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Podcast Episode: Connecticut Witch-Hunts and John Winthrop, Jr. with Dr. Scott Culpepper

On our third episode of Thou Shalt Not Suffer: The Witch Trial Podcast, we discuss Connecticut Witch-Hunts, the satanic pact, the Witchfinder General, John Winthrop Jr, spectral evidence, and the Satanic Panic with Dr. Scott Culpepper.

Hosted by our own Sarah Jack and Josh Hutchinson, the podcast asks how and why we hunt witches and seeks solutions to the age-old problem. Episodes 1 to 3 are dedicated to Connecticut’s witch trials. Episode 1 features our Beth Caruso and Tony Griego. Episode 2 includes our Mary-Louise Bingham, as well as Beth and Tony. Our episode 3 guest was Dr. Scott Culpepper of Dordt University.

You can listen in your favorite podcast app, right here, or at thoushaltnotsuffer.com. Stay tuned October 20 for the release of episode 3. Further down the road, we will publish an episode focused on the role of descendants in the Connecticut Witch Trial Exoneration Project, and we plan additional Connecticut episodes.

Connecticut Witch-Hunts and John Winthrop, Jr. with Dr. Scott Culpepper Thou Shalt Not Suffer: The Witch Trial Podcast

Josh Hutchinson and Sarah Jack present Dr. Scott Culpepper. He is a historian, storyteller, author and Professor of History at Dordt University in Sioux Center, IA.  We discuss the Connecticut Witch Trials in depth, including dialog on Governor John Winthrop Jr,, alchemy, and specific accused witches. We look for answers to our advocacy questions: Why do we witch hunt? How do we witch hunt? How do we stop hunting witches?“Records of the Particular Court of Connecticut, 1639-1663.” Collections of the Connecticut Historical Society. Vol. 22. Hartford, CT: Connecticut Historical Society: 1928.John Putnam Demos, Entertaining Satan: Witchcraft and the Culture of Early New England, Updated Edition. New York: Oxford University Press, 2004.Paul B. Moyer, Detestable and Wicked Arts: New England and Witchcraft in the Early Modern Atlantic World. Ithaca, New York: Cornell University Press, 2020.Walter W. Woodward, Prospero’s America: John Winthrop, Jr., Alchemy, and the Creation of New England Culture, 1606-1676. Chapel Hill, North Carolina: University of North Carolina Press, 2013.Matthew Hopkins, The Discovery of Witches. London: For R. Royston, 1647.https://www.bl.uk/collection-items/the-discovery-of-witchesDr. Culpepper's Blog, The Imaginative HistorianYoutube – Connecticut Witch Trials with Dr. Scott CulpepperDr. Scott Culpepper Professor ProfileNew London Connecticut Historical SocietyCT W.I.T.C.H. MemorialPlease sign the petition to exonerate those accused of witchcraft in Connecticut CT State Historian, Walter W. WoodwardNew Haven Colony HistoryRegicide History, New England Historical SocietyLeo Igwe, AfAWWinthrop's Journal (Sr.)Tickets for Salem Ballet, Ballet Des Moines Saltonstall's Trial Play TicketsJoin us on Discord to share your ideas and feedback.WebsiteTwitterFacebookInstagramPinterestLinkedInYouTubeTikTokDiscordBuzzsproutSupport the show

Show Notes

Description

Josh Hutchinson and Sarah Jack present Dr. Scott Culpepper. He is a historian, storyteller, author and Professor of History at Dordt University in Sioux Center, IA.  We discuss the Connecticut Witch Trials in depth, including dialog on Governor John Winthrop Jr,, alchemy, and specific accused witches. We look for answers to our advocacy questions: Why do we witch hunt? How do we witch hunt? How do we stop hunting witches?

Citations

“Records of the Particular Court of Connecticut, 1639-1663.” Collections of the Connecticut Historical Society. Vol. 22. Hartford, CT: Connecticut Historical Society: 1928.

John Putnam Demos, Entertaining Satan: Witchcraft and the Culture of Early New England, Updated Edition. New York: Oxford University Press, 2004.

Paul B. Moyer, Detestable and Wicked Arts: New England and Witchcraft in the Early Modern Atlantic World. Ithaca, New York: Cornell University Press, 2020.

Walter W. Woodward, Prospero’s America: John Winthrop, Jr., Alchemy, and the Creation of New England Culture, 1606-1676. Chapel Hill, North Carolina: University of North Carolina Press, 2013.

Matthew Hopkins, The Discovery of Witches. London: For R. Royston, 1647.

https://www.bl.uk/collection-items/the-discovery-of-witches

Links

Dr. Culpepper’s Blog, The Imaginative Historian

Youtube – Connecticut Witch Trials with Dr. Scott Culpepper

Dr. Scott Culpepper Professor Profile

New London Connecticut Historical Society

CT W.I.T.C.H. Memorial

Please sign the petition to exonerate those accused of witchcraft in Connecticut

 CT State Historian, Walter W. Woodward

New Haven Colony History

Regicide History, New England Historical Society

Leo Igwe, AfAW

Winthrop’s Journal (Sr.)

Tickets for Salem Ballet, Ballet Des Moines 

Saltonstall’s Trial Play Tickets
Join us on Discord to share your ideas and feedback.

Thou Shalt Not Suffer: The Witch Trial Podcast links

Transcript

Josh Hutchinson: [00:00:00] "Thou shalt not suffer a witch to live." Exodus 22:18.
 
