+ COMMERCIAL GROUPS
"God hath sifted a nation that he might send choice grain into this wilderness."
--Chief Justice William Stoughton
County of Worcester, Mass. (USDA-NRCS Photo)
Festival of the Dead -- Salem, Mass.
Halloween is the time of year when the shades of the dead whisper from forgotten places and spirits walk among us. The Witches of Salem honor this time with Festival of the Dead, an annual event series that explores death's macabre customs, heretical histories and strange rituals. Presented by Salem Witch Christian Day and hosted by the foremost authorities on the spirit world, the festival beckons guests to step through the veil into a realm where spirits await. The official Salem Witches' Ball is the world's most exclusive Halloween event! Celebrate the afterlife where the dead cavort with the living.
Haunted Salem -- Salem, Mass.
Haunted Salem is a world of enchantments! Walk the narrow streets of the "Witch City" and you will pass spellbinding shops, strange museums and travel through time as you read the epitaphs of history on one of many colonial graves. Meet real Salem Witches who are waiting to guide you through the city's mysteries. Shop mystical emporiums that will entice you with treasures found nowhere else. Scare yourself with one of the several family-oriented haunted attractions. Whether you seek to unravel Salem's haunting past, or to experience its bewitching present, a journey here is one into wonder and magic.
Hocus Pocus Tours -- Salem, Mass.
Beyond the myth, the magic and the legend lies a simply scary truth. Discover it on a Hocus Pocus Tours sunset stroll through Salem's quaint streets. Join others in a journey back through time and uncover historic facts about intriguing people, peculiar places and extraordinary events from the city's colonial beginnings to the present day. Experience this powerful and historically accurate evening walking tour which reveals Salem's dark shadows. It is unlike anything you have ever witnessed. The costumed historical hosts help revive a Salem long past, and which still bewitches its visitors today. Come resurrect Salem's often neglected history.
Salem Haunted Happenings -- Salem, Mass.
Haunted Happenings is one of America's most exciting Halloween festivals. At the bewitching seaport of Salem, Mass., this event offers fun for the entire family in one of the region's most historic and picturesque towns. Nobody celebrates Halloween quite like Salem. Whether you are seeking the changing leaves and cooler weather that New England autumn brings, or the ghosts and goblins that Halloween is known for, you will find it here in October. The annual celebration begins with its Grand Parade and continues with a full month of over 125 businesses, events, museums, attractions, shops, haunted houses and fantastic dining.
Witches of Salem Winter Frolic -- Salem, Mass.
Witches of Salem Winter Frolic will warm your heart and soul. Conjure holiday cheer and Yuletide magic as you join an evening of wintry enchantment. Celebrate the icy world of glittering snow, magical frost and golden gifts of the heart with those you love. Leanne Marrama and the Witches of Salem invite you to a banquet of gourmet delights and revelry. On this night when darkness battles light, they will illuminate the Yule tree by casting spells of Elven magic for the return of the golden solstice sun! Dance away the season's darkness as all revel in fellowship and joy!
+ GENEALOGICAL GROUPS
" The most remarkable was an Old Woman named Dayton, of whom it was said,
If any in the World were a Witch, she was one, and had been so accounted 30 years."
--The Rev. Increase Mather
County of Worcester, Mass. (USDA-NRCS Photo)
Essex Society of Genealogists Inc. -- Lynnfield, Mass.
Organized in 1975 as a chapter of the Massachusetts Society of Genealogists, the Essex Society of Genealogists Inc. became an independent group in 1981. It is based at the Local History and Genealogy Room of the Lynnfield Public Library. Its collection includes approximately 3,000 volumes of genealogies and town histories. The collection also includes a complete run of the Massachusetts vital records in printed form and on microfiche, microfilm of county census, early probate and deed records, and many journals and genealogical periodicals. It also house some sources for other areas including greater New England, New York and Atlantic Canada.
