saying, "how could I have prepared for this?" You say, "who's responsible?"
[00:49:16] Alyssa Conary: Exactly. Yeah. Yeah. There's just that loss of the idea of actually being responsible for the people around you.
[00:49:25] Josh Hutchinson: We talked to economist Boris Gershman about what can be done about witch trials, and he was talking about how having a social safety net is important, because people are less likely to go out looking for who to blame if they've got some kind of backup, insurance. And I've heard that the ending of the early modern witch hunts, it coincided with a lot of institutionalization, but it also coincided with the advent of insurance.
[00:50:00] Alyssa Conary: I think that's valid. Absolutely. When people are without any sort of help or any sense that things are gonna get better or that they can be better, absolutely the tendency for human beings is to lash out and blame someone. But yeah, no, I think there's absolutely something to that makes sense.
[00:50:20] Josh Hutchinson: To change the subject a little bit, the question that just came to me was, had to do with Matthew Hopkins of England, the infamous witchfinder general that he called himself.
[00:50:36] Alyssa Conary: Okay.
[00:50:37] Josh Hutchinson: He wrote his book, A Discovery of Witches. And in that book he talks about his methods that he used and those included things like watching people to see if their familiars came to feed. Were any of those techniques employed in the Massachusetts Witch Trials?
[00:50:57] Alyssa Conary: Yes, Margaret Jones was watched, and that was, it's funny, because it was, that's around the same time that's happening in England. So they are reading and hearing about Matthew Hopkins and that's evidence that they're using some of the same tactics here. So that's great evidence of the sort of back and forth that's happening between England and New England at the time. She was watched while she was in jail and I mean I, it could be seen as a form of torture, really. It's Matthew Hopkins. Wow. That whole thing was horrifying. Again, Paul Moyer's book, which why can't I think of the title?
[00:51:36] Josh Hutchinson: Detestable and Wicked Arts.
[00:51:38] Alyssa Conary: That's it. Yes. I love it. I've read it twice.
He actually does, he makes that argument that, it's not a coincidence that this all starts up in New England around, 47, 48. That they are, hearing about what he's doing and going for it. And I think that makes a lot of sense.
[00:51:56] Josh Hutchinson: Yeah, I
[00:51:57] Alyssa Conary: But as far as
his methods go, I think Margaret Jones is the only one that I can think of specifically that we'd know one of his tactics was used.
[00:52:05] Josh Hutchinson: okay. Yeah. I think that people have this vision of New England as really being this independent entity, but it's obviously, it was very close with England, even though not geographically. You talked about the flow of information going back and
[00:52:26] Alyssa Conary: Mm-hmm. Mm-hmm. Yeah, they're, they're English. These are English people living across the Atlantic Ocean, but they're still English. And there is this back and forth, around the time of the English Civil Wars and you have people going back to England to fight for Cromwell.
And you even have Hugh Peters who's one of the first Salem Reverends who goes back and he becomes, he's executed. He is one of the regicides who's executed for being a conspirator in the death of Charles I so there's absolutely. And there has been some written about this. I feel like there, it's not a ton, but I feel it's an area that's probably rich for a lot more research. But you do see these events in history that really remind you that these are English people living in New England.
[00:53:17] Josh Hutchinson: It is interesting, like you said, when these witch trials start in New England, because in Connecticut you have Alice Young in 1647, and that's Matthew Hopkins time right there.
[00:53:32] Alyssa Conary: Yeah, it's right there. It's something that I actually wondered about years ago and was like, I wonder if that's a thing and that, Moyer's book comes out and he just really lays it all out, like in a way that is just it's so obvious, that and it's crazy that no one had ever, really explicitly stated that before. But that's another book that I highly recommend if you're interested in this, because it's just phenomenal.
[00:53:56] Josh Hutchinson: Another great book on that Malcolm Gaskill's The Ruin of All Witches
[00:54:02] Alyssa Conary: Yep.
[00:54:02] Josh Hutchinson: And,
[00:54:04] Alyssa Conary: that book.
[00:54:05] Josh Hutchinson: He also talks about the other factor in New England's settled first in 1620 and then Salem's founded in 1626. And there's people there for a couple decades before you start to see these trials. And I thought that his explanation of it takes a lot of like neighborhood friction basically building up these tensions and suspicions build up over the years.
