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Archaeology & History

Connecticut witches have been exonerated over 370 years later

By T.K. Randall
May 27, 2023 · Comment icon 19 comments

Witch trials were typically brutal and unforgiving. Image Credit: William A. Crafts
Lawmakers in the state have voted to exonerate a dozen individuals who were convicted of witchcraft hundreds of years ago.
Being convicted of witchcraft in colonial America was no trivial matter - not only were you unlikely to be given a fair or objective trial, but the punishment for being found guilty typically involved being put to death, usually at the end of a rope.

While it's obviously too late for those who were executed, the descendants of these convicted witches have long campaigned lawmakers in the United States to exonerate their ancestors.

Now thanks to the tireless efforts of the CT Witch Trial Exoneration Project, officials in Connecticut have this month voted 33-1 to exonerate 12 individuals who had been wrongly convicted of witchcraft in the state.

The one vote against came from Senator Rob Sampson who argued that it was wrong to "dictate what was right or wrong about periods in the past that we have no knowledge of."
"I don't want to see bills that rightfully or wrongfully attempt to paint America as a bad place with a bad history. I want us to focus on where we're going, which is a brighter and better future."

The advocacy group, meanwhile, was very pleased with the result of the vote.

"We are grateful to descendants, advocates, historians, legislators of both parties and many others who made this official resolution possible," they said.

"[We] will continue to advocate for historical education and memorialisation of the witch trial victims."

Source: BBC News | Comments (19)

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Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #10 Posted by Alchopwn 11 months ago
Pfft.  You can tell this is just members of the Connecticut Legislature trying to avoid centuries old curses on their bloodlines.  
Comment icon #11 Posted by Antigonos 11 months ago
  In my twenties I collected several works on witchcraft written from the historical point of view. So much emphasis had been put on the Salem witch trials that up to that point I had never heard of the Connecticut events. There don’t seem to be many reliable sources on it. The title below is the one I found for anyone reading this thread who is new to the topic and now interested.
Comment icon #12 Posted by OverSword 11 months ago
To be fair that was before the USA existed so I'm not sure they have the authority to pardon them 
Comment icon #13 Posted by Antigonos 11 months ago
Yeah the linked article doesn’t say, I’d be interested in knowing how that works.    Massachusetts did the same thing for the victims of the Salem witch trials a few years ago, since they set the precedent for it the answer may be there. An interesting aside, one of the judges at the Salem trials was John Hathorne, an ancestor of Nathaniel Hawthorne. The latter apparently was ashamed of his great great grandfather’s lack of remorse over the part he played.
Comment icon #14 Posted by Piney 11 months ago
Try using truth and logic with any theocratic fundy.  Start with Lauren Boebert. 
Comment icon #15 Posted by Antigonos 11 months ago
Outstanding post, eight bits.
Comment icon #16 Posted by Mr Guitar 11 months ago
I'm a direct descendant of Susannah North Martin, one of the Salem witches. She was first tried in 1669 and the charges were dismissed, then  charged again in 1692, found guilty, and hanged July 19, 1692. I don't believe the location of her gravesite is known but was told by the family genealogy expert that there is a memorial bench with her name somewhere in the area. My cousin found the original family cemetery deep in the woods in New Hampshire with original slate markers from 1600's.  Always thought it would be cool to be related to somebody famous and I guess this is a close as I'll get... [More]
Comment icon #17 Posted by spartan max2 11 months ago
Sure it dosen't really change anything but it's nice to officially recognize the wrong doing. 
Comment icon #18 Posted by Gilbert Syndrome 11 months ago
Well, there's real people out there who still engage in the rape, torture and execution of young women whom they believe to be witches. "Retardation is still a thing" -Gilbert Syndrome 3:16 & 1/2
Comment icon #19 Posted by Unadan 11 months ago
The witch descendants should apply for reparations.

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