FamilySearch.org -- Salt Lake City
FamilySearch.org is a non-profit service sponsored by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. They believe that every person is important and that families are meant to be both sacred and eternal. To help in this great pursuit, the church has actively gathered and preserved genealogical records worldwide for over 100 years. They have learned that interest in family history is not limited by culture, ethnicity or religious faith. People around the world are innately and intensely interested in their family heritage. FamilySearch.org is the largest collection of free family history, family tree and genealogy records in the world.
Massachusetts Historical Society -- Boston
The Massachusetts Historical Society is a major research library and manuscript repository. Its holdings encompass millions of rare and unique documents and artifacts vital to the study of American history, many of them irreplaceable treasures. When the Rev. Jeremy Belknap, a Boston minister, brought together nine acquaintances in 1791 in a friend's parlor, his goal was to find a way to gather and protect the basic sources of American history. Through their pledges of family papers, books and artifacts, the founding members made the society the nation's most important historical repository and publisher by the end of their initial meeting.
New England Historic Genealogical Society -- Boston
The New England Historic Genealogical Society, founded in 1845, is the oldest genealogical group in the United States. The charter members (Charles Ewer, Lemuel Shattuck, Samuel G. Drake, John Wingate Thornton and William H. Montague), a group of merchants and book dealers, envisioned an association devoted to "collecting, preserving, and publishing (occasionally) genealogical and historical matter relating to New England families. We wish, by united action, and through the aid of our extensive collections of printed and manuscript works, to furnish the means to every person descended from an early inhabitant of New England, of tracing his genealogy and history."
Peabody Institute Library Danvers Archival Center -- Danvers, Mass.
The Danvers Archival Center is a division of the Peabody Institute Library of Danvers, Mass. The library was established in the mid-19th century through the philanthropy of George Peabody. As part of the Danvers Historical Commission Master Plan of 1970, the purpose of the center is to collect and place in one location, protected from fire, and atmospheric and insect damage, all the written and printed materials relating to the history of Danvers and Salem Village, Mass. The center's Ellerton J. Brehaut Witchcraft Collection is perhaps the most complete collection of printed materials relating to the trials in Salem Village.
Susan S. Wilkinson, PAG -- Norfolk, Va.
Susan S. Wilkinson is a Professional Accredited Genealogist and is also a member of the Daughters of the American Revolution, the Association of Professional Genealogists, and the National Genealogical Society. She performs professional family-history research, genealogy, paleography and document translations. Bloodlines of Salem members or applicants for descendant membership are invited to contact her at 330 West Brambleton Avenue Suite 402, Norfolk, Virginia 23510-1372 or by telephone at (757)640-8662.
OTHER GENEALOGICAL GROUPS
Ancestry.com -- Provo, Utah
Associated Daughters of Early American Witches -- Sacramento, Calif.
CyndisList.com -- Puyallup, Wash.
EOGN.com -- Northborough, Mass.
FrancisCookeSociety.org -- Boca Raton, Fla.
Greenslit.net -- Mound, Minn.
LinkPendium.com -- Frazier Park, Calif.
RootsWeb.com -- Provo, Utah
+ HISTORICAL GROUPS
"History is the story of events, with praise or blame."
--The Rev. Cotton Mather
County of Worcester, Mass. (USDA-NRCS Photo)
17th Century Colonial New England -- Concord, N.H.
Margo Burns, M.A., is the project director and an associate editor of "Records of the Salem Witch-Hunt," a scholarly edition of new transcriptions of the legal records of the trials, which is forthcoming in 2008 from the Cambridge University Press. She is a descendant of Rebecca Nurse who was executed during the trials, and owns the 17th Century Colonial New England web site which examines the Essex County, Mass., witch hunt of 1692. Burns also owns and moderates the RootsWeb.com SALEM-WITCH mailing list which is published for trials descendants. There is a digest mode as well as regular mail mode.
DEV Communications Inc. Archiving Early America -- Bradenton, Fla.
