It took more than three centuries, but Salem’s last witch has finally been pardoned


It took more than three centuries, but in the end the last witch of Salem was pardoned. This well-known Massachusetts town has officially exonerated 22-year-old Elizabeth Johnson, convicted of witchcraft in 1693 and sentenced to hang at the height of the famous trial that inspired many of her television series and movie spin-offs.

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Saved in extremis by the first royal governor of this American state, she had asked for rehabilitation, but the file was rejected in 1712. It was a class of university students from North Andover who were passionate about this affair and who set out to prove innocence. by Elizabeth Johnson. A research work that took place over many months. “They spent most of the year working, drafting a bill, writing letters to elected officials, creating a substantial dossier, reviewing Elizabeth Johnson’s true testimony, learning about the Salem witch trials.” explained Carrie LaPierre, one of their teachers. Collective paranoia, insertion of hallucinogens without their knowledge (contamination from barley and rye that grew throughout the city), conspiracies, mysticism, puritanism pushed to excess, commercial rivalries, sectarian drift initiated by pastor Samuel Parris … so many theses that were developed in an attempt to understand this process which led to 300 convictions and 20 executions.

Reverend Samuel Parris (1653–1720) Wikimedia Commons

The results were sent to the state senator who linked the success of their research to the struggles for equality that women are waging today. “Even though we have come a long way from the horrors of the witch trials, women still today see their rights questioned and their concerns rejected too often.” said Democrat Diana DiZoglio. Cleared for history, we don’t know what became of Elizabeth Johnson. At most she never had children and never married …

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