Today I have the co-authors of Salem VI - Rebecca's Rising here at the blog.
Salem’s Infamous Witch Trials- the ultimate example of the thin line between good vs. evil.
Like any big chapter in history, one has to break down the documented stories to often very simple and neglected ingredients. Unfortunately, these often neglected, simple facts are conveniently left out of most documented and repeated versions of the said history. Case in point, Salem’s witch trials and history. Let me start by saying, as a descendant of both the most famous accused witch, Rebecca Nurse, and also a descendant of her main accusers, the Putnam family, I resent how history and the documents version has lasted more than 320 years and has made the City of Salem today the Witch Capitol of the world. It is 2012, and you cannot go visit Salem without seeing the witch on a broomstick logo flying on the sign of ice cream parlors, on stores, hotels and even on a giant white water tower that sits on top of Gallows Hill, where 19 innocent people were hanged. Let me come back to Gallows Hill.
Today, thanks largely to Arthur Miller’s The Crucible, most people view the Salem Witch Trials of 1692 as some strange period where something gray or dark cast a shadow over Salem Town and thanks to the wild and vivid imaginations of a few teenage girls, accusations started to fly about certain people who made the girls contort and scream in pain and horror. The conclusion was the accused secretly practiced some black magic that allowed their bodies to be home to Satan’s whims and evil pleasure and the devil was spreading his terrible presence in the small Puritanical community. The girls were brought into special judicial proceedings and asked to details their accusations, and when they did, they used their incredible acting abilities to go into hysterics and scream like the devil and point their angelic fingers at a helpless old lady like Rebecca Nurse. Rebecca was not more a witch than the most god-loving and fearing old woman you know. But, like the others, she stood charged, publicly humiliated, tortured and eventually convicted of spreading Satan’s dreaded darkness and if she did not confess, she would have to be hanged to rid Salem Town of evil.
But what simple facts are absent with this simple version of history? How about a greedy feud over land? One of the oldest ingredients in war in history, land disputes. The fact is the Nurse family and certain powers to be were battling over land possession. How about a zealous religious figure who care more about power and influence than spreading the Holy word of God? The Reverend Samuel Parris was a scary dude, in terms of power and greed. A deadly combination as history shows when a religious figure hides behind the cloth of God but whose real drivers are more power, land and wealth. The simple fact is the good Rev. Parris stood to benefit if old Rebecca was put down like a sick dog, because with the witch conviction would come the stripping away of home and land for Rebecca’s family. She lost, he won.
The real and sad irony is the fuel for the perverted judicial proceedings that still make Salem famous or infamous was the same fuel that was present in an old Western town when one land owner wanted total control over the town. In many of those cases, the Sheriff or law was bought and paid for and anyone who stood in the way was shot or framed of an horrific crime and hung from a tree outside of town. Organized crime operates much the same way and is driven by the same simple fuel.
There was a real good vs. evil reality in old Salem Town. But it may not have been the classic version of Satan vs. good. It may be that Satan did benefit from the simple forces of greed over land or power by mere mortals who used just about any spiritual or paranormal excuse they could think of to justify getting more of what they wanted. In this sense, it was good vs. evil. Finally, the guilt and conflict from all this. The fact that I feel what Nathaniel Hawthorne felt when he changed the spelling of his last name from Hathorne to Hawthrone to distance himself from the actions on an ancestor who took part in the formation of actual legal courts to hear and try the witch accusations is testament to how screwed up smart people became to allow a simple fight over greed to persist and develop into simple murder. The fact that the City of Salem is debating over the exact location of Gallows Hill- the site of the hangings makes me wonder how many people really want to know the truth.
Salem VI: Rebecca's Rising
Book One in the Salem VI trilogy
By Jack Heath and John Thompson
Publisher: Pressque Publishing
July 19, 2012 (eBook)
September 28, 2012 (hardcover)
Number of pages: 275
Word Count: 77,084
Purchase Links: http://www.salemwitchtrilogy.com
Former primetime television reporter John Andrews thought he’d lost everything when his wife died but as timeless bloodlines, first crafted during the Salem witch trials, are redrawn he realizes he has more at stake. Salem, Mass isn’t what it used to be—or is it?
Having stepped off the fast track of primetime network television news, John Andrews has chosen a quieter life as editor of Salem News, a small paper in a quiet New England town. Life is perfect until Andrews’ wife is killed in a tragic accident. After several years of trying to numb the pain with alcohol, Andrews is visited by the spirit of a long dead ancestor who opens a door to a shocking family history. After he experiences a surreal glimpse into the past, Andrews must confront the question of whether he is losing his mind or whether for several hundred years his ancestors have been engaged in a secret battle with a coven that worships Satan. Fueled by the need to understand whether his wife's death was really an accident or something far more sinister, Andrews, along with his beautiful assistant editor, risk everything to discover a truth so horrifying it threatens to destroy everything and everyone he knows and loves.
About the Authors
Jack Heath is the host of NH Today, New Hampshire’s only live afternoon radio talk show, and cohost of Sport Legends of New England with Bob Lobel, which can be seen throughout New England on Comcast Spotlight. A direct descendant of Rebecca Nurse, the last person to be tried and hanged during the Salem Witch Trials, and Ann R. Putnam, one of her accusers, his first novel, Salem VI, is an altogether modern take on Arthur Miller’s The Crucible.
John Thompson spent twenty-five years as an investment banker in New York before retiring to write full time. He is the author of the Brent Lucas trilogy, The Girl from Felony Bay, and coauthor of Salem VI. He lives with his wife and daughter and divides his time between Charleston, South Carolina and Hawley, Pennsylvania.
Author web links: