I’m slowly making my way through these journal prompts. Even if I’m tremendously behind, I’m feeling pretty good about having done several written things this month, when sometimes I could go weeks without touching my blogs at all.
So the prompt for this day: What is the history of the craft of your region?
The prompt suggested, for example, if you live in the United States, you could talk about the Salem witch trials.
And, oh MAN could I talk about the Salem witch trials. I love the Salem witch trials. I mean, not the part where people died, of course, but as a historically fascinating time in our nation’s history, I’m crazy about this event. It has spawned so much interest in the supernatural in this country, and even though several men and women had to give their lives, the trials have created an ongoing conversation, even over 300 years after their conclusion. That is some pretty powerful history. We probably don’t talk about Titanic as much as we talk about the Salem witch trials.
I’ve actually done some really interesting research (well, I think it’s interesting) into the trials based on Arthur Miller’s The Crucible. Now, I’ve heard that a lot of Witches have a sore spot for this play, and I can completely understand why. The women are basically demonized, the cheating husband uplifted, and a strange, effed-up love story is added to smudge female sexuality. It’s not great in that way.
However, like I said, this play has ensured that conversations are still being had about this event, and the crazy persecution that awaited them at the hands of the church. Even if the conversation is not perfect, it will get people talking about some of the basic injustices of the event. And even the most basic English teacher will know that the events of the trials are stretched a little for authorial creativity, and hopefully they’ll tell their students this so teenagers don’t go their whole lives thinking that Abigail Williams was really banging John Proctor (heads up, in real life she was something like eleven, and he was in his sixties).
My research (which was conducted for a term paper) was actually about Tituba, and it was inspired by the idea that Tituba might really have been a precursor to what we consider a Witch. At the time that I wrote this paper, I was truly becoming fascinated with the idea of Witchcraft, and so I wanted to sneak that into the paper (it pretty much became my hypothesis). I wish I could find the paper now, but after college things seem to kind of get lost on your computer hard drive, of course.
Anyway, the Salem witch trials were certainly an incredibly interesting part of American history, even if they were part of the horribly tragic persecution of witches across Europe and the Americas. Thankfully, as an American, I’ve grown up hearing about this fascinating moment in our history and I have been able to help continue the conversation about witchcraft persecution in the United States.
Well, that’s all I’ve got on that one….