[00:54:36] Alyssa Conary: Yeah. They don't have beefs with anyone, yet. It's, everyone's just gotten here, so it takes some time. For sure. That's a, an absolutely spot on observation. I love that book. That book is just, talk about humanizing people from the past. He really just makes it feel so immediate. That's my favorite thing. Malcolm Gaskill is not only is he this, it's gonna become like a Malcolm Gaskill lovefest. Not only is he a phenomenal torian, but he is such an incredible writer. That book, like if you wanna get if you wanna feel close to the people that this happened to. That's the book to read for sure.
Either that or Marilynne Roach, Six Women of Salem is the same sort of deal. That book just makes you feel like really another example of a great historian and a fantastic writer. Those two just really make you feel close to those victims, for sure.
[00:55:28] Josh Hutchinson: Yeah, it's like reading a novel or a almost a memoir. It's so personal and,
[00:55:36] Alyssa Conary: it's,
[00:55:37] Josh Hutchinson: And Malcolm Gaskill and Marilynne Roach, both just the details that they put in there. It makes it just seem so real, like you're watching it unfold.
[00:55:49] Alyssa Conary: Yeah, it is. It's almost like watching a movie.
[00:55:52] Josh Hutchinson: Yes, it's, those books are so good.
[00:55:56] Alyssa Conary: Yeah. They're great. I.
[00:55:58] Sarah Jack: What do you think, Josh? What else should we extract?
[00:56:01] Josh Hutchinson: We haven't talked about Alice Lake. Do you have
[00:56:06] Alyssa Conary: Alice. Yeah.
[00:56:07] Josh Hutchinson: Lake?
[00:56:09] Alyssa Conary: I, she is so fascinating to me. I know I say that about everyone 'cause they're all fascinating. But Alice Lake. Wow. I try, I have tried so hard to find more information about her and I cannot find a darn thing, let me tell you. And that's probably actually something that I'll continue looking for in the future, because I just need to know more about Alice Lake.
[00:56:34] Josh Hutchinson: Yes.
[00:56:34] Alyssa Conary: So yeah, just to talk about so the only evidence we have for what happened to Alice Lake is Hale. It's just his explanation of her being executed for witchcraft. Okay, so Alice Lake, she's from Dorchester and she's tried and executed, we think a about 1651.
What Hale says is, okay, so on the day of her execution she's visited by Reverend William Thompson of Braintree, who is trying to convince her to repent her sins. And she denied she was guilty of witchcraft. She said, I'm innocent, but and this is, this part is so sad. She said, I'm innocent, but I deserve to die basically for my past sins. And she said, and I have her quote here from Hale. "She explained that she had when a single woman played the harlot and being with child used means to destroy the fruit of her body to conceal her sin and shape." So basically she had an abortion, and she said, "I deserve to die because I had an abortion."
And I just, that is just so poignantly sad to me. She saw herself as actually she believed that she was a murderer. And it just makes you think a lot about how these different, like women's issues and these events that happen in women's lives, like how those interplayed with the belief in witchcraft.
And actually infanticide is something that you see a lot that coincides with witchcraft accusations. And there's also suspicions of infanticide or maybe actual infanticide. Parsons is a good example of that as well. So it's just more of that issue of like women and witchcraft.
Like I feel like there's just so much more there to look into and examine. And Alice Lake, it's funny because we actually know her children end up in Rhode Island with their father. And so it's just, it is crazy that we like know what happens to them, but we know so little about her life, like almost nothing.
There was one more bit of information about her and it was a letter to Increase Mather from his brother. Nathaniel told Increase, he heard Alice Lake was lured by the devil when he appeared to her in the likeness and acting the part of a child of hers than lately dead on whom her heart was much sad.
So there you go. There's another just devastating event in a woman's life that could in some way be tied to an accusation of witchcraft. It's just really sad. It's you think about all the pain and then on top of that, then she is executed for witchcraft. It's just awful, and she thinks she deserves it.
So yeah, Alice Lake is someone to me who is just especially fascinating and I really wish I could find out more about her.