Sarah Jack: Welcome to another episode of Thou Shalt Not Suffer: The Witch Trial Podcast. I'm Sarah Jack.
Josh Hutchinson: And I'm Josh Hutchinson. 
Sarah Jack: In today's episode, we are joined by Dr. Scott Culpepper to discuss satanic pacts, the Connecticut witch trials, John Winthrop, Jr., and the Satanic Panic. 
Josh Hutchinson: We're really looking forward to our conversation with him.
He gave a wonderful talk about the Connecticut witch trials in Sioux City, Iowa in August, and we have many follow up questions. 
Sarah Jack: We'll take you to the interview shortly. But first we'd like to share the story of a couple accused of [00:01:00] witchcraft in Connecticut.
Josh Hutchinson: Joan and John Carrington of Wethersfield, Connecticut were accused of witchcraft in early 1651.
Unfortunately, almost nothing is known about Joan, except that she was John's second wife and was likely in her forties when she was killed. A little more information is available for John, who was by trade a carpenter. He was born in approximately 1602 and migrated to the new world in 1635, aboard the Susan and Ellen with his first wife, Mary. In 1650, he was fined 10 pounds for trading a gun to a Native American.
This was a very large sum for him as his estate was valued at a mere 10 pounds and nine shillings after debts were subtracted. Within months of the gun trading fine, the Carringtons were accused of witchcraft for supposedly entertaining familiarity with Satan and using his help to do things beyond natural human abilities.
The record is vague about what preternatural [00:02:00] acts the couple committed. What is known is that the Carringtons were condemned for supposed witchcraft in March 1651 and likely hanged shortly after sentence was passed down. At the time of their deaths, the couple is believed to have been raising two children. 
Sarah Jack: Thank you, Josh, for sharing that tragic story of the Carringtons.
I've met several family researchers through witch trial social media accounts who descend from this couple. Often their discovery of the Carringtons' trial is what introduces them to the witch trials outside of the Salem trials.
Josh Hutchinson: I can't wait to talk to today's guest. Shall we?. 
Sarah Jack: Dr. Scott Culpepper has served as a professor of history at Dordt University for 10 years. He specializes in the Americas and British Isles with a particular emphasis on the intersections of politics, religions, and popular culture in the Atlantic world from 1500 to the present. One of his courses is Witch Hunts, Wars and Reformations. Josh and I connected with Dr. Culpepper through our witch trial social media accounts this past [00:03:00] year. When we began to launch this new podcast, we knew we wanted to have one of the first episodes with Dr. Culpepper.
Now let's start the conversation.
We appreciate you taking this time to spend talking with us today.
Josh Hutchinson: Thank you, Dr. Culpepper for coming on our show as one of our first guests. 
Scott Culpepper: No, it's my pleasure. Thank you for having me. 
Sarah Jack: We've enjoyed watching a video of a talk you gave in Sioux falls, Iowa, about which trials in Connecticut. We'll link to that in our show notes.
And we have several questions about your presentation in the Connecticut witch trials. 
Josh Hutchinson: We'd like to learn a little more about the origin of the witch hunts in the late medieval and early modern periods. Can you tell us how the idea of the satanic pact originated? 
Scott Culpepper: Absolutely, or at least I can give you a broad outline.
There are many questions still about the exact origins of the notion, but it seems to emerge in the middle part of the medieval period, probably around 1000 or so. And it becomes [00:04:00] increasingly popularized throughout the late medieval period. The Malleus Maleficarum, which was issued at the end of the 15th century is one of the most notorious texts, which really pushes the notion, satanic pact that witches are not just practitioners of folk magic or manipulators of regular natural forces, but the magic they unleash has got additional fuel, so to speak, because it's empowered by a pact with the devil himself, that Satan himself is infusing their acts with diabolical magic.
 And it really seems that that sense of satanic influence in the relationship with the witch and in the activities of the witch begins to rise and really ascend to the fore from about roughly 1450 to 1800, during what's often considered the critical age of witch trials in the early modern period.
 You really see that perception of the relationship of the witch to satanic [00:05:00] power begin to take over the narrative to become the dominant perception of healing and magic. And it's really interesting that happens because there is this interesting sort of fluidity between say strict Christian theology and what we might call pagan or neopagan practices of the Germanic and even Roman period in popular literature and popular lore.
 You often see them marching hand in hand and Christianity often incorporating and assimilating aspects of the supernatural that were at one time more the province of pagan lore. I was teaching a British Isles class last week. We were talking about the King Arthur cycle of legends. Hey, you do you have Arthur who is incorporated by later Christian interpreters as this idyllic, ancient Christian king.
 But at the same time, he's got this very fascinating wizard figure beside him, Merlin, who has these unnatural powers or maybe natural powers. That's part of the discussion, what is the [00:06:00] basis for his power? And it seems often that power comes from a very ambiguous place at best. And so you've got that fluidity for a long time.
And then as you get closer to the end of the medieval period, there begins to occur this hardening of the categories. And there have been a lot of speculations about why that's the case. Some point to the reformations, both the Protestant reform movements and the Catholic reform movements, and will argue that some of the antagonism that emerged between different sides of those very furious religious debates may have helped fuel paranoia and anxiety that Satan is at work amongst the populace in a special sort of way and the witches are his agents to do so. It, becomes a way to deal with those in society who are considered to be malcontents or outliers, problematic persons who don't quite fit the mold, and women are especially ripe for that kind of persecution, because women have their certain place in medieval and early modern society.
 They must be attached to a man. They [00:07:00] must play a certain role of deference to authorities. And if a woman in some way lies outside of that, she's a widow or she was never married, or she's not attached to a particular family, not under the authority of a particular man, maybe in some ways she defies the traditional deference by asserting herself in ways that her contemporaries find to be unpleasant or challenging. That makes them very ready targets for accusations of witchcraft. 
 And so this whole idea of the satanic pact, this notion of witches conspiring with the devil to cause harm, it becomes a tool in many ways to address the fundamental threats and anxieties of people during this period. And so that seems to be where it arises from, this notion that theological and ideological opponents and sometimes political and social opponents are evil. They disagree with me. They go against the grain of the established social order. Therefore, they must be fundamentally evil and misguided and ultimately must be inspired and [00:08:00] empowered by Satan himself. 
Sarah Jack: Thank you for explaining that very complex influence that the satanic pact has had on the course of witch trials.
My question was going to be what influence, but you gave us a really wonderful, complex explanation of their influence on the course of the witch trials. Is there anything else you would want to add to that?
Scott Culpepper: Just that it really raises the stakes in a very powerful and fundamental way.
 There's little room for negotiation or compromise. It really makes a lot of these trials ultimate decisions about ultimate good and evil, with few shades of gray. It really plays into the hysteria and the radicalizing of these trials, because there's little room for negotiation, there's little room for accommodating someone when you begin to perceive that they're an existential threat to society. 
 It also removes some of that ambiguity about the nature of [00:09:00] magic, and we'll get into this more with John Winthrop, Jr., but because he and his associates are so invested in the study and practice of alchemy, and they do have a certain appreciation for what they perceive as the ability of natural forces to enable them to perform acts that almost could be considered magical in terms of discovering certain medicines or affecting metals in a particular way or improving society, they do have an appreciation that natural forces can produce certain effects, but they're much more reticent to label all of those effects as inherently evil. Part of what Winthrop and others will bring to the conversation is a return to a sort of mediating ground, an idea that not all forces that can't be explained are necessarily diabolical.
Josh Hutchinson: That was excellent. I learned a lot just in that couple minutes. 
