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.