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tv   Salem Witch Trials Legal Documents Project  CSPAN  July 22, 2017 10:30am-11:51am EDT

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relationship of the american people to the federal government. he advocated reforms that have a continuing impact on our lives today. and he had a worldwide impact through his advocacy the united nations and other international organizations, which he hoped would ensure greater international cooperation, and ultimately, greater peace among nations. ♪ >> you are watching american history tv, 48 hours of programming on american history every weekend on c-span three. follow us on twitter for information on our schedule and to keep up with the latest history news. free 25year marks the 5th anniversary of the salem witch trials. women and men suspected of witchcraft were jailed and put
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on trial. a book she discusses managed titled "records of the salem witch-hunt." 12 individuals worked to complete the book. this presentation is part of an all day salem state university presentation. host: welcome back. i am thrilled to see you all here for what should be a really interesting session. i would like to introduce to you my good friend and partner in witchcraft studies, margo burns. margo was one of the leading experts on the trials. one of the editors in the "records of the salem witch-hunt ." in some degree, she probably has forgotten more about the individual documents than i will ever know. we asked her to speak about those records and the amazing things you can learn from a close read of them.
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i should also mention that she is the author of my favorite articles on the salem witch trials. it looks at the issue of false confession that i strongly recommend to you. margo burns. [applause] thank you. just so you know, i have a completely different read on the coercion of false confessions that he gave a few minutes ago. so read my article and you will , find out. i am here today primarily to talk about the actual documents. and how do we know what we know. one of the things that had was thad was doing is -- whenever i read or hear anything about the salem witchcraft trials, i tried to go back to the primary source. this is "records of the salem witch-hunt."
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this is the size of a ream of paper. it comes in paperback now. if you are serious about studying the salem witchcraft trials, i highly recommend you getting one. there were so many of this doing it i do not get a penny in , revenue from it because we had , to split it 12 ways. the history of this book -- bernard rosenthal -- absolutely amazing man. he is a literary critic who is the head of the english department at binghamton university. melville scholar. salem, he wasered also very interested in social justice. he thought there was a great injustice that happened here. as a literary critic he began to , read the primary sources because that is what literary , people do. you read and say what did they actually write.
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the end result was the "salem stories." he also discovered a lot of mistakes in the transcriptions of the documents. he got caught up in a couple of them. he said, well, it would be really nice to change and ask all of those things. that is when he embarked on this project. he did not realize it would take this long. he figured two or three years. it took 12 of us 10 years. when i saw this book, and it was heavy, i thought -- is that all it is? because we had taken so long. bernie the first , project manager was supposed to be joe, a longtime professor at salem state who tragically passed away just as the project was starting. i don't really know how it happened but it happened that , bernie found me right as he was about to start work on this and he took a huge chance on me. later on he would say he knew what he was doing, no he didn't. it worked out well. butit worked out well. when we talk about the 12 people. the other 10 include six linguists from scandinavia.
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why a linguist? they can read old handwriting. they are historical linguists and are used to dealing with primary sources that are hand written. he was in finland. the first person he spoke with was a linguist interested in reading the transcripts of the interrogations. and he said he knew where they were, in helsinki. the next person he spoke about was from the university of helsinki. got him on board. one of his colleagues, who is now in sweden. the three of them came on and they each brought a younger colleague. it was an interesting crowd to work with. i was very happy i had a master in linguistics so i could interpret. because people are interested in
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people interested in historical linguistics don't have a lot of common ground. we also had some americans including gretchen adams. we also had benjamin ray. you probably know the website at the university of he has a book virginia. and the e version gives you a portal into his website. traft from danvers. and