Cultural depictions of the Salem Witch Trials
Cultural depictions of the Salem Witch Trials abound in art, literature and popular media in the United States, from the early 19th century to the present day.
The Salem witch trials in literature
*"Rachel Dyer" (1820), by
* American poet
John Greenleaf Whittier(1807-1892) wrote many poems about the episode, starting with "The Weird Gathering" (1831), and later, "Calef in Boston" (1849), about the public debates between Robert Calefand Cotton Matherin the aftermath of the trials.
*"The Salem Belle: A Tale of 1692", anonymous. Tappan & Dennett, Boston, 1842. See: [http://www.archive.org/details/salembelletaleof00bostiala copy at the Internet Archive]
*"Witching Times" (serialized 1856-57), by
John William DeForest(1826-1906)
*"Lois the Witch" (1859), a novella by
Elizabeth Gaskell(1810-1865), is based on the Salem witch hunts and depicts how jealousy and sexual desire can lead to hysteria. She was inspired by the story of Rebecca Nursewhose accusation, trial and execution are described in "Lectures on Witchcraft", by Charles W. Upham, the Unitarianminister in Salem in the 1830s. Historical figure Cotton Mather makes an appearance in the story.
*"Giles Corey of the Salem Farms" (1868), a play by
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow(1807-1882)
*"Salem: A Tale of the Seventeenth Century" (1874), an historical novel by D. R. Castleton (Harper, New York) See: [http://www.archive.org/details/taleseventeenth00derbrich copy at the Internet Archive]
*"Giles Corey, Yeoman" (1893), a play by Mary E. Wilkins Freeman (1852-1930)
*"The Witch of Salem, or Credulity Run Mad"', by John R. Musick. New York: Funk & Wagnalls Company, 1893. Historical fiction set during the witchraft trials.
*"Ye lyttle Salem maide, a story of witchcraft" (1898), a novel by Pauline Bradford Mackie (1873-?), Lamson, Wolffe and Co., Boston, 1898. See: [http://www.archive.org/details/yelyttlesalemmai00hopkiala copy at the Internet Archive]
*"Dulcibel: A tale of old Salem" by Henry Peterson, Philadelphia: John C. Winston, 1907. Historical fiction.
* Various stories by
H. P. Lovecraft(1890-1937) are set in the fictional town of Arkham, Massachusetts, said to have been founded by refugees from the Salem trials. For example, in "The Dreams in the Witch-House", the witch Keziah Mason, whose house the title comes from, is said to have fled Salem.
*"A Mirror for Witches" (1928) by Newbery-Medal winning author
*"Road to Endor" (1940) by Esther Hammand
The Crucible" (1952), a play by Arthur Miller(1915-2005), a commentary on the actions of the House Committee on Unamerican Activitiesand Senator Joe McCarthy.
A Break with Charity" (1992), a young adult novel by Ann Rinaldi(1934-living), takes the Salem trials as its main setting.
*"Acceptable Risk" (1995), an adult medical thriller novel by Robin Cook (1940-living), with a plot that attributes the afflictions in Salem to an unusual mold that is rediscovered by present-day medical researchers.
*"Gallows Hill" (1997) by
Lois Duncan(1934-living) is young-adult fiction in which main character Sarah, and many others, turn out to be reincarnations of those accused and killed during the trials.
Harry Potterbook series, both the third and fourth, respectively " Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban" (1999) and " Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire" (2000), both make slight references to the Salem trials
*"Witch Child" (
2000) by Celia Rees
*"I Walk in Dread: The Diary of Deliverance Trembly, Witness to the Salem Witch Trials, Massachusetts Bay Colony 1691" (Dear America Series) (2004), by
Lisa Rowe Fraustino(1961-living), is young-adult historical fiction set during the Salem Witch Trials
*In "The Last Witchfinder" (2006), a historical novel by
James Morrow(1947-living), the Salem Witch Trials feature prominently.
*"Oyer and Terminer," a sci-fi short story by Joe Masdon in the collection "Time Twisters" (Jean Rabe and Martin H. Greenberg, eds, DAW, 2007), is set during the Salem witch trials
*"The Lace Reader" a pschyological suspense novel, is based in Salem and refers to many aspects of the trials including the arrest of Bridget Bishop.
