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For most Americans today, witchcraft is the subject of superstition, myth, and legend. But for America's colonial forebearers, witchcraft was a reality. Though to most 21st-century people, New England witchcraft seems synonymous with the famous Salem outbreak of 1692, colonists wrested with witchcraft long before that time—and beyond.
In this conversation, led by an expert on early colonial history, we will discuss witchcraft in the New England colonies, with a focus on Massachusetts Bay. We will discuss witchcraft's Puritan theological underpinnings, how the Salem Witch Trials of 1692 fit into the existing legal and religious framework for witchcraft (and, more importantly, how they did not), and how a post-1692 community suffering from what we would now call PTSD struggled to reconcile their need for healing with some of their most deeply-held religious beliefs.
Trained as a historian and archaeologist, Marc has worked at history museums and community colleges all over the US. His historical interests, which have led him to author numerous historical articles, academic and popular, for publications in the US and Europe, range from architectural history, to the Spanish Empire, to Mesoamerica and the pre-Hispanic North American Southwest. His current historical project is a book about the Presidio (i.e., old Spanish fort) San Agustin del Tucson in Tucson, Arizona. Additionally, Marc likes to shoot photographs, paint, build models, and write cosmicist fantasy in the tradition of HP Lovecraft. In 2017 he published his first collection of stories and novellas entitled "The Esoteric Order of Dagon."
This conversation is not suitable for children under age 16