The Devil in Massachusetts: A Modern Inquiry into the Salem Witch Trials

The Devil in Massachusetts: A Modern Inquiry into the Salem Witch Trials

The Devil in Massachusetts: A Modern Inquiry into the Salem Witch Trials

The Devil in Massachusetts: A Modern Inquiry into the Salem Witch Trials

Excerpt

The Salem witchcraft of 1692, of which this is a record, did not start in Salem. It started in what has since become Danvers, at a point from which the Danvers State Hospital (for mental cases) is now visible, and which serves as an unintended but highly appropriate monument to the whole sorry business.

There is still something of the feeling of old "Salem Village" about that corner of Danvers. Even the First Church is there, and its doors open. You may of a Sunday worship with the parish that nearly three centuries ago, cowering under the impact of the prophecies of crazed little girls, caused the hanging of both communicant and minister.

The actual physical structure of the original meetinghouse has, to be sure, long since been replaced, but elsewhere, up the road a piece and roundabout, authentic landmarks of the witchcraft still remain. Benjamin Holton's fine white house, for instance -- that same Holton whose hogs once got into Rebecca Nurse's garden patch. "Witch" Osburne's house, removed from its original site to Route 62, but piously preserved by its present owner. And much closer to the church, though it has to be hunted down in a stretch of open country that remains much as it must have been in 1692, that most touching memorial of all, the lovely, weather-beaten house where Rebecca Nurse thought to end her days in peace and the little family burying-ground whither her body was brought from the gallows.

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