|Witchcraft Victims' Memorial|
When I visited Danvers on September 11, a tension was wafting. Is the pastor really going to burn the Quran? What will happen if he does? He said he's not going to burn but why do I trust him?
Until recently, I didn’t know that Danvers, formally known as Salem Village, is the place where 1692 Salem Witch Trial began. The mass hysteria which lasted for a year executed nineteen people, killed one man by torture, and imprisoned over hundred-fifty people.
On a winter day of 1692, the village girls gathered at Salem Village parsonage for fortune telling. The house was occupied by pastor Samuel Parris, his wife, four children and a Caribbean slave couple named Tituba and John Indian.
On that day, Parris wasn’t at home, and his wife had been ill. The hysteria began when the fortune telling, conducted by Tituba, went terribly wrong; one of the girls’ future turned out to be ominous. The girls in fits began decrying some of the villagers as witches who were tormenting the poor souls.
|Nurse Homestead circa 1678|
|Looking entryway from the house|
|Bedroom - Rebecca Nurse Homestead|
|On her arrest day, what did she see from this window ?|
She was a respectable hard-working old lady who earned a living in a comfortable red farm house. Behind her house, there is a family graveyard open to public. She is definitely buried here, but the exact location is not certain.
I remember when I previously visited the cemetery on a cold drizzly day in March. There was a monument engraving the names of people who pleaded Rebecca’s innocence. As I and my husband read the names aloud (it was tough to read), the quiet space became suddenly cacophonous because the birds on the surrounding trees began to tweet in a rather excited manner. Are the birds’ before-lives the people who pleaded her innocence? Okay, I’m being new-agey.
|From graveyard: you can see her red house next to the covered hey-rolls|
This is my particular interest.The knowledgeable guide at Nurse Homestead explained that there were two factions in the village: the one wanted to become independent from the neighboring Salem Town (modern day Salem) as a solid farming community, and another wanted to keep the relationship with the town.
Rev. Parris, who was regarded as an unpopular pastor, belonged to the former faction leaded by Thomas Putnam. Rebecca Nurse belonged to the other represented by the local gentry of Porters. To be short, the Putnams used the hysteria to let the other faction down. (Note: Joseph Putnam, the youngest of the Putnams and also the Porters’ son-in-law, criticized the witch-hunt as gossip went out of control. The Putnam Pantry visible from Route 1 is located next to his house now owned by a local historical society.)
|Replica of Old Meeting House, Nurse Homestead|
|Interior: preliminary hearing was carried out here|
|Left: 1681 Parsonage, Right: 1734 Addition|
|Entryway to parsonage|
Locate Salem Village @ Google Map
A Delusion of Satan by Frances Hill
The Devil in Massachusetts by Marion L. Starkey
http://salem.lib.virginia.edu/Danvers.html: useful site contains a list and map of the places I visited
http://web.kyoto-inet.or.jp/people/tiakio/yaziuma/essay2.html: if you read Japanese