The Salem witch trials in popular culture and media
Maid of Salem" (1937): a film starring Claudette Colbertand Fred MacMurray, with Gale Sondergaard, Louise Dresser, Beulah Bondi, Virginia Weidler, and Madame Sul-Te-Wanas Tituba, directed by Frank Lloyd
I Married a Witch" (1942): a film starring Veronica Lakeand Frederick March, with Robert Benchley, Susan Hayward, Cecil Kellaway, and Elizabeth Patterson, directed by Réne Clair; a witch burned in Salem centuries ago (Lake) comes back to haunt descendants of Puritan (March) who sent her to her death. Comedy-fantasy with special effects.
* "Hocus Pocus" (1993), a Disney film comedy starring
Bette Midler, Sarah Jessica Parkerand Kathy Najimy, is set in a town named Salem.
* "The Crucible" (1996) is a film adaptation of
Arthur Miller's 1952 play, The Crucible, from a screenplay written by Miller himself, starring Daniel Day Lewisand Winona Ryder
* "Keeper of Souls" (2004), a horror film set in a fictional Southern town called Grove Hill, connects the demon to the Salem witch trials
* "The Covenant" (2006), a horror film mainly about the Ipswich Colony of Massachusetts, makes references to the Salem witch trials.
* The television series
Bewitched(1964-1972) includes six episodes in Season 7 (1970) that were filmed on location in Salem, with a plot that includes time travel to 1692. On June 15, 2005, the TV Land Network erected a bronze statue in Salem of Elizabeth Montgomeryas the lead character, Samantha. TV Land spent $75,000 to install the sculpture in Salem's Lappin Park. It was sculpted by StudioEISunder the direction of brothers Elliott and Ivan Schwartz. [ [http://www.bewitched.net/statue6.htm Bewitched Elizabeth Montgomery TV Land Bronze in Lappin Park Salem Massachusetts ] ]
Leonard Nimoy's television series "In Search of..." (1977-1982) aired Season 5, Episode 109: "Salem Witches" (1980)
* The science-fiction TV show
Voyagers!had the main characters, Bogg & Jeff, help Benjamin Franklinsave his mother, Abaia Folger, from being hanged during the Salem witch trials in episode No. 4, "Agents of Satan," which first aired on October 31, 1982.
* A television mini-series "Three Sovereigns for Sarah", starring
Vanessa Redgrave, Kim Hunter, and Will Lyman, first aired on PBSon May 27, 1985.
* In "
The Simpsons" animated television comedy series (1989-present), a segment of the 1997 Halloween special episode " Treehouse of Horror VIII" is based on the Salem witch trials.
*Episode 348 of Season 19 of the sketch comedy series "
Saturday Night Live" (first aired October 2, 1993) contained a skit depicting the "Salem Bitch Trials" in which Abigail Wolcott, played by Shannen Doherty(who played the part of Prue, a witch on the TV series " Charmed", see below), is examined by Deputy Governor Danforth, played by Phil Hartman, on charges of "bitchcraft," with testimony given that she had told a woman her dress made her hips look big and snubbed a man's proposal. The sketch ends stating that she and 19 other women were burned at the stake. [ [http://snltranscripts.jt.org/93/93bbitch.phtml Salem Bitch Trial ] ]
* In the television series "Sabrina the Teenage Witch" (1996-2000), in Season 1, Episode 23 (1997), "The Crucible," a class field trip goes to Salem to re-enact the trials.
* In "
Histeria!", an animated television series for children (1998-2001), episode 36, "When America Was Young", included a People's Court-style sketch based upon the trials. View episode: http://video.aol.com/video/tv-histeria-when-america-was-young/1813972
The History Channel's " In Search of History" (1996-2000) television series aired the episode "Salem Witch Trials" (1998).
* In "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" (1997 to 2003), episode 45, Buffy, Willow and Amy are considered a threat to Sunnydale and left to burn at the stake after the apparent sacrifice of two children in an occult ritual.
* In "
Charmed", a television series (1998-2006), part of the fictional background is that Melinda Warren, an ancestor of the three fictional protagonists, was burned at the stake in the Salem witch trials. See Season 1, Episode 9, " The Witch Is Back" (1998) and Season 3, Episode 4, " All Halliwell's Eve" (2000)
* PBS's television series "
Secrets of the Dead" (2000-present) aired Season 2, Episode 1: "Witches' Curse" (2002), featuring Linnda R. Caporael
The History Channelaired a documentary "Witch Hunt" (2002).
* "Salem Witch Trials" (2002), starring
Kirstie Alley, Shirley MacLaineand Peter Ustinov, was a television mini-series, airing in the UK as 4 parts, in the US on CBSin 2 parts.
