July 21, 2015
“When Massachusetts exonerated the Salem victims in 1710 it overlooked six women. They remained missing through the 1940s and 1950s as the commonwealth considered pardons but could not seem to make up its legislative mind.
“One lawyer appearing before a Senate committee objected to ‘fooling with history.’ Some legislators feared expensive suits for damages. Others hinted that a pardon might knock Salem’s witches from their tourist-bewitching brooms. As the Commonwealth of Massachusetts had not existed in 1692, it surely had no jurisdiction over a verdict of Massachusetts Bay.
“On Halloween 2001 – weeks after we began to wonder anew about unseen evils – Massachusetts pardoned the last of the Salem witches….”
– From “The Witches: Salem, 1692” by Stacy Schiff (due Oct. 27)