[00:59:16] Josh Hutchinson: It reminded me of some other stories of women who decide that having an accusation brought against them means that they've done something else wrong other than, they know that they're not witches, but they look what other sin did I commit that this is
[00:59:38] Alyssa Conary: Right.
[00:59:39] Josh Hutchinson: to me?
[00:59:40] Alyssa Conary: Exactly. Yeah. That's,
[00:59:43] Sarah Jack: And in modern politics, there are some
[00:59:46] Alyssa Conary: Yeah.
[00:59:48] Sarah Jack: men politicians who would believe that, because they said that when we were, when we were
[00:59:54] Alyssa Conary: that for sure. Hmm.
[00:59:54] Sarah Jack: for the exoneration of the Connecticut victims, there were some politicians that were highly concerned that we did not touch what other moral infractions, these culprits would've participated in, that we only acknowledge the compact with the devil because surely they were bad people already.
[01:00:17] Alyssa Conary: There must be something else. Yeah. That's scary. And then when you talk about lessons you can learn, it feels like it's right. It really does sometimes feel like we're ripe for something like this to happen, and I hope I'm wrong. I really do. I hope it doesn't go that far.
[01:00:33] Sarah Jack: It's
[01:00:33] Alyssa Conary: and I know it is happening in other places for sure.
It, I just feel like
[01:00:39] Sarah Jack: It's gonna come down to the people standing up.
But it's that whole concept of speaking up for those that aren't in the room. That's what's gonna stop it. There, there was this one attack in Papua New Guinea where a brave son pulled his mother off of the fire who was being burned for witchcraft belief. And she was harmed and she, she is suffering from what she went through, but he was brave and saved her life. And those are the types of actions that people will have to keep stepping up and doing, because it is possible for sanctioned witch trials to happen again. It, there's,
[01:01:27] Alyssa Conary: yeah. Oh 100%. Yeah, it could happen for sure. It could absolutely happen. And I spend so much time these days like just looking at that rhyming, like I was talking about, that rhyming between history and being pretty freaked out by it, honestly.
It's just interesting too that we've been saying this whole time that all this stuff about women is happening, again, and it's just all feels so familiar. Really does.
[01:01:57] Sarah Jack: And now Mary Bingham is back for Minute with Mary.
[01:02:08] Mary Bingham: Sarah Jack recently asked the listeners a vital question in the past episode of this podcast, Ending Sorcery Related Violence with Miranda Forsyth, as part of the End Witch-Hunt News segment. Sarah's question, is your family precious? My answer. You bet. Sarah was referring not only to each of our nuclear families, she also challenged me as a listener to place myself in families where witchcraft accusations destroyed that tight family unit.
These accusations where the wrongful accused were murdered, caused harmful disruption and displacement, which not only sadly affected one generation, but many to follow. . This was the case of four year old Dorothy Good in 1692, whose story was so eloquently told in the episode of this podcast, Rachel Chris Christ-Doane on the Salem Witch Museum and the life of Dorothy Good.
This was also the case for Kepari Leniata's six year old daughter who was viciously attacked for supposedly bewitching her friend who became seriously ill and died. As was the belief in 1692 when Dorothy Good's mother, Sarah was hanged for witchcraft, some still believed that witchcraft or sorcery, as it is known in Kepari's home country of Papua New Guinea, is passed down from mother to daughter.
You might remember that Kepari was brutally murdered for the false accusation of sorcery herself when her daughter was only eight months old, leaving behind not only this precious infant, but a son and a husband as well. This family unit was smashed into pieces.
Her daughter's vicious attack happened in 2017. However, there was hope when activists Ruth Kissam and Anton Lutz stepped in and saved the girl's life. Ruth welcomed her into her home and family. Ruth's brothers and nephews took such good care that she was able to find a new safety net. Ruth's family became her own.
For more information on Kepari's story, please read my two articles regarding her case and that of her daughter on medium.com, "Kepari Leniata" and "Kepari Leniata: Her Legacy Lives On." Please listen to the two podcast episodes with Miranda Forsyth and Rachel Christ-Doane. Place yourself in these situations. Always stay tuned to listen to Sarah's End Witch Hunt News for current global News as to how communities and organizations fight daily to stop Deadly Witch Hunts. Then visit endwitchhunts.org to see how you can help to save a life. Thank you.