Sarah Jack: I'm thinking, to o, the Old Testament books, when God is giving the Israelites the [00:10:00] law and asks them not to confer with mediums and spiritists, it's because that then was pact with the devil. Is that right? Were these authors looking at those scriptures and seeing that it was coming from there as a pact with the devil?
Scott Culpepper: It's complex, because the devil's appearance in the Old Testament is very scattered. And when you get into conversations with theologians and historical scholars, biblical scholars, they'll debate quite a bit over which passages that seem to refer to Satan are actual referring to Satan, how early you actually get the formal introduction of Satan into the biblical Corpus. So you qualify it with that, but I would say yes, that in the sense that maybe a pact with Satan or with the devil or forces of evil, as they understand it at the time that those texts are written during the early Hebrew period of the Old Testament, or also connected to [00:11:00] other gods who are also considered to be presences.
 There is a sense where you're not always sure, in those earliest books of the Bible, to what degree, the Hebrews reject the reality of other gods versus simply saying, we have fidelity to one God, but we acknowledge that some of these other deities that people worship, they might be active forces out there. 
 So yes and all of the above, it could be a perception of Satan as the primary embodiment of evil, or it's the idea that you're in pact with these other gods who represent forces that are anti-God. And also in that historical context, those gods would be perceived as the patrons of their enemies, as well. These would be gods who favor other states, and so there's a political and military component there, as well. And you see that, of course, as you probably know, continue into the New Testament period where early Christians tend to see the [00:12:00] manifestations of deity that are worshiped by Greco-Romans, by other people in that larger ancient world as possibly real personages but personages who are demons impersonating gods or goddesses.
Sarah Jack: Thanks for making that little jump with me. 
Scott Culpepper: Yeah, that's fascinating. 
Josh Hutchinson: We have some guests coming up in the future who have done a lot of work on Matthew Hopkins, including Malcolm Gaskill, and Matthew Hopkins was the self-proclaimed Witchfinder General of England. And he authored the book A Discovery of Witches.
Scott Culpepper: Malcolm Gaskill is a great person to talk to. He is a fascinating and well informed authority on witch trials. That will be a great conversation. And yes, we believe that book probably had a great deal of impact on the way that the leaders of Connecticut were viewing the nature of witchcraft and the way that they believe that witch trials should be conducted at the time that Alice Young was [00:13:00] executed, who of course is the first person in America who was executed for witch trials.
She's the first colonist who pays with her life for the beginning witchcraft hysteria. And we do think that these leaders, especially the ministers in the colony were aware of Hopkins' work. They were reading it as part of this transatlantic exchange of ideas, and it's very likely that they are conducting these prosecutions with Hopkins' book in hand.
Josh Hutchinson: Now I'd like to switch over to Connecticut. We spoke in episode one a little bit about John Winthrop, Jr. But for our listeners who haven't heard that episode, can you briefly explain who Winthrop Jr. was? 
Scott Culpepper: He is a fascinating historical figure, and sadly too often overshadowed by his father's history, because more people are familiar with the early history of Massachusetts Bay, which John Winthrop Sr. has tremendous influence over, than they are the early history of Connecticut. And I've encountered a lot [00:14:00] of people who don't even have a clue that John Winthrop Jr existed, which is very sad.
 Winthrop Jr. lived from 1606 to 1676. He was trained as a lawyer. He also trained at Trinity College in Dublin. Had a career of distinguished service in England before he eventually immigrated to the colonies. At one point, he is even involved in a military expedition to go relieve the Protestants at La Rochelle, which was a very disastrous sort of expedition launched by the Duke of Buckingham under Charles I, but he even is engaged in a military exploit at one point, which doesn't turn out well, but it's his claim to some military experience, I guess.
 He was raised as a Puritan. I mean, he's raised in a devoutly Puritan family. John Winthrop, Sr. certainly has a reputation as being one of the staunchest of the early American Puritan leaders. And he seems to have conveyed those sensibilities to his family. His son seems to have followed those religious commitments to a [00:15:00] degree, but he also incorporated with them a devotion to this rising fascination with alchemical science, which is personified by a lot of people during that period. Francis Bacon is one example of someone who's a very revered scientific figure who had an interest in alchemy as well.
 There's a fantastic text, a biography written by Walter Woodward, which really explores Winthrop's alchemical interest and ties it to a larger European network of people who are interested in alchemical philosophies. And a lot of people associate that with primarily transforming metals into other forms, which is probably the popular way that people would access alchemical thought.
 And that was a facet of it. They did believe that by discovering the secret formulas in the natural world they could maybe transform metals, produce better medicines. Winthrop Jr. actually engaged in a lot of medicinal production in colonial America, which is part of what [00:16:00] lent him the authority that he had in these witchcraft cases, because he was seen as one who could understand the manipulation of natural forces.
 These men and sometimes women, as well, had an expansive vision of how alchemical thought could transform the world, and they saw it as working in tandem with their Christian beliefs. Woodward goes so far as to label it Christian alchemy and talks about how these people still have their Puritan theological core, but they believe there are natural forces that can be legitimately manipulated and it's not diabolical to do so, that in fact, it could be divinely sanctioned.
 They have this utopian vision that in some ways they can use alchemical thought to manipulate both the natural world and human societies to create a better world. And so he incorporates that vision and it may be that, it may just be his personality, who knows all the causes, but Winthrop Jr., though he is very devoted to [00:17:00] reform theology and Puritan thought, it's a much gentler and more tolerant version of puritanism than what you see with his father. And in fact, later on, there will be tensions between the two Winthrops, both because of disagreements over the future of Connecticut and Winthrop Junior's role there versus what Massachusetts Bay wants to see happen in Connecticut, but then also their temperaments are different as well. Their emphases are different. Whereas Winthrop Sr. could be a little bit hard nosed, he's much more a hold the line sort of person, let's draw the lines tightly, Winthrop Jr. Is more attuned to nuance. He's more tolerant of difference and recognizes that things are just more complicated sometimes.
Sarah Jack: And do you think the differences between his father and himself is what was part of the reason he moved to Connecticut?
Scott Culpepper: Possibly, probably that, and then just the reality that every kid wants to strike out of their own and maybe be a little separate from their father as well. A lot of that is hard to [00:18:00] decipher because obviously they're reticent about talking about it too openly, but it does seem like there is a different vision, and Winthrop Jr. is a very entrepreneurial sort of character as well, so it's in his personality to strike out on his own.
 He's about building. He likes to start new works. He likes to be involved in new initiatives. He was involved very soon after he got to the New World in the founding of Saybrook on behalf of some English Lords who had acquired some land there.
 And so that initially takes him out of the Massachusetts Bay orbit. It brings him a little bit further north. And from that point, his destiny seems to be set in the direction of New Haven and in the direction of Hartford. 1646, he founds New London, and New London interestingly enough was intended to be a prototypical alchemical community.
 New London was envisioned as an almost utopian experiment in seeing if the alchemical philosophies could be fleshed out in real life and create the kind of community that could inspire [00:19:00] and change the world for the better. And so by that point, his center of gravity is very much directed towards that part of New England.
 And so when it does come to the point where they're debating, okay, should Connecticut be separate? And what about New Haven? Should Connecticut and New Haven be joined together? He very much has his own ideas about that rather than going along with the ideas that his father holds about those alignments.