At Archiving Early America, you will discover a wealth of resources -- a unique array of primary-source material from Colonial America. Scenes and portraits from original newspapers, maps and writings come to life on your screen just as they appeared to this country's forebears centuries ago. As you browse these pages, you will find it easier to understand the people, places and events of this time in the American experience.
Peabody Essex Museum -- Salem, Mass.
Peabody Essex Museum presents art and culture from New England and around the world. The museum's collections are among the finest of their kind. The museum is the largest repository of court documents related to the Salem Witch Trials. For more than 100 years, students have used the original 17th-century trials documents at the Phillips Library. The library has, in cooperation with the University of Virginia, published these documents on the Internet. Whether the student is seeking information about his ancestors, or the role of Nathaniel Hawthorne's great-grandfather in the trials, the library is the repository to which one turns.
University of Virginia Plymouth Colony Archive Project -- Charlottesville, Va.
Plymouth Colony Archive Project presents a collection of fully searchable texts, including: court records, colony laws, 17th-century journals and memoirs, probate inventories, wills, town plans, maps, and fort plans; research and seminar analyses of numerous topics; biographical profiles of selected colonists; and architectural, archaeological and material culture studies. The project also presents studies which focus on broader regional and temporal scales including Jim Deetz's analysis of changes over time in Anglo-American gravestone styles in New England, and discussion of the Parting Ways site and archaeological evidence found there of architectural forms and mortuary practices consistent with elements of African-American heritage.
University of Virginia Salem Witch Trials Documentary Archive and Transcription Project -- Charlottesville, Va.
Salem Witch Trials Documentary Archive and Transcription Project consists of an electronic collection of primary-source materials which relate to the Salem Witch Trials and a new transcription of the original trials documents titled "Records of the Salem Witch-Hunt," to be published in 2008 by Cambridge University Press. The archive includes trials documents, historical maps, contemporary and record books, and personal letters as well as images of the documents, indexed according to various archival collections. The project draws heavily upon the manuscript and rare-book collections of several participating libraries, archives and historical societies. Funding has been provided by several foundation grants.
Yale University Law School Avalon Project -- New Haven, Conn.
Avalon Project is dedicated to providing Internet access to primary sources in the fields of law, history, economics, politics, diplomacy and government. The project links to other documents described in the body of its texts to facilitate study and navigation. The project will, no doubt, contain controversial documents. Their inclusion doesn't indicate endorsement of the contents nor sympathy with the ideology, doctrines or means employed by their authors. They are included for balance and because, in some cases, they are referred to by another document. In short, it offers as much navigation as possible to move easily around the project.
OTHER HISTORICAL GROUPS
OldRehoboth.com -- Rehoboth, Mass.
+ REENACTMENT GROUPS
"In 1692, there was a good supply of ne'er-do-wells
who dallied at the shuffleboard in Bridget Bishop's Tavern."
--Arthur Miller, "The Crucible"
County of Hampshire, Mass. (USDA-NRCS Photo)
Historical reenactment includes a continuum from well researched attempts to recreate a known historical event or period for educational purposes, through representations with theatrical elements, to competitive events for purposes of entertainment which might be considered a form of live-action role-playing within a historical context. The term "living history" describes attempts to bring history to life for the general public. The line between amateur reenactment and presentations at living-history museums can be blurred as, while the latter routinely utilize museum professionals and trained interpreters to help convey the story of history to the public, some museums and historic sites employ reenactment groups with high standards of authenticity for the same role at special events.
Plimoth Plantation staffers described the various recreation activities that trial participants might have enjoyed beyond their work, and need to fish, hunt and trap. Many of the activities are still popular today. Staffers described how certain crafts, sports and games were encouraged more than others by the puritan leaders. Activities which were considered useful to promoting life skills and health were preferred to those that were games of chance.
A craft is an activity or hobby which is related to making things with one's own hands and skill. Crafts which might have been enjoyed by trial participants include carving wooden toys, making cornhusk, rag and wood dolls, making "Pinwheels" and "Whirligigs," embroidering and quilting, reading and writing, and playing house for children.
