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“Salem Witch Trial Conspiracy” on National Geographic, 3rd July 2011

Actors re-create the last moments of the Salem accused

The Salem Witch Trial Conspiracy documentary follows American author Katherine Howe as she digs into her ancestry to find out more about a distant relative, Elizabeth Howe, who was hanged for witchcraft in the USA in 1692.

Katherine reads through thousands of pages of historical records to learn more about the Puritan minister, Samuel Parris, who inspired the first arrests. During the religious hysteria which fuelled the witch trials, over a hundred people were arrested and nineteen were hanged in what was then a small community.

Historians have poured over the unprecedented trials, which were far-reaching compared to the other cases of witchcraft heard at the time. The snowball effect of accusations and suspicion were dramatized in The Crucible – a classic theatre production written by Arthur Miller.

Through records of Parris’ sermons, Howe is able to reconstruct the circumstances in which her ancestor was killed by the authorities.

“Salem Witch Trial Conspiracy” is aired for the first time for UK audiences on the National Geographic Channel at 9pm on 3rd July 2011.

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Entertainment Desk
Editors and staff from the Entertainment Desk at The Global Herald.

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One comment

  1. Excellent investigation and sheds new light into the psychology of the minister at Salem: Samuel Parris. Although he is often seen as being at the heart of the story, the Putnums are often given more blame as it is Anne Putnum who makes the accusations and they were the leading family that pressed for the trials and the deaths of the accused. Coton Matter and Reverend Hailes all share part of teh blame, but the whole thing stated in the home of Samuel Parris and it is clear that it is more than mischief gone wrong and that some sort of hysterical conspiracy is at foot. It was interesting to meet a descendent of one of the victims and to see documents that have not been examined in detail before. The focus on the minister sheds new light and puts the blame back were it belongs, on a very desperate man and his ambitious family. Great investigation and analysis. Best documentary on the crisis for a long time. Thanks

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