Josh Hutchinson: That was really fascinating. I didn't know that about New London at all. But once he got established in Connecticut, how did he start to get involved in witchcraft cases? 
Scott Culpepper: It's almost like in the Godfather Part II, where Michael Corleone says, " just when I think I'm out, they pull me right back in."
 It was not something that he really set out to get involved in. But he is very involved in creating medicines. This is one of the things among many other ventures that he's connected to.
 He founds an iron works. He founds a [00:20:00] grist mill and in New London, he and his associates are working to produce better cures. And so he has seen as something of a healer and a medical expert. And that's the context in which he's called upon to get involved in a case that involved a woman by the name of Elizabeth Goodman, who was accused of causing these fits that were occurring that several women were experiencing, where they would just have these strange manifestations, have these spells, would often feel like they're being afflicted by supernatural powers. This is about 1653 when all of this is happening and they call him to New Haven to help with this particular case.
 And he uses his alchemical knowledge and his ideas about the manipulation of natural forces to argue that there are other ways to produce these symptoms. So it's really interesting how this works. So we're gonna see this as a continuing thread. As conventional wisdom, what we often [00:21:00] hear is that the Enlightenment is what really kills off the witch hunts or not so much kills them off as ends their formal practice. Although obviously as we've discussed there are ways in which that's still manifest today in other varieties and versions, but that's ebbing of the classic age of witch hunts around 1800. Generally, we associate that with the emergence of the Enlightenment, with skeptical thinkers who questioned the existence of supernatural forces.
 And there's truth to that. That is very true that those thinkers had a great deal of influence, but we often overlook people like Winthrop who had theological convictions and a belief in mystical practices that we would associate with almost pseudo scientific or spirituality, not necessarily hard science.
 These people from their stance could make some interesting arguments that were sometimes more acceptable to people on the ground than the arguments being made by the skeptical Enlightenment thinkers. [00:22:00] And Winthrop's able to argue there are other ways to produce these manifestations, not saying that it's not possible that Satan could afflict these women. He's very open about that and very cautious to say that, because questioning it could be very dangerous at that point. But his response is, I think these manifestations are being caused by other things. I don't think this woman is causing this through any kind of diabolical infusion of power. And so by 1655 h e is able to gain her release.
 And she is one of the first people. In fact, I believe she is the first person accused of witchcraft, Connecticut, who is not executed for the crime.
Josh Hutchinson: They executed the first seven people who were tried.
Scott Culpepper: Yes, that is absolutely true.
 So that's his introduction to being an expert witness in witch trials. It's not something he really savors, although he feels like he has performed a great service, and he's glad to have been able to do that, but he finds it distasteful.[00:23:00] He, like a lot of educated people and elite people, is somewhat disgusted by the way the trials are conducted.
 The ministers oftentimes show their very worst colors at these moments. People like Samuel Stone, who is a notorious witchcraft persecutor, or prosecutor. Stone is just heavy handed. He can wedge a confession. He can get a confession from someone just to the sheer force of personality and his willingness to be as abusive as he has to be to get that confession.
 And there are other ministers like that, as well. Winthrop's very disheartened to see these spiritual leaders acting in that manner. So it's not something he really aspires to deal with, but as you probably already know, ultimately he is called upon to be the governor of Connecticut and to represent the colony at Hartford.
 And he actually doesn't sign up for the job. He's elected to it and then asked if he will do it and he ultimately says, yes, I will. Although it wasn't something he [00:24:00] necessarily had sought highly. So from 1657 to 58, he serves his first term as governor. And then there's a year when he is out of office, and then 1659 he is reelected. And from that point forward, from 1659 to his death in 1676, he is reelected every year. And his role as governor means that he is going to have to deal with the cases of witchcraft that arise. He's not gonna be able to avoid it. And in fact, he's been given a great opportunity, because with that governmental authority, he has great discretion in deciding how the tribunals are going to be made up.
 He later on, once the charter is passed for the colony, once he receives that in England is going to have some veto power over sentences that are rendered by juries. So this places him very well to have an influence on mediating and decreasing the frequency of witchcraft prosecutions.
Josh Hutchinson: You answered so many of our [00:25:00] questions.
Sarah Jack: I'm thinking who slipped him our questions ahead of time. 
 I was going to ask how his differing beliefs on witchcraft they're different than some of the other powerful men, whether they're powerful religiously or like he was, how did that affect things or his career, but you even answered that talking about his position and the power he got from his position to be able to stop some really scary things and have an impact on the direction of some of these cases. 
Scott Culpepper: He was very well respected and very careful. And so for the most part, I never get the strong sense that he's in any real danger until we get to the case of Katherine Harrison. I think right at that point at the very end, there was a moment when he could have been in some danger, but he navigates that very well. And along with Gershom Buckley he's able to transcend that crisis, but he's very smart. He plays it very well. Like you say, he [00:26:00] states it so carefully that it's hard to hold anything against him, even those are inclined to can't really indict him for the reality of witchcraft, but you get the sense that even though he affirms it gently, there's a great deal of skepticism. And I don't think it's skepticism about the possibility of it happening. I do think he's being honest there, but as you see later in some of the documents they released during the Katherine Harrison trial, I think they probably are sincere in those documents when they state that they think if it happens at all, it happens rarely because of certain conditions they believe in about the natural world, certain conditions that have to be present for that kind of diabolical manipulation to happen. So I think it does serve him well, as you say, because it gives him a platform amongst those who are desperately convinced this occult persecution is real.
 And he's able to address it from an insider's perspective, which seems is often the most [00:27:00] effective way to do it, or at least in the past it has been. I'm not sure it works as well today as it did in the past. It seems like in our present time, all bets are off. All authorities are questioned, but if you can find an insider who can keep that insider status and make the arguments within the community, it seems like it often has an effect. 
Sarah Jack: That is what it would take. And especially some of the problems they're having in Africa right now , because it's so ingrained in the superstitious fear and the attacking of those they fear. They would have to have somebody like that. Someone like that could emerge, but we'll have to see. 
Scott Culpepper: One thing that's sobering to me is that I've encountered missionaries and other people from the U.S. who go to those places, and they come back convinced of the reality of those things, and so it has this effect of fueling the resurgence of those kinds of beliefs over here. 
Sarah Jack: The witch fear, the devil fear, the demon fear. I'm not surprised to hear that. I can just imagine, they're [00:28:00] outside their normal environment, they don't have their deep roots and support and scary things are happening and people are raging.
 So I'm sure that's some very scary experiences for people that are visiting those cultures, people in those cultures. It's very scary for them too, I'm sure. I was gonna ask, how do we know so much about Winthrop Jr? Is it from diaries? Is it just from the case documents? 
Scott Culpepper: It is both the case documents, which the case documents are sparse in some cases and a little more plentiful in others. There are repositories at university libraries and public archives where you can find trial transcripts. 
 We're hungry for more. At one time we didn't even know Alice Young's name, and then we discovered the notation that revealed her name, so hopefully there is more out there to be discovered. So you do certainly get information about his interactions with the witch trials and those accused in those documents.