[01:05:11] Sarah Jack: Thank you, Mary.
[01:05:14] Josh Hutchinson: Here's Sarah with End Witch Hunts News.
[01:05:24] Sarah Jack: End Witch Hunts, a Nonprofit 501(c)(3) Weekly News Update.
So what exactly is this History Camp Boston that you heard about in Alyssa Conary's episode? It starts with The Pursuit of History, a nonprofit organization. They engage adults in conversation about history by connecting them with historic sites in their communities and across the country through innovative in-person and online programming.
Their in-person annual events include History Camp Boston, Pursuit of History Weekends, and the weekly live, online, in-depth History Camp Discussions with noted historians and authors. History Camp Boston 2023 is about to become history, so don't miss it. It's in Boston, August 11th through the 13th, and they offer a scholarship for a free day for students for the August 12th date. See our show notes for the link. Get there.
Every week, Thou Shalt Not Suffer podcast brings both the history of the past witch trials and news and education about the current global effort of ending modern witch Hunts. Would you be surprised to hear that the United States is engaged in global development partnerships that can affect witch-hunt violence? In 2023, the United States has now kicked off a 10 year long-term initiative that will impact witch-hunt violence. The US Strategy to Prevent Conflict and Promote Stability is a long-term initiative to redefine how the United States prevents violence and advances stability in areas vulnerable to conflict.
As you have learned from our academic, economist, and activist interviews and suggested books and other research reading, addressing witchcraft-related violence begins with offering solutions for communities that may reduce gender violence and offer stability for the vulnerable.
The countries and communities targeted in this strategy are Coastal West Africa, Haiti, Libya, Mozambique, and Papua New Guinea.
Quote, "these plans represent a meaningful, long-term commitment by the United States to build the political and economic resilience of partner societies by making strategic investments in prevention to mitigate the underlying vulnerabilities that can lead to conflict and violence and are critical to achieving lasting peace." -- President Joseph R. Biden, Jr. March 24th, 2023.
Please read about this initiative now. Click the link in our show notes to see the USAID pamphlet on this initiative. Have you heard of the US Government Agency, USAID? The United States Agency for International Development, USAID, is, quote, "the world's premier international development agency and a catalytic actor driving development results. USAID's work advances US national security and economic prosperity, demonstrates American generosity, and promotes a path to recipient self-reliance and resilience." The USAID receives its funding from Congress. Thank you for being a part of the Thou Shalt Not Suffer podcast community. We appreciate your listening and support.
Keep sharing our episodes with your friends, have conversations with them about what you are learning and how you want to jump in and end Witch hunts with your particular abilities influence a network. Community development that works to end witch hunts is an ongoing long-term collective effort for all of us to participate in.
You can learn by visiting our websites and the websites listed in our show notes for more information about country specific advocacy groups and development plans in motion across the globe. Get involved. Visit endwitchhunts.org. And now that it's back to school pre-game time, be sure to share a link with your teacher friends. To support us, make a tax-deductible donation, purchase books from our bookshop, or merch from our Zazzle shop. Have you considered supporting the production of the podcast by joining us as a super listener? You can be a super listener by committing to as little as $3 a month, but don't stop there if you are really excited about our programming, go ahead and add a zero to that three. Your super listener donation is tax-deductible. Thank you for being a part of our work.
[01:09:13] Josh Hutchinson: Thank you, Sarah.
[01:09:15] Sarah Jack: You're welcome.
[01:09:17] Josh Hutchinson: Thank you for listening to Thou Shalt Not Suffer: The Witch Trial Podcast.
[01:09:21] Sarah Jack: Please join us next week.
[01:09:23] Josh Hutchinson: Subscribe wherever you get your podcasts.
[01:09:26] Sarah Jack: Visit us this week at thoushaltnotsuffer.Com.
[01:09:29] Josh Hutchinson: Remember to tell your friends about the show.
[01:09:32] Sarah Jack: Support our efforts to End Witch Hunts.
[01:09:35] Josh Hutchinson: Visit endwitchhunts.org to learn more.
[01:09:38] Sarah Jack: Please rate and review on Apple Podcasts or wherever you're listening.
[01:09:43] Josh Hutchinson: Have a great today and a beautiful tomorrow.