Where’s the Witches?

Welcome to Salem,Massachusetts.

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The year is 1692 and Salem Village has a problem. The children in Salem are being inflicted by witches. These “witches” were brought to trial and found guilty of witchcraft and sentenced to hanging. The evidence that convicted them was spectral. Nineteen people were hung, one man was pressed to death and two dogs were hung.Hundreds of lives were affected.

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GILES COREY PRESSED TO DEATH.
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In order to understand why the people of Salem hung people, they believed to be witches, you have to understand the Puritan beliefs.

The Pilgrims came to Plymouth, Massachusetts in 1620 to break away from the Anglican Church of England. The Puritans came for the same reason in 1630 and established the Massachusetts Bay Colony. Puritans were extremely strict in their worship practices and did not tolerate any other beliefs. They believed they were a chosen people by God to be a “City on the Hill” for others to look up to. Their village laws were biblical and no one was allowed to deviate from the pastoral regulations.

The Reverend Parris’ daughter Betty and niece Abigail began acting very strange so he asked Dr. Griggs to examine the girls but he could not find anything wrong with them. Abigail and Betty continued their strange behavior and other children began to copy them. Another child said the devil was after her. The adults now believed that the Devil had come to their little village. The children began to say that some of the people in the village were witches and had cast spells on them and forced them to sign the Devil’s book.

Living in a time with little medical knowledge, anything they could not explain was blamed on the devil or God passing judgement upon the people for sinful acts.

Historians have theories about what really happened in 1692. One theory is that the children had contracted a disease called Encephalitis causing them to have hallucinations. Maybe the children were looking for attention in a society where children were not allowed to speak unless spoken to. Another theory is that jealousy led to false accusations. There is almost a too perfect dividing line from the accusers from Salem Village to the accused in Salem Town.

We may never know what caused the Salem Witch Trials to occur in the winter of 1692. Regardless, the streets of Salem tell a story. A story of innocent lives lost, of jealousy and of religious intolerance. Land lost and names forever tainted is the legacy left behind in this small town by the sea.

Paranormal Activity at Abandoned Castle

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My adventure this week brings me about an hour and a half north of home to an enchanting castle! Who knew there was such a thing in Massachusetts! I am astounded by how much you can find around you when you’re searching. My daughter’s and I were determined to go on an adventure and we found one at the Tenney Castle in Methuen, Massachusetts. We arrived at the gates of Greycourt Park, where the ruins now reside, only to find that the park is closed. However, being the adventurers we are, we found a way in.

Originally built in 1830 by Richard Whittier, it was purchased and redesigned by Charles H. Tenney in 1882. On 76 acres, this castle was two stories high with five bays and modeled after a French chateau. This was Tenney’s summer residence. Tenney made his money in the hat business and worked and lived primarily in New York.

In 1951, the family gave up the property and it was used by many different organizations. Due to multiple fires, the property fell into disrepair. The Gatehouse is now the Methuen Historical Society. What is left behind of the castle is just a few stone walkways, columns, courtyard and an entry way.

The park is empty,not a person in sight. As we walk around the ruins, the architectural charm is still evident. I imagine what is was like in all its glory. The summer galas and children playing. As I am scoping the grounds, some men appear with equipment. The girls and I find this very suspicious since the park is closed. We decide to just continue exploring. As we come along the stable remains, we come along the men who had passed us earlier. They were taping. I thought, like me, they were taping the historical grandeur. Yet, I hear them calling a little girl… They are calling people from a past life. The people, specifically the children, that once roamed this area. The eeriness of conjured spirits was more than I wanted to experience so we quickly left the park. This place, like the others, tells a story. A story of wealth, of abundance, of destruction and apparently of children who never left.