 And then the [00:29:00] Winthrop family papers are in Boston, at the Massachusetts Historical Society, and both Winthrop Sr. and Winthrop Jr's. papers are there, journals, business documents, charters. There's a wealth of information there for anybody who's interested in exploring that family's life.
 Obviously Massachusetts has invested quite a bit in trying to preserve that history, especially because it spills beyond Massachusetts to other former colonies as well. 
Sarah Jack: Thank you for mentioning that resource for everybody. 
Josh Hutchinson: Earlier you mentioned that Winthrop Jr. disagreed with some of the trial procedures, and in your video you had mentioned one thing that was going on in the trials was bringing in spectral evidence. What were Winthrop's views on spectral evidence? 
Scott Culpepper: He took a very dim view regarding spectral evidence. And that was really one of the worst aspects of the witch trials in both Europe and the Americas, because how do you mount a [00:30:00] defense against something like that?
 Someone accuses you of afflicting someone with a harmful condition, and your response says I wasn't there. I was at home. I was at home with my spouse. How could I have possibly done this? And the response is it was not you, it was your familiar spirit which went forth and afflicted this person. At that point, you've got no defense, and I think Winthrop and Gershom Buckley really ingeniously dealt with that problem. During the prosecution of Katherine Harrison, there was a petition put to them by some people who were disagreeing with how they were handling the case, asking them to explain their position and justify why someone else should not be put in charge of administering the case so that the people could be sure that things are being done well.
 And Gershom Buckley was a part of drafting the response, and a part of that response addressed this issue of spectral evidence and essentially their argument was so you see, say Katherine Harrison making it appearance. In fact, one [00:31:00] person said that Katherine Harrison's head appeared on the shoulders of a pig and then disappeared, but they knew it was Katherine Harrison's face, even though the pig was quite a distance down the road, several feet away.
 And the response of Winthrop and Buckley was how do you know that this was a manifestation of Katherine Harrison? Could it not be Satan taking on the guise, the form of Katherine Harrison? Which sort of stopped them in their tracks, and they're thinking we didn't really consider that. And so they're able to raise enough doubt about the genuineness of these manifestations that it becomes basically a non entity in witch trials, at least in Connecticut.
 Now what's sad is that later on the Mathers, Increase and Cotton, they become a little more open to it, and Cotton in particular talks about it being a possibly valid way to explore accusations, and of course then Salem. You get the acceptance of spectral evidence at Salem, where it's already been dismissed [00:32:00] and made a non entity in Connecticut. You see it erupting again, as the means for ferreting out who is a witch and who is not. 
 So they, I think ingeniously dealt with that and it begins to render some of the danger to witchcraft victims, witchcraft suspects in Connecticut to be less lethal. They're still mistreated. You still have trials all the way up until 1697.
 But I think that questioning of spectral evidence really does a lot to make them less reticent to convict these people of death. 
Sarah Jack: I think it probably stopped the snowballing of the hysteria, really, because I feel like the spectral evidence just built on itself, and the next person had a bigger story and a wilder story, and people would get caught up in it.
 Can you tell us more about what a colonial charter would've been and why did Winthrop have to go to London to get it? 
Scott Culpepper: They are vital to giving official recognition to the [00:33:00] existence of a colony and stating what its relationship is to the crown. They generally will state what the colony owes the crown, how the crown views its relationship to the colony and what the political structure of the colony should be as endorsed by the crown.
 If you're gonna engage in a colonial venture, you usually want to have one in hand. Now famously in the case of Massachusetts Bay, the leaders of Massachusetts Bay secured the charter, and then they departed with the charter. Usually you leave it in the hands of the society for planning colonies or Whitehall, they have a copy of the charter.
 Massachusetts Bay took off with their charter to protect it from interference because they're trying to establish a very what they saw as unique sort of experiment, and they don't want the crown interfering, especially during the period in 1629 when they first departed for the colonies. Because this is the period when Charles I first is in power, he is not kindly inclined towards the Puritans, and so they do that sleight of hand, in order to [00:34:00] remove their charter for the possibility of being revoked or adjusted by the monarchy. When we get to the story of Connecticut, it's a very complicated story, and you'd had people who had left Massachusetts Bay to establish their own settlements. There was some question about how those settlements related to Massachusetts Bay.
 You had these population centers like New Haven and Hartford, each of which had a claim to being the major settlement in the area. And in New Haven, you've got this venture moving towards eventually starting another university, which gives New Haven more standing down the road, and there are already whispers about that sort of venture that possibility. 
 So there are a lot of complexities there. Once the charter is forged, it's gotta settle this question of whether Connecticut is going to encompass all of that area or whether you're gonna have separate settlements, separate colonies, one centered around Hartford and one centered around New Haven.
 Of course, they ultimately opt to combine the [00:35:00] two, which is probably a good decision in hindsight. Winthrop had to go to London to get it, because it had to be approved by parliament, had to be stamped by Whitehall. It had to have the endorsement of the king, and another good reason for his going was that the political situation was very tenuous at that point. 
 By 1662, Charles II has become the monarch. He is now the restored monarch of England. 
 His father Charles I had been executed by his subjects, many of whom were Puritans serving in parliament, some of whom fled the country and came to New England when Charles II became king, some of them settling in Massachusetts Bay and in Connecticut. And so Winthrop knows that he's going to have to use all of his skills of persuasion and tact, because he is essentially asking Charles II to sign on to a colonial venture that contains regicides.
 There are actual regicides there who signed off on his [00:36:00] father's death that he could decide to go after, could decide even to execute for treason if he chose to do so. One of those persons was Winthrop Jr's father-in-law, who was connected to the regicides, as they were categorized by Charles II's supporters. 
 He probably would've had to go anyway, because that kind of negotiation really required the personal presence of the person who would be serving as governor, the person who had been serving as governor, but even more because of that, in a sense they have to make their apologies. They have to do their mea culpas to get the King's grace because of what happened to his father. 
Sarah Jack: And how would've he smoothed that over?
Scott Culpepper: Likely by pledging their fidelity. There are no detailed records that show that, but pledging their continued fidelity and arguing that they are productive subjects and citizens, no possibility of them repeating what happened before at this point and pointing to the high productivity of the colony, those [00:37:00] places where they've been very successful at business ventures, at production, at sending economic fruits back to England in various forms.
Josh Hutchinson: While he was away, things didn't go very well in Hartford, did they? 
Scott Culpepper: No. And in fact, it really testifies to the influence that Winthrop had. It would be very possible to be somewhat skeptical that one man had that much ability to check the violence of the witch trials, were it not for the fact that as soon as he leaves the lid blows off, things get very bad, very fast.
 There's this young woman named Elizabeth Kelly who begins to fall into a very deep illness, and it proves to be a fatal illness. And she alleges that she sees one of her neighbors, Goody Ayers, who is coming in to torment her while she's suffering from this sickness. And at one point Goody Ayers comes to visit her, having heard the rumors and walks [00:38:00] over and says, "child, you know that I'd never come to harm you."
 But it's against her later, they say, oh, she has come to in the flesh, do what she had been doing in the spirit. And so Elizabeth Kelly's charges spark a renewed fervor for witch hunting. And soon you have things really moving outta control. Another woman, Anne Cole, also falls ill, and she makes similar accusations, and the people that are accused by her, some of them ultimately become the ones that are executed once more for this crime. 