A sport is an activity that is governed by a set of rules or customs and often engaged in competitively. Sports which might have been enjoyed by the participants include racing, rolling hoops, running and walking, swimming, swinging, walking on stilts, and playing games of "All Hid" (known also as "Hide and Seek"), "Blind Man's Bluff," "Hop Frog" (known also as "Leap Frog"), "Hopscotch," "Lummelen" (known also as "Keep Away"), "Pitching the Bar" (known also as "Log Throwing"), "Stool Ball" (similar to "Volleyball") and "Tag."
A game is a structured or semi-structured activity, usually undertaken for enjoyment and skill, and sometimes also used as an educational tool. Games which might have been enjoyed by the participants include playing "Backgammon," "Ball In a Cup," "Blowing Bubbles," "Bobbing for Apples," "Chess," "Draughts" (known also as "Checkers"), "Fox and Goose," "Game of the Goose," "Gliffes" (known also as "Tongue Twisters"), "Hunt the Slipper (similar to "Button, Button; Who's Got the Button"), "Jacks," "Nine Men's Morris," "Nine Pins," "Naughts and Crosses" (known also as "Tic-Tac-Toe"), "Quoits (known also as "Ring Toss"), "Ring Taw" (known also as "Marbles"), "Table Shuffleboard," "Tabletop Nine-Pins," "Tops," and "Yo-Yos."
Danvers Alarm List Company Inc.: Rebecca Nurse Homestead -- Danvers, Mass.
Rebecca Nurse Homestead and Danvers Alarm List Co. offer information about visiting the 17th-century property associated with the Salem Village Witchcraft of 1692, and the modern alarm-list company. Also included is basic, factual information about the infamous witchcraft outbreak of 1692. The homestead is owned and operated by Danvers Alarm List Company Inc., a non-profit, educational, 18th-century reenactment group. Its members portray the militia, minute and alarm companies of Danvers and surrounding communities, as they existed in the 1774-5 timeframe. The alarm-list company presents its impression to the public through demonstrations, exhibitions, parades, living-history encampments and battle reenactments.
G. Gedney Godwin Inc. -- Valley Forge, Penn.
G. Gedney Godwin Inc. has supplied film props to nearly every historical film produced in the last 20 years. The company's unique inventory of museum-quality reproductions has found its way into numerous scenes on both television and the silver screen by fulfilling the promise of the company founder that "[t]hose gentlemen who will favor him with their custom, may depend on their work being dispatched and their favors gratefully acknowledged, by their most humble servant." The 17th-century reproductions include men's military and civilian breeches, shirts, jackets, shoes and weapons, and women's formal and casual day dresses, aprons, coifs and bodices.
LukeHistory.com: 17th Century Reenacting and Living History Resources -- Herndon, Va.
Luke Knowlton is the reenactor of a veteran of the wars in the Low Countries who is now the quartermaster-sergeant and clerk for Sir Thomas Blackwell's Regiment of Foote, Sergeant-Major's Company, a 17th-century royalist English Civil War unit. Knowlton's LukeHistory.com offers information which describes much of life during the trials including news sheets, military pamphlets, texts of black-letter political and civilian ballads and other documents which were copied from microfilm and facsimiles of period originals, bibliographies and links. To complete the reenactment of period life, Luke's Kitchen includes favorite recipes for chickpea torta, mussel brose, pickled eggs and pickled garlic.
Plimoth Plantation Inc. -- Plymouth, Mass.
Plimoth Plantation, a bicultural museum, offers powerful, personal encounters with history built on thorough research about the Wampanoag people and the colonial English community in the 1600s. The museum's exhibits, programs, live interpreters and historic settings encourage a new understanding about present-day issues affecting communities around the world. The visitor experience is at the heart of its work. The setting, staff and a compelling approach to history combine to provide a memorable visitor experience. The museum is successful when a satisfied visitor recommends the museum to family and friends. The museum is supported by admissions, contributions, grants and generous volunteers.