Discovery Channel's " Unsolved History" series (2002-2005) included Episode 23, "Salem Witch Trials" (2003)
* Issue No. 18 in September 1962 of "Unknown Worlds", from
American Comics Group, contained an 11-page story called "Witch Hunter of Salem", depicted on the cover, in which the minister who was hunting witches in Salem turned out to be one. Zev Zimmer (Script), C. C. Beck(Pencils), Pete Costanza(Inks); Cover by Ogden Whitney.
*"Visions of Hate!" appeared in the comic-book "Marvel Team-Up" in 1976, as part of a serialized story-line in which
Spiderman, Vision, and the Scarlet Witch travel through time to Salem, 1692, to battle an arch-nemesis, Dr. Doom -- who has enlisted the help of Cotton Mather-- get entangled in the witchcraft accusations. Pages 11-16 in particular depict the historical episode.
* The second album by the
indie rockband Liars, " They Were Wrong So We Drowned", is a concept album about the trials.
Rob Zombie's album " Educated Horses" (2006) contains many references to the trials, in track names to lyrics.
Jello Biafrahad a side-project entitled "The Witch Trials", and his work with the Dead Kennedysmade a few references to them.
Neal Petersonmentions Alice Parker in his song "I wind my clocks / OneSixNineTwo". Peterson is a descendant of Parker.
* American death metal band
Ishiahave a song called "Witch Hunting in Salem".
19th Century Illustrations Depicting the Episode
The story of Salem featured prominently in many publications in the 19th century about the 17th century colonial foundations of the United States. The illustrations continue to be reproduced widely in 20th and 21st century publications, in many cases without accurate attribution or reference to the century in which the illustrations were created. This gallery includes their citations and the names, where known, of the artists who created them. Check the for more that may not be included here.
19th & 20th century photographs of 17th century buildings related to the episode
Although a few of the houses that belonged to the participants in the
Salem witch trialsare still standing, many of these buildings have been lost. This gallery includes photographs take in the 19th century and early 20th century that preserve the visual record of these homes.
References and Notes
Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.
Look at other dictionaries:
Cultural depictions of the Salem witch trials — Fanciful representation of the Salem witch trials, lithograph from 1892. Cultural depictions of the Salem witch trials abound in art, literature and popular media in the United States, from the early 19th century to the present day. Contents … Wikipedia
Salem witch trials — Salem Witches redirects here. For the minor league baseball team, see Salem Witches (NEL). The central figure in this 1876 illustration of the courtroom is usually identifie … Wikipedia
Cultural depictions — may refer to any of the following articles: Cultural depictions of Alexander the Great Cultural depictions of Tony Blair Cultural depictions of Julius Caesar Cultural depictions of cats Cultural depictions of Charles I of England Cultural… … Wikipedia
A Mirror for Witches — is a 1928 novel by American author Esther Forbes, dealing with the witch hunt in 17th Century New England. The book is still popular and is in print. It has also been adapted for the stage. The novel precedes by decades the more famous The… … Wikipedia
Cotton Mather — This article is about the 17th century Puritan minister. For the rock band, see Cotton Mather (band). Cotton Mather Cotton Mather, circa 1700 Born February 12, 1663(1663 02 12) … Wikipedia
Mary Bradbury — Born Mary Perkins Hillmorton, County Warwick, England Died December 20, 1700 Salisbury, Essex, Massachusetts Known for Accused Salem Witch Convicted Later Exonerated … Wikipedia
Dorothy Good — (properly known as Dorcas Good) was the daughter of William Goode and Sarah (Poole) Goode. Both Dorothy and her mother were accused of practicing witchcraft in Salem at the very beginning of the Salem witch trials in 1692. Only 4 1/2 years old at … Wikipedia
performing arts — arts or skills that require public performance, as acting, singing, or dancing. [1945 50] * * * ▪ 2009 Introduction Music Classical. The last vestiges of the Cold War seemed to thaw for a moment on Feb. 26, 2008, when the unfamiliar strains … Universalium
Mary Walcott — For the American botanical artist, see Mary Vaux Walcott. Mary Walcott (July 5 , 1675 – after 1719) was one of the witnesses at the Salem Witch Trials of Salem, Massachusetts in the years 1692 and 1693. Deposition of Mary Walcott, August 3, 1692… … Wikipedia
Sarah Good — (July 11, 1653 – July 19, 1692) Born in Salem Village (now Danvers), Massachusetts, was accused of witchcraft in 1692. It has been proved in multiple ways that Sarah Good was falsely accused of witchcraft. She was accused only because of… … Wikipedia