Magnificent Mill Memory

This week’s adventure brings me closer to home to Pawtucket, Rhode Island. Let’s go back in time to the year 1789 to Derbyshire, England. A man named Samuel Slater spent his life working in a cotton mill and had great dreams of coming to America and making it rich . England forbade textile workers from leaving the country for fear of technology leaking to other countries and hindering England’s lead and power. However, Slater found a way by sneaking out of England memorizing the plans to build textile machines. He eventually came to Pawtucket, where with the financial backing of Moses Brown established the first water power cotton mill in America in 1790.

The mighty Blackstone River provided water power.

Slater used mostly women and children to run his mill as it was cheaper labor. Children were also useful because they were small enough to crawl into the machines to unjam looms.

Slater’s wealth grew as he continued to build more mills. He eventually started a company mill town called Slatersville. This town had a mill, tenement houses, and a store.

Andrew Jackson refers to Slater as ” Father of the American Factory System” but people in England referred to him as “Slater the Traitor”.

All other mills in Rhode Island, Connecticut and Massachusetts will evolve from Slater’s mill. The Industrial Revolution will forever change the New England economy. Many of these mills still exist today. Some are museums, while others are apartment buildings . As you visit these mills either through historical tours or walking the grounds, they tell you a story. The story of men with dreams to make it rich, a story of a family working long hours in treacherous conditions to make ends meet, and a story of economic change.

As I walk the grounds today in Pawtucket, Rhode Island, the smallest state in the United States, I look around. I see a very well preserved historic site that excites me in all it has endured over time. I think of the people from the past and what they have endured as well. And the irony is that this site is located in a poor section of the city. Homeless lying in the park, streets littered with trash, the noise of construction on old buildings nearby. And I wonder how advanced have we really come…

SPOOKY ADVENTURE

My next adventure brings us to an amazingly historically preserved location, Bannack State Park outside Dillon, Montana. Founded in 1862, when gold was discovered around the nearby creek. People flooded into this little town hoping to get rich. The town grew and flourished becoming the first territorial capital of Montana. As quickly as it grew, it quickly declined! It’s very existence depended on the extraction of gold. When World War II began, gold mining was put to a halt. This led to Bannack’s ultimate demise. By the mid-1940’s, people left Bannack in search of new jobs. With the post office closing in 1938 and the school house in the early 1950’s, the town ultimately was abandoned leaving behind a ghost town.

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Visiting in 2020, the town looks exactly the way it was left in 1950!! The buildings line the narrow street, doors creaking in the wind. The floors crackling from the weight of your footsteps, wallpaper hanging from the walls, empty root cellars, crooked outhouses, ghastly gallows and lonely grave sites all preserved to tell a story. A story that I can visualize and feel and even smell as I walk through this town. A story of a people with dreams, hopes, and fears. Some making it rich, some losing it all. I imagine them as I lean against the buildings where they once leaned. I imagine them as I touch the banister as I walk up the stairs in their now abandoned residences. I imagine them as I lock myself into the tiny cell with memories carved into the wood. This is indeed a treasure from the past!!!

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Lemhi Pass

Welcome to another Adventure in History! Today, we are moving further into the Dillon,Montana- Salmon, Idaho border. Today, we are crossing the Continental Divide!! Super cool!! Lewis and Clark and the Corps of Discovery exploring the Louisiana Territory had to cross through this pass. This pass was a path carved through the Bitterroot Range of the Rocky Mountains over centuries by natives. I am taking you to the exact location that Lewis and a small scouting party used this path to be the first U.S. citizens to cross the Continental Divide. This is such an important landmark where the Corps of Discovery were finally leaving the very difficult Missouri River behind and finally entering into the Columbia River basin which would eventually take them to the Pacific Ocean. This took place on August 12, 1805. Well… this just happens to be my birthday. So of course, I take you to this location on August 12, 2020 on the 215th anniversary of their crossing. Enjoy the video below!

What is the Continental Divide you ask….you can always ask me questions in the comment box. Make sure to like and follow me so every week you will get a new adventure in your email.

View Corps of Discovery journal here

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