I’ll admit I was depressed when my local supermarket started putting Halloween candy out before my kids went back to school, but I’ve actually been thinking about the creepiest season of the year for months now. Thanks to CHS trustee Richard Tomlinson (author of Witchcraft Prosecution: Chasing the Devil in Connecticut), we’ll be hosting a fascinating panel discussion on the history of witchcraft in Connecticut.To answer the question: “Should Connecticut apologize for hanging witches?” our panel will examine special treasures in the CHS collection that shed light on how the beliefs and experiences of people living in colonial Connecticut shaped the trials and subsequent hangings of those accused of witchcraft. Telling the story of the trials and executions that began in 1647, more than 45 years before the more famous Salem trials, documents like the original complaint against Katherine Harrison and a letter from Gershom Bulkeley, in which he adamantly denies his relationship with accused witch Mercy Disborough, will be paired with a discussion of why the harrowing story of the hanging of witches in colonial New England continues to haunt our present-day imagination.
I was fortunate to attend a program planning session with Mr. Tomlinson and his fellow panelists State Historian Walter Woodward and Stanley-Whitman House Executive Director Lisa Johnson and the dry run of the debate got positively heated. Their enthusiasm for the subject was absolutely infectious, and we’ll be very pleased to share their passion and energy on the subject on October 4! Here are all the details:
Friday, October 4, 5:30-7:00 pm, Should Connecticut Apologize for Hanging Witches?
A Conversation Featuring Walt Woodward, Lisa Johnson, and Richard Tomlinson
$10 CHS members, $15 non-members, Refreshments provided
For more information, please call (860) 236-5621 x289 or email [email protected].
Jennifer Steadman is the Adult Programs Manager at the Connecticut Historical Society