Salem Witch Trials and The House of Seven Gables

Beware the following content contains information about witches! It is not for the timid! You have been warned! I accept no responsibility for any bad MOJO that might occur!

Today started with us staying in Salem, Ma because of tropical depression Henri. After going to breakfast we went to The House Of Seven Gables. Nathaniel Hawthorne wrote the story about the house in 1851. The house was built in 1668. It has 17 rooms and over 8,000 sq feet. It is the oldest 17th-century mansion in New England. There were secret rooms and stairwells in the house. Today people claim the house is haunted.

House of Seven Gables

Next to the house and museum is the house of Nathaniel Hawthorne’s birthplace, July 4, 1804. Both of these houses are in really good condition for their ages.

Nathaniel Hawthorne ‘s homeplace 1750

The two houses are near the bay where we walked and saw the Salem Maritime. This is where ships came in for trade until the harbor water became too shallow for the newer larger boats.

The building is where they collected taxes on the goods of the ships

We then walked about a mile to see the museum of the Salem Witch Trials and found this nice statue of Roger Conant, the first settler to Salem, Massachusetts in 1606. His hat looked like a sorcerer‘s hat. He lived from 1592-1670.

Across the street was America’s oldest candy company, Ye Olde Pepper Companie Manufacturing Confectioner since 1806.

Oldest Candy Company

The Salem witch trials occurred in colonial Massachusetts between 1692 and 1693. More than 200 people were accused of practicing witchcraft, the Devil’s magic, and 19 were executed. Eventually, the colony admitted the trials were a mistake and compensated the families of those convicted.

The museum story was of January of 1692, Reverend Parris’ daughter Elizabeth, age 9, and niece Abigail Williams, age 11, started having “fits.” They screamed, threw things, uttered peculiar sounds and contorted themselves into strange positions, and a local doctor blamed the supernatural. Another girl, Ann Putnam, age 11, experienced similar episodes. On February 29, under pressure from magistrates Jonathan Corwin and John Hathorne, the girls blamed three women for afflicting them: Tituba, the Parris’ Caribbean slave; Sarah Good, a homeless beggar; and Sarah Osborne, an elderly impoverished woman.

All three women were brought before the local magistrates and interrogated for several days, starting on March 1, 1692. Osborne claimed innocence, as did Good. But Tituba confessed, “The Devil came to me and bid me serve him.” She described elaborate images of black dogs, red cats, yellow birds, and a “black man” who wanted her to sign his book. She admitted that she signed the book and said several other witches were looking to destroy the Puritans. All three women were put in jail. This was an old fashion which hunt.

With the seed of paranoia planted, a stream of accusations followed for the next few months.

On May 27, 1692, Governor William Phipps ordered the establishment of a Special Court of Oyer (to hear) and Terminer (to decide) for Suffolk, Essex and Middlesex counties. The first case brought to the special court was Bridget Bishop, an older woman known for her gossipy habits and promiscuity. When asked if she committed witchcraft, Bishop responded, “I am as innocent as the child unborn.” The defense must not have been convincing, because she was found guilty and, on June 10, became the first person hanged on what was later called Gallows Hill.

By the end of the Salem witch trials, 19 people had been hanged, and 5 others had died in custody.

We then took a look at a memorial for the 19 that were hanged. Below is one of 19 memorials carved in stone. The one below says; Sarah Wildes Hanged July 19, 1692

Simple and to the point.

Next we saw an old cemetery dating back 3 Centuries.

The Salem Witch Trials came about from the strict Puritans religious standards and intolerance of anything not accepted within their scripture.

A strange story as we were traveling on our trip in the car, about 4 days ago, the car radio reported that more than three centuries after a Massachusetts woman, Elizabeth Johnson, was convicted of witchcraft and sentenced to death, she’s finally on the verge of being exonerated – thanks to a curious eighth-grade civics class.

Why Elizabeth was not exonerated is unclear but no action was ever taken on her behalf by the state general assembly or the courts.

Possibly because she was neither a wife nor a mother, she was not considered worthy of having her name cleared. And because she never had children, there is no group of descendants acting on her behalf.

Isn’t this crazy that this story came about while we were traveling on our trip to Salem, Ma? After 3 Centuries?

Hannah has heard that beginning October 1st, everything gets decorated big with the witches in Salem. The amount of tourism reaches its peak for the season. She lives about 5 minutes from this fun event about to unfold beneath her very own eyes. I am excited for her.


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