Sarah Jack: The aspect of sickness and finding a reason for it and deciding it must be supernatural, is that tied to people being judged also? It's interesting to me that they wanna blame another resident, a neighbor, or a family member for sickness. 
Scott Culpepper: It's very sad and sick that it's so dangerous to be a healer during this period.
And maybe we could even compare it to some of the dangers [00:39:00] that doctors and nurses confront today, sometimes. They are sometimes blamed when things happen that are beyond their control, and we understand better the forces they're dealing with now. During this period, the early modern period, there's still so much that's a mystery about medicine, about what makes someone ill, why people die, about childbirth.
 One of the crazy things that happened during this round of witch trials is that when Elizabeth Kelly dies, they have her body examined by a man who's supposed to be an expert. Had Winthrop been there, he probably would've been the one to examine the body, and he examines her body, and he notes several things as signs of diabolical manifestations that we know today are just normal features of a body that is beginning to decompose, but he very authoritatively pronounced this a case of diabolical influence based on his perceived expertise, which was very lacking. 
 So midwives, they're in a very [00:40:00] dangerous position. When someone loses a child, of course, objectivity flies out the window. Very often the midwives are subject to being blamed for the death of an infant, even if they do everything they can, because they're grasping for someone to blame for some reason. 
 And you really have this whole position where if you believe that God is sovereign, and God rules all things, then you're confronted with two possibilities. Either one, God has allowed this to happen for some reason, or two God's enemy satan is somehow subverting things. And really, I don't know that gets you out of your theological and intellectual bind there, because if you say God is sovereign he is sovereign even over Satan, but for a lot of people, that was a comfort, if they could introduce the activity of Satan there then they found a way to maybe get around the idea this is just something that happened. Rather, they have someone to blame. They have a reason for it.
Sarah Jack: And then [00:41:00] the people that they're accusing, they're right there, so there's a thing that they can blame.
Scott Culpepper: And so many of these animosities are feeding off of previous issues as well. In a lot of cases, you discover that there have been disputes about land boundaries or there have been personal fallings out that then later on animate people's desire to find someone to blame. They have people already ready at hand who they have resentments toward. 
Josh Hutchinson: I know in Hartford, they executed a total of four people. You mentioned a couple of them in the talk we've been referencing in Sioux City. One that I found interesting was Rebecca Greensmith. What can you tell us about her confession?
Scott Culpepper: She is an interesting character. She was the primary person that Anna Cole cited as being the one that caused her illness, and Rebecca Greensmith was rough hewn, and she was very blunt. [00:42:00] She's exactly the kind of personality that is ripe for accusations of witchcraft.
 Because as we were talking about earlier, she is one of these women that defies the standards of deference. She is not going to be basically talked down to, and she will talk down to you if you try. And that doesn't play well in this society at this time. They brought her in, and they interrogated her. Samuel Stone was a part of that interrogation.
 And at first she seemed to be holding pretty fast, and she was fairly defiant, but after a little while, she broke, and when she broke, it was just like a flood of things began to issue. She named at least seven other people, one of whom was her husband, Nathaniel, and he also is going to go to the gallows with her. He will be executed as well. 
 Two of the others were Mary Barnes and Mary Sanford. They're the other two victims who were executed in this Hartford panic that breaks out in the early 1660s. And it's really a fascinating thing. The [00:43:00] first person in America to make such a confession was a woman named Mary Johnson, who was the second person accused and executed after Alice Young.
 And the psychology of it is just fascinating. You live in an environment where you're constantly told that you were born in original sin, that you are inherently bad. You're inherently sinful. And so when they start accusing you of these things, and that sense of depravity is so complete, like that theology is probably one of the ones that most focuses on human depravity, and it is hard to find optimistic views of human potential there. It's present in some forms of reform theology, and it can be very present, but very often, especially in puritanism, as it was being practiced in New England, that sense of condemnation is very overwhelming. You have to have a very powerful sense of God's grace to balance it to have any kind of healthy sense of self.
 And so you get these people who [00:44:00] are raised in that environment, and you get somebody like Mary Johnson, who was guilty of some things, guilty of theft, guilty of adultery, things that actually were cited as crimes or sins, and then you start telling her she is a product of diabolical influence, and you're always left wondering when you read these confessions to what degree they're saying these things to save their lives and to what degree they have decided I'm bad in this way. Maybe I'm bad in every way. I'm sinful in this way. Maybe what they say about me is true. I'm always left wondering when I read them, how much of this is someone desperately trying to save their life? And how much is this them falling prey to that idea that because I'm sinful, maybe I'm even worse than I think I am. Maybe what they say about me is true. 
Josh Hutchinson: That's a really fascinating point. I know that also came up a lot in the Salem accusations. People started to question whether they were really witches, because they did sin in other [00:45:00] ways. 
Scott Culpepper: One of the most interesting confessions ever I think is the confession of Tituba in the Salem trials.
 She is an epic storyteller and she really delivers a confession that's blood curdling, and that it touches all the points the Puritans wanted to hit. And I've always wondered. I still am fascinated by it, and I wondered to what degree she believed what she was saying and to what degree she's saying, this is what these people want to hear, and I will give them every bit of it because things are very dangerous right now. 
Sarah Jack: I was thinking about Mary Esty's petition, how it came near the end of the executions, and her confidence in her spiritual spot was so different. What she was able to articulate is very different than what happened when these other victims were tortured and pressured and threatened and scared and intimidated.
 And she got off and then was brought back in, and still, she, wrote [00:46:00] that. So it's just such a swing to the other side, then the way some of these other women found a place to put their feet.
Scott Culpepper: Imagining the strength of character, the fortitude that it would take to stand up against that constant pounding and maintain your innocence, knowing that maintaining your innocence, telling the truth is probably the surest road to condemnation.
Josh Hutchinson: When Winthrop Jr. returned from London, is he the one who stopped the Hartford panic? 
Scott Culpepper: He is. In fact, again, you could doubt, or you could be skeptical of how much influence he as an individual had were it not for the fact that when he leaves things just immediately go to an insane level and upon his return very quickly things begin to be restored to their more peaceful setting that he had been able to bring things to earlier the 1660s.
 When he returns there's one woman Elizabeth Seager who is being tried at that point, and it was very possible that she could have been [00:47:00] executed along with the others, because she was accused along with them. And it only waited for her to be formally condemned and executed for her to die and immediately upon his return. Winthrop gets involved in that case. He questions the basis by which the evidence was gathered to convict her.
 And ultimately she is freed and she does survive. She, like a lot of others do have to leave. And one critique you can make of the ebbing of the witch trials in Connecticut is that sometimes in order to secure their survival, you do have to exile people. This is what happens to Katherine Harrison as well.
Winthrop does secure her survival, but it's at the cost of her having to remove somewhere else. Course once all your neighbors have accused you of witchcraft and vandalized your livestock and attacked your home, you're probably okay moving at that point. It's probably okay to relocate. 
Josh Hutchinson: My next question is about Katherine Harrison. How was it that Winthrop Jr. was able to intervene and spare her life?
Scott Culpepper: This one to me [00:48:00] is the most interesting of all, and in a sense, this is the apex of Winthrop's involvement with the witch trials. After that, the precedents he set seem to hold, even in the future prosecutions that occur leading up to 1697. It is in a way the make or break moment, because it's here that you see the most resistance to the path that he has forced and the example that he is setting.
