Last Salem, MA, ‘Witch’ Finally Pardoned 329 Years Later Thanks to 8th Grade Civics Class
This was definitely surprising to hear about.
Most of us know of the mass hysteria that was the infamous Salem Witch Trials back in 1692. Since we live fairly close to Salem, many of you have likely driven down there in October to spend some time in the small city during its peak Halloween season. Speaking from experience, things gets pretty crazy, but it's an absolute blast and everyone should definitely join in the fun at least once in their lifetime.
But at the end of the day, we do have to keep in mind that behind all the spooky stores, museums, ghost tours, merchandise, and overwhelming commercialism, is a tragic event that needs to be acknowledged. 19 innocent people were hanged after being convicted of witchcraft, and a 20th person, Giles Corey, was pressed to death.
We obviously know that these people, both those executed and those accused and/or imprisoned, were not actually witches. As of this week, everyone's names had long been cleared...except for one woman.
According to many news sites including NBC, Elizabeth Johnson Jr. was convicted of witchcraft and sentenced to death back in 1693. The Smithsonian Magazine explained that 22-year-old Elizabeth, who lived in Andover, Massachusetts, survived due to being sentenced close to the end of the hysteria, as well as an intervention by the state's governor at the time.
But for young Elizabeth, even though she survived, she was also never officially pardoned, either. 328 years later, in 2021, an 8th grade civics class from North Andover heard about Elizabeth's story and decided to do something about it, according to NBC.
The news site shared the great news that yesterday, on May 26, 2022, Massachusetts lawmakers officially pardoned Elizabeth. She is now the last person to be pardoned from the ridiculous accusations of witchcraft that took place over three centuries ago.
We're grateful and thankful for both the students and lawmakers that took a stand and cleared Elizabeth's name once and for all.