Weekly Witchy History Entry 📚

This is my :books: Weekly Witchy CHALLENGE - History of Magick entry

I learned about the Salem Witch Trials in school, living in Massachusetts, there was a lot of information & every Halloween it seemed to be a topic of discussion in one class or another. However, there were witchcraft laws and/or trials throughout New England & not just Salem.

I have lived in Plymouth County, MA in the past. Through the school systems & friends & life in general, that is the area that first piqued my interest in paganism/witchcraft. Along with information from my family & friends, I had decided to practice with a couple of friends of mine.

Witches had troubled the European colonists from the get-go. In 1635, Plymouth Colony made it a crime to “form a solemn compact with the devil by way of witchcraft.” As late as the 19th century, women were persecuted for cursing butter churns, making animals sick and causing people to die.

The Plymouth Colony’s court records are very interesting, as they provide a glimpse into the everyday life of the Pilgrims (albeit usually the negative side). They provide insight into how the Pilgrims interpreted scriptural and English law, and a look at their moral and religious values.

In 1636, the Plymouth Colony formally codified its five crimes that were punishable by death:

  • willful murder
  • forming a solemn compact with the devil by way of witchcraft
  • willful burning of ships or houses
  • sodomy, rape, and buggery
  • adultery

There were two witchcraft trials in Plymouth Colony, decades before the more famous Salem Witchcraft trials of 1692. Both Plymouth Colony witchcraft trials ended in not guilty verdicts: in fact the accusers were fined by the court for having made false accusations.

New England Witchcraft Trials

Plymouth Colony Crime

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As someone with family in Plymouth, this is really interesting to hear about! :star_struck: Thanks for digging deep into the lesser-known witch trials of the area, @Siofra :smiling_face_with_three_hearts:

Had to look up what “buggery” was- it’s not something I’ll be reposting here. Google search at your own discretion :face_with_hand_over_mouth:

I have to admit it makes me happy to hear that not only those falsely accused were set free, but that those who wrongly accused them were punished instead. Nice, Plymouth! :grin::+1:

Thanks so much for sharing, Siofra! This was really fun to learn about :heart:

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I was going to quote that, too! Great minds think alike! I’m glad they were punished…meanies!!!

I had to Google that word and I’m regretting it :speak_no_evil:

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Great report @Siofra!

That’s surprising. I didn’t think anyone got away from the witchcraft trials alive. Thanks for this!

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Just trying to imagine being someone who goes to the police and is like “She cursed my butter churn!” :crazy_face:

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@Valen I was thinking about that too & a couple of questions that are more curiosity than anything else; Did the animals & people eat the cursed butter first or were they 3 separate acts of “witchcraft”? & how do you explain why you think that someone else did this to your butter, animals, or people around you?

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I warned you my friend :laughing:

:rofl:

Going on the list of jobs I would not want to have: being a judge at “witch” trials. There is just so much faulty logic involved it makes my head spin :dizzy_face: .

I actually googled Salem Witch Trials and social psychology and found there’s a class (a lifeskills course for kids) using the witch trials as a case study.

There’s incredible power in social psychology and how peer pressure can make people do horrible things just to be with the group. When emotions overpower logic it can lead to some incredible things- for better or, in this case, for worse :sweat:

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