Smoke & Fire Co. -- Waterville, Ohio
Smoke & Fire Co. is a catalog of colonial clothing, patterns, books, historic camp gear and period accoutrements. The company offers quality merchandise for your museum or living-history hobby. The company attends several events every year because its staffers enjoy camping at historical sites and being part of the celebration of history. Smoke & Fire News publishes information about living histories including the 17th century. The news has a readership of more than 4,000 people in the United States, Canada and other nations where more than 500 copies are sold over the counter in a growing number of museums and black-powder shops.
OTHER REENACTMENT GROUPS
BroomShop.com -- Grants Pass, Ore.
Colonial Living History Alliance – Blairstown, N.J.
Derbyshire Arms – The Dove Valley, Dovedale, England
Food Timeline: Colonial American Recipes -- Randolph, N.J.
Forces of Montcalm & Wolfe – Danville, Ind.
Thirteen/WNET New York: Colonial House -- New York
Woodland Confederacy – Eastern Woodlands of North America
+ CONSPIRACY THEORIES
"Ye are all against me…."
County of Worcester, Mass. (USDA-NRCS Photo)
Conspiracy writer Fritz Artz Springmeier (b. 1955) described in 1998 and 2002 as part of his book "Bloodlines of the Illuminati" that the Salem Witch Trials revealed how certain trials-participant families and others were actually part of a secretive Satanic world government which practiced and promoted witchcraft among other things. While he suggested that many of 13 such bloodlines enjoyed Massachusetts and witchcraft connections, he emphasized the Collins Family and described their immigration in 1630 to the year-old settlement of the Governour and Company of the Mattachusetts Bay in Newe-England.
"The Collins family is an old New England family. Early members of it were Francis, Edward and John.... Part of the family is both related to aristocracy and to witchcraft. For instance, I have a complete list of all people accused of witchcraft in New England in the 17th century which includes some Collins.... My research shows the family has been connected to witchcraft since they arrived in New England in the 1630s, and may well have practiced it centuries prior to that.... In 1640, in Aquiday, Mass. [now Rhode Island], a Collins was accused of witchcraft. In 1653, Jane Collins was accused of witchcraft in Lynn, Mass. And, a Collins family lived in the Salem, Mass., area of Marblehead during the 1650s when the witch trials occurred. They were neighbors to the family accused of witchcraft.... However, the worst example of dealing with 'witchcraft,' the Salem Witch trials, was instigated by the Collins family to destroy Christians. Christians have been held accountable for something the Collins family did to Christians in Salem, Mass.," Springmeier wrote.
OutlawJournalism.com staffers produced in 2007 a video recording of Springmeier speaking to an audience about his book and its claims. His detractors included California-based European-American Evangelistic Crusades Inc. founder Pastor John S. Torell (b. 1939) who wrote in 2003 that Springmeier was sentenced to serve nine years incarcerated at the Federal Correctional Institution in Sheridan, Ore., for his part in a 1997 bank robbery. Prosecutors presented at the sentencing hearing evidence of domestic terrorism which was found at Springmeier's home including explosives and illegal weapons, white-separatist antigovernment instructions, and plans of U.S. government buildings and a business.
Fictional Collins Family characters were featured in the ABC-TV series "Dark Shadows" (1966-71) that tells a story about an ancestral patriarch who was a Salem witch and deflected provincial attention by accusing and convicting others which cursed the family forever.
Fictional Collins Family character Chase Collins was featured in the Sony Pictures Entertainment motion picture "The Covenant" (2006) that tells the story of the Sons of Ipswich, four young students bound by their sacred ancestry. As descendants of the original families who settled in Ipswich Colony in the 1600s, the boys have all been born with special powers. When a fifth descendant suddenly moves to town, secrets begin to unravel which threaten to break the covenant of silence that has protected their families for hundreds of years.