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Why I chose the Salem Witch Trials

October 21, 2017

 People believe I'm writing about witchcraft and therefore say they cannot read my books because they don't believe in this. I was told once that a colleague could not read my stories because they were Christian and I was writing about Paganism. I am not Pagan or Wiccan, (not that there is ANYTHING wrong about those paths in life), but I am writing of history. I write about characters who are FICTIONALLY related to this very period in history. The Salem Witch Trials did occur, innocent people were hanged... and times haven't really changed - have they? 

 

Case in point? I was judged on my writing topic of choice on a very superficial surface layer. If you read the synopsis of my books, the "Secrets, Spells and Tales" series, it become obvious right away that the story is a fictional romance wrapped around history. 

 

Many people don't seem to know much about the Salem Witch Trials outside of they learned when being forced to read The Crucible in high school. Again, Arthur Miller's work is fiction that inserts itself into history. 

 

Here's a little about the Salem Witch Trials:

 

"The Salem witch trials were a series of hearings and prosecutions of people accused of witchcraft in colonial Massachusetts between February 1692 and May 1693. The trials resulted in the executions of twenty people, fourteen of them women, and all but one by hanging. Five others (including two infant children) died in prison.

 

Twelve other women had previously been executed in Massachusetts and Connecticut during the 17th century. Despite being generally known as the Salem Witch Trials, the preliminary hearings in 1692 were conducted in several towns: Salem Village (now Danvers), Salem Town, Ipswich, and Andover. The most infamous trials were conducted by the Court of Oyer and Terminer in 1692 in Salem Town.

 

The episode is one of Colonial America's most notorious cases of mass hysteria. It has been used in political rhetoric and popular literature as a vivid cautionary tale about the dangers of isolationism, religious extremism, false accusations, and lapses in due process. It was not unique, but a Colonial American example of the much broader phenomenon of witch trials in the early modern period, which took place also in Europe. Many historians consider the lasting effects of the trials to have been highly influential in subsequent United States history.

According to historian George Lincoln Burr, "the Salem witchcraft was the rock on which the theocracy shattered."

 

At the 300th anniversary events in 1992 to commemorate the victims of the trials, a park was dedicated in Salem and a memorial in Danvers. In November 2001, the Massachusetts legislature passed an act exonerating all of those convicted and listing them by name, including some persons left out of earlier actions. In January 2016, the University of Virginia announced its Gallows Hill Project team had determined the execution site in Salem, where the nineteen "witches" had been hanged. The city owns the site and is planning a memorial to the victims."

 (More info can be found on Wikipedia.)

 Also, most don't realize the witch trials came to an abrupt halt after the young girls became too bold with the accusations and eventually accused the Governor's wife. Whoops! Find out how the trials came to an end here

 

And check out Liz Rau books on Amazon!

 

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