This weekend marks the first execution of the Salem Witch Trials that took place 325 years ago. Bridget Bishop, one of 19 people executed for witchcraft in the Massachusetts city, was already on her third husband by the time the witch trials began. As the assertive mistress of two taverns, she had developed a reputation for arguing with her husbands in public and had been known to throw a wild party or two at her establishments. “I have no familiarity with the devil,” Bishop told the courts. Still, it didn’t save her life.
According to History of Massachusetts: “Bridget Bishop was not the first victim accused during the Salem Witch Trials of 1692, but it is believed that officials chose to hear her case first because they felt, given her prior history and reputation, it would be an easy win. They were right and a string of other convictions and executions followed hers before the hysteria came to an end in 1693.”
The burgeoning contemporary interest in witches, witchcraft, paganism, the occult, and their links to feminism and female power inspired our list of books on the subject of the Salem Witch Trials. Let us know your recommended reads on Facebook and Twitter.