A few weeks ago, I was very impressed to read that Elizabeth Johnson, Jr., a victim of the 1692/1693 Salem Witch Trials, was finally pardoned. She was not put to death and lived the remainder of her life single and childless. Being declared a ‘witch,’ ruined her life in every way possible.
She kept escaping the lists of pardons, for 329 years! The story was additionally wonderful, because a class of twenty-first century eighth graders were enraged that she hadn’t been pardoned, so they petitioned legislatures and built their case. Justice served in 2022! Better late than never!
As a descendant of a Salem Witch Trial victim, the one man that was pressed to death, Giles Corey, I have always wanted to see this mystical place. Supposedly, the stone that eventually killed him is still there, on display. It has always floored me the hysteria that fueled this “witch hunt.” Basically, if you were a dissenter or in the least bit different, not to mention a woman, you could be accused. Ironically, Elizabeth lived because she confessed to being a witch. I wonder how much survivor’s guilt she had to live with? All of the other victims plead their innocence and died because of it. All because of group think!
I shudder to think of the abuses, at the hands of her own community, that she suffered. Ugly comments, spitting, pointing, denied service and/or goods, sitting in a not-so-nice part of the church (or perhaps not let in at all), due to her admitting to witch craft. Men would not court her, because of her “reputation” (some of the inspiration for The Scarlet Letter).
I also feel sorry for Elizabeth because she was basically shunned, even though the trials were declared hysteria and those put to death wrongly accused. Kind of reminds me of domestic abuse survivors. However, she dare not do anything to call attention to herself, lest she prove herself to indeed be a witch. She was in a VERY precarious position! Women were barely above property and not deemed fit to own anything in their own name. At least, she received justice, partially defended by young girls, close to her age at the time of the trials, and led by female legislatures. #girlpower #moderndaywitchcraft