 You do see a minority of colonists organizing to try to overturn Winthrop's will and that of the court. 
.Katherine Harrison was a very fascinating person. She had started out fairly poor, at a middling stage, and then she had married into a very prosperous family, and then her husband dies in the mid 1660s, and he leaves a bequest to her and to her children, which is pretty significant. It makes her a very wealthy person. It makes her one of the more significant landowners in the area. And whether it be that, whether it be complications from her personality. I It seems to be a little bit of both. There were some people that seemed to [00:49:00] resent her holding that status as a woman, even after she put a lot of the inheritance from her husband in trust for her children, administered by friends of the family, people who are men, there's still a lot of criticism, and it seems like she had some bad relationships with some people in the community.
 Those people accused her of levying curses and attacking their livestock through supernatural means. And the stories just mushroom. Spectral evidence was at the heart of a lot of it. And ultimately she is confined to prison. Tried twice. She is imprisoned in 1669. She is tried. She is ultimately released, and then she is confined to prison again, 1670 and 1671.
 And so she has to undergo a second trial, and the pushback really occurs when that second trial happens, because a lot of people were insisting that Winthrop was wrong to influence her release, that his questioning of the spectral evidence and his questioning of the [00:50:00] basis of her condemnation was misguided.
 And it's at this point that those forces that are opposed to Winthrop seize the opportunity to try to undermine his authority. They will actually send a petition to Winthrop and the court stating that Winthrop and Gershom Buckley, who is the local minister and one of h is very close friends and associates, also a person who is sympathetic towards alchemical beliefs, that they should both step aside and that other individuals should be empowered to try the case, because there were questions about their impartiality. And ultimately the way that they address this is that Gershom Buckley drafts a deposition of sorts that is a response to both the petition and to questions that have been submitted by people that were curious about their methodology for exploring witchcraft accusations. And in that document, which I'm sure was a collaboration with Winthrop and others as well, he covers some specific areas. As we [00:51:00] talked about previously, the validity of spectral evidence, he covers the practice of accepting the testimony of only one person as an indicator that a spectral event has occurred. After this, it's going to be the standard that at least two people have to witness an event at the same time in order for it to be validated.
 And that becomes a pretty good way to secure the acquittal of many accused witches from that point up until Salem. For the most part up until Salem, nobody claims, hey, we've seen a spectral manifestation en masse. Of course, Salem ends up destroying that defense, because all of the young girls together claim to be witnessing supernatural manifestations in the courtroom.
 But in Connecticut, it's a pretty powerful defense because they're able to avoid two people being able to claim that they had witnessed this kind of spectral event. So it's a moment when they're able to define some precedents for the future that [00:52:00] render those trials still uncomfortable, stressful, terrifying for those who are accused, but not lethal from that point forward in Connecticut.
 So it really is a make or break moment. And it's sad because Harrison had lived in the community at Wethersfield. Even though she is freed, she essentially has to leave the community, and she later goes to Westchester, New York. It doesn't sound like things were a lot better there for her. We don't have firm records about the rest of her life. We're not even completely sure about her death. Some say it may have been in 1682, but it looks like she signed away the custodianship of her fortune and of her children's part of that to others, in order to protect herself against accusations of mismanagement and to tamp down some of those fears of what this woman who's outside the normal boundaries of society might do with her inheritance.
I'm very excited that the [00:53:00] Connecticut Witchcraft Exoneration Project is pursuing the exoneration of those who are accused. It's time. It's well past time, and I'm glad to see similar things like that happening in places like Scotland, in Massachusetts. I hope it continues, because the very least we can do is remove the stigma from these people. And I think it's great that as part of that, this educational work is happening as well.
 It's exciting to see that happening. And I hope more people will start to explore this history, because it both reveals some important stories that we don't need to forget for their own sake, because it involves real human beings who suffered and who's hardships and whose experiences need to be remembered.
 But also because it speaks so powerfully to our own times, because as much as we would like to think that we are beyond these things these things just go underground and then they emerge again, or they manifest in other forms, and we always have to be alert to their [00:54:00] reoccurrence.
 I'm working on a project right now that centers around the satanic panic era from the mid sixties to basically I'm gonna carry it up to the present day.
 It'll probably end formally in about 2016 or so, but I'll have an epilogue which carries it up to the present time, and it is very much connected with these conversations we're having about the witch trials, because the more you explore the Satanic Panic, the more you start to recognize the same tendencies, the same sorts of delusions, the same styles of propaganda, the same accusations in different ways.
 You look at the witch trials, and you've got accusations of women diabolically influencing the health of children through the agency of Satan and you think, oh, we're well beyond that. Fast forward to the 1980s, and you have the McMartin preschool trial, where people are digging up the grounds, looking for hidden tunnels where Satanists have been attacking children and engaging in all kinds of sadistic acts.
 As much as we would like to think we're beyond this [00:55:00] history, it is very much present. And part of what I explore in that project is not only how it affected popular culture at the time, but how it continues to have a ripple effect. As recently as the last two or three years, you've had things like Pizzagate and you've had QAnon conspiracies.
 And so much of this is old wine in new wine skins. It's like the old stuff in new forms, basically repackaged for a different age, but still drinking from the same. 
Sarah Jack: We are really looking forward to hearing more about that, and when you are ready to come back and have that conversation, we'll be right here.
Josh Hutchinson: We want to thank you for being on the show. It's really been very educational and eye opening.
Scott Culpepper: Yeah. Thank you very much. I've enjoyed it. It's been fun to talk, and I've enjoyed seeing things that you've posted on Twitter and the conversations back and forth. So it's fun to put names with faces.
Sarah Jack: I really [00:56:00] appreciate this conversation. I learned a lot, and I appreciated you fielding some of my extra questions.
Scott Culpepper: Yeah. Thank you very much. 
Josh Hutchinson: And thank you. It's been great talking to you. 
Sarah Jack: It was so nice to meet you. 
Scott Culpepper: Same here. Nice to meet you too. All the best with the podcast and everything else as well. 
Sarah Jack: Thank you.
Josh Hutchinson: Thank you. 
 Now it's time for more on the witch hunts happening now. Take it away, Sarah. 
Sarah Jack: Thank you, Josh.
 Which hunts happening in your world.
 Who can intervene? 
 This segment is about real people targeted, abused, murdered, or in danger of death due to witchcraft superstitions today and those who can intervene. In previous episodes, I discussed how witch hunts are human rights violation and that many African countries are currently in the midst of actual witch hunts.
 Do you recall the name of the organization that works to stop the toleration of witch accusations and hatred in Nigeria? It's the Advocacy for Alleged Witches. [00:57:00] Recently, Leo Igwe, the AFAW's vocal advocate, tweeted asking United Nations leaders and organizations that purport to grow worldwide leadership and empowerment for women why they remain silent on which persecutions of women in Africa.
 He asked them publicly and even states he has been trying to collaborate with these groups to take a proactive approach, but with no success. Keep asking, Leo. During this episode, we discussed with Dr. Scott Culpepper why John Winthrop, Jr. was able to change the course of the Connecticut witch trials and end the witchcraft executions in the 17th century.
We acknowledge that, like the American colony witch trials, it may take inside power and leadership within these modern witch hunting communities to disrupt the aggressive behavior.
We also are experiencing a long wait, and damage is done to the innocent while we watch and wait, let's support all innocent people being targeted by superstitious fear, by acknowledging and sharing their stories. [00:58:00] Please use all your communication channels to be an intervener and stand with them. Share what you've learned here. 
When you tune into the latest episode of Thou Shalt Not Suffer podcast, we will break acknowledge the latest witch-hunt happenings in your world.
Josh Hutchinson: Thank you for another informative news segment, Sarah.
Sarah Jack: And now we'll hear from Tom Mattingly and Jami Milne of Ballet Des Moines about their upcoming ballet Salem.
Tom Mattingly: I have always loved ballet as a vehicle for storytelling, and I think that there can be so much left to interpretation with the subject of witchcraft and that interpretation lends itself really well to ballet. So what I've done with Salem is I've taken inspiration from the historical events to create a fictional story, one that could have happened during the time, but isn't necessary a recreation of actual events.
Fear itself is very powerful, [00:59:00] and when we are led by fear rather than reason, there are horrific consequences.
The character of fear is very important to this ballet. Fear is played by one of the male dancers in our company, and he is not a townsperson of Salem, but he is a constant presence and influence on the entire cast, so he really interacts a lot with the girl. The girl is the one who is making the accusations of witchcraft. She feels fearful from the pressures of the people around her, and especially her father, the preacher, to continue accusing and testifying against the people of Salem.
 The Salem Witch Trials has always been a captivating subject. One of the main reasons I chose the witch trials for a ballet is because I knew it was something that would capture people's attention. 
 I hope that people are moved by what they see and think about how they view others, if they're viewing [01:00:00] others with kindness, with the benefit of the doubt, if they're giving a chance to these people that they don't know. I hope that they are inspired to learn more about the Salem Witch Trials themselves.
 It is a fictional story that I'm creating, but every element is based on historical fact. A lot of it is different people from the past kind of combined into become one character, like the Mathers with our preacher. There is one character who attempts to defend his wife, who has been accused, and he himself gets accused of witchcraft and demonic possession. Even down to the costuming, it's going to be a modern reinterpretation but based on the strict puritan dress codes of the time with the muted colors, being covered up, those natural fibers, no lace, no ribbons, very much bare bones, utilitarian in a lot of ways.
 Same thing with the set design, too, of these furniture pieces that can be used in many different [01:01:00] configurations so that our meeting house can serve as a place of worship. It can serve as the home for the trials themselves in the courthouse. Our set even has a different modular design to become the gallows when one of the characters is hanged.
Jami Milne: Tom and I were talking just this last week, and he said, "everyone knows the end of the story here. There's not a surprise, because we all know the Salem Witch Trials and what happened." 
 I don't want anyone to forget the power of a somber ending and this idea that great change can come, feeling so emotionally disrupted that you have no choice but to think differently upon leaving. And I think that will really be the power of audiences walking in the doors and then leaving with very different emotional state.
Tom Mattingly: The music for Salem will primarily be Stravinsky's Rite of Spring.
Rite of Spring is typically the story of ritual sacrifice, [01:02:00] and in a way, I feel like that's what happened with the Salem Witch Trials. It became this ritual of accusations, trials, and hangings that just continued over and over until it was finally put to an end. And it's an amazing score. It's difficult as a dancer, because it's difficult to count and the melodies are so surprising, but the overall effect, I think, is incredible, and it takes this kind of animalistic quality. And the dancers are really able to embody it, especially in these group scenes at the church or at the gallows. It's really moving. 
Salem will be performed at the Stoner Studio Theater in downtown Des Moines, October 20th through the 29th.
 Tickets can be purchased at balletdesmoines.org
Josh Hutchinson: And now we bring to you special interview with Michael Cormier and Myriam Cyr of Punctuate4 about Saltonstall's Trial, a play about the only judge who quit the Salem Witch Trial's Court due to concerns about the [01:03:00] nature of the proceedings. 
If you're in the Boston area, please attend the stage reading on Thursday, October 27th at 7:00 PM at the Modern Theater in downtown Boston. The reading will be followed by a talkback with Marilynne K. Roach, author of The Salem Witch Trials and Six Women of Salem, and the presentation is brought to you free of charge by the Ford Health Forum at Suffolk University. Visit punctuate4.org for tickets.
Michael Cormier: I am an amateur historian about the Salem Witchcraft Trials, been for a very long time. And I kept in my reading, coming across the name Nathaniel Saltonstall. And of course, Haverhill, Massachusetts has the name Saltonstall all over it, because that's where the family started, very famous New England family.
And every time I'd read about him in the books, it would have maybe a paragraph that would say that he [01:04:00] was appointed one of the nine judges on the trials. And of all those judges, he was the only one who quit in protest over the conduct of the trials. So I was always wondering what would make this man do that when nobody else did?
Myriam Cyr: And then the story is really about how this judge is going to be taught by the women who were accused to see the truth, as opposed to the fake news that was being put forward. And what's amazing about the play is that it speaks so much to cancel culture and fake news and what is truth and what is not truth.
Michael Cormier: And it highlights the Saltonstall family as a family that's being immersed in this whole tragedy from the point of view of the powers that be. Because Nathaniel Saltonstall was a Harvard graduate and grandson of English [01:05:00] aristocracy. He was he was a well connected man.
 He didn't have to do what he did, so the struggle has a lot to do with, are we part of this whole community? Do we protect those people who are helpless? Or are we this upper crust of the Puritan society, and therefore we're gonna go along with the program no matter whether they're right or wrong.
Myriam Cyr: The play has a lot of drama, and it's very exciting, and it's a little bit like a, who done it in certain parts.
 And so it's a very entertaining evening, and we see the witches on trial, the accused on trial. So we're very excited to share it with the public, and what's really exciting is that we have really all through all the steps of this process, we have kept checking in with the public as to what worked and what didn't work.
 So we're very excited and we can't [01:06:00] wait to see people's reactions to it.
We do have three Elliot Norton Award winners that are part of the cast and who are lending their voices to this and sometimes stage readings can be even more exciting than plays themselves because as a member of the audience, you can imagine what all of this will look like, because you really have the words to rely on and the images that in the powers that these words conjure and it is, it's like a spell. It's like entering a spell. And there's gonna be music, and there's gonna be sound effects and but it will be very exciting.
Saltonstall's Trial can be seen at the Modern Theatre in downtown Boston at 525 Washington Street, Boston, 7:00 PM on October 27th, which is a Thursday, [01:07:00] and there will be a talk back afterwards with Marilynne Roach, who's the author of Six Women of Salem and is very famous. She was interviewed on Jon Stewart, and she's one of the world's leading expert on the Salem Witch Trials. 
 If you go to punctuate4.org, you will see a button that says reservations, and it will lead you to where you have to go. And also it's a free event. And that is thanks to the Ford Hall Forum in Suffolk University who are sponsoring us.
Sarah Jack: And thank you everyone for listening. 
Josh Hutchinson: This has been Thou Shalt Not Suffer: The Witch Trial Podcast. 
Sarah Jack: Visit thoushaltnotsuffer.com for show notes and transcripts, and to learn how you can support us. 
Josh Hutchinson: Follow us on Twitter @thoupodcast, Instagram @thoushaltnotsuffer, and Facebook @thoushaltnotsufferpodcast. 
Sarah Jack: [01:08:00] If you have questions or feedback, email us at thoushaltnotsufferpodcast@gmail.com. 
Josh Hutchinson: Like ,subscribe, or follow wherever you get your podcasts. 
Sarah Jack: And if you like the podcast, please rate and review.
Josh Hutchinson: And tell your friends and family about Thou Shalt Not Suffer: The Witch Trial Podcast. 
Sarah Jack: Bye.
Josh Hutchinson: Bye. 
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