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Video Review - Travel Channel - Legendary Locations - Salem Witches

Josh Gates hosts several interesting series on the Travel Channel. This particular series focuses on locations that are steeped in myths, legends, or famous events. Today, we're taking a look at the Salem Witch Trials in this episode titled "Rock and a Hard Place".

Legendary Locations - Rock and a Hard Place

Season 2 - Episode 2


Josh Gates explores stories of perseverance, including a tragic Salem witch trial case that led to a lasting change in the United States justice system and an old Mexican folk tale that's still celebrated in a festival today.

17th century, Salem, Massachusettes becomes a hotbed for witch trials.

Over 25 women died at these so-called trials.

The strict Puritan religion forbids things of supernatural nature (considered devil's magic).

For those who survived a small pox epidemic, they were easily accused of witchcraft.

Rebecca Nurse and her husband, Francis, owned over 300 acres. She was a pious grandmother and had taken ill. Because she hadn't been seen at church for awhile, the parishoners became suspicious. They accused her of witchcraft while she was in her bed.

12 year old Ann Putnam accuses over 62 women of witchcraft. Rebecca Nurse had accused Ann of fortune telling and was in dispute with Ann's father over some land boundaries, so they retaliate and accuse her of witchcraft. Ann's father was also the trial scriber so he embellished the court documents.

June 1692, the jury decides Rebecca was not guilty, but Ann throws a fit and they find her guilty. She is hung to death and buried in an unmarked grace.

Despite the myth, witches weren't burned at the stake in America - this was mostly done in Europe.

During this time, something called "spectral evidence" was in place whereby a witness could claim that a witch's spirit or spectral shape appeared to them in person or in a dream (while their actual body was somewhere else). After 19 people were hanged and 5 died in jail, this law was finally repealed.

In 1957, three hundred years later, the state finally offered its victims a formal apology.

Check out the Legendary Locations site on the History Channel

You can also check your local library to see if they have copies of the video.

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