Miss Pelican's Perch

Looking at my World from a Different Place

If I Had Lived in the Salem I Would Have Probably Been Hung as a Witch


I have an interest in the infamous Salem Witch Trials of 1692 because I had direct ancestors who live in that town at that time.*  As a result, I have done a lot of reading on the topic.

Aside from the genealogical connection, another reason I am intrigued with this historical event, and similar ones throughout the middle ages, is the question of why a certain segment of a population was so stigmatized that it resulted in executions or imprisonment.    From what I have read on the subject there are many things that those accused had in common:  most were single middle-aged women, were low on the social ladder, and had sharp wits and even sharper tongues.  And it did not matter if they might have been upright in their behavior and even helpful to their communities (quite a few were healers and herbalists).     There was something about such women that so disturbed the dominant strata of a community that they had to be removed.

Of course we know that the age of persecuting women who behave outside the box is not over, and that such persecution is no longer aimed at marginalized women.   Today powerful, mainstream women in the public eye are vilified when the speak out.  So powerful are their words that some have become rallying cries.  For example:   “Nevertheless, she persisted.”

And not just older women are being persecuted.  Young girls are shot and left to die or are kidnapped and sold into bondage simply because they want an education for themselves and other girls.

Women are sexually assaulted every day all over the world.   Powerful men, even some who have finagled supreme positions of leadership, have boasted of their part in such assaults.

No, the age of persecution is not over.   Will it ever be?

*I am pleased to say that in an act of defiance against the prevailing powers-that-were one of my ancestors stood up in defense of the Salem accused.


4 thoughts on “If I Had Lived in the Salem I Would Have Probably Been Hung as a Witch

  1. What a wonderful ancestor to have. The spirit of independent women must be in your DNA. I think the persecution will end when patriarchy finally gives way to some new Earth way of being where everyone is equal regardless of gender, race, class and intellectual and physical abilities. We may not see in our lifetime but I believe it will come in this century.

  2. I would be in big trouble. There’s a black and white cat that roamed our neighborhood for years, sometimes nice, sometimes bitey. After years of feeding this handsome fellow, he eventually got comfortable with me (in my lap) and my family and now comes into our house and will even sleep on my chest. I guess that makes me a witch and Mr. Mistofellees my familiar.

    W is for the Watergate Scandal

  3. Anything outside the control of the male powers-that-were had to be dealt with harshly, and it’s a shame. Good for your ancestor!

    • It just came to my mind, a story my grandmother told me. Her grandmother was a healer in New Olreans, and when she was saving children from the fever (and the doctors were not), the doctors threatened to cut off her hands. She kept saving the children anyway.

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