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Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Connecticut Witch Trials

Everyone has heard of the Salem Witch Trials of 1692 where over 100 people were charged and imprisoned and 20 were executed for the crime of witchcraft. Fewer people know that these trials happened in other states and communities as well. One of these other communities was Hartford, Connecticut. I was reminded of this incident by Katherine Howe when I went to her author event last month.
Witch Trials in Connecticut took place between 1647 and 1697. At best count, at least 50 people were accused of witchcraft. At least a dozen were executed by hanging. Connecticut found the first 7 people it accused of witchcraft guilty and executed them. In the early years, Connecticut was the most aggressive as seeking out witches. The Connecticut Witch Trials began in 1662 when eight year old Elizabeth Kelly died uttering the last words of “Goody Ayres chokes me”. The last “witch” hanged in Connecticut was Mary Barnes in 1667. Several people were subjected to the water dunking test to gain confessions and supporting evidence. While Massachusetts and Virginia have given out posthumous pardons to some of the executed witches, Connecticut has not, nor is there any procedure for it to be done.

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  1. Good post. I am not a fan of American History but this particular time in American History is very interesting and I have always enjoyed reading about the Salem Witch Trials. You mentioned Katherine Howe. Her book The Physick Book of Deliverance Dane was excellent...

  2. I have always been intrigued by the Salem witch trials and have wondered where else they have taken place. Hardford, CT is really close to the town I grew up in in the suburbs in NY, a town on the NY/CT state border. I'm really interested in checking out the book The Heretic's Daughter by Kathleen Kent.


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