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'Before there was Salem, there was Connecticut': State formally pardons accused witches

A memorial brick for Alice or "Alse" Young, the first known American victim of witch hangings.
A memorial brick for Alice or "Alse" Young, the first known American victim of witch hangings.

Before the well-known witch trials in Salem, Massachusetts, Connecticut had its own spate of trials and executions. In mid-1600s colonial Connecticut, dozens of women, and some men connected to them, were accused of witchcraft. Eleven people were executed.

Earlier this year, the state moved to clear the names of all those accused of witchcraft in the state, and issued an apology. The resolution followed panel discussions and hearings with state lawmakers, descendants of the accused, and local historians.

This hour, we listen back to some of those discussions, and check in with the Connecticut Witch Trial Exoneration Project. Sarah Jack, the organization's co-founder, discusses a new effort to erect a public memorial along the Connecticut Witch Trial History Trail.

Plus, Dr. Katherine Hermes discovered evidence that accusations of witchcraft continued well into the 1700s where we live.


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Katie is a producer for Connecticut Public Radio's news-talk show 'Where We Live.' She has previously worked for CNN and News 8-WTNH.
Catherine is the Host of Connecticut Public’s morning talk show and podcast, Where We Live. Catherine and the WWL team focus on going beyond the headlines to bring in meaningful conversations that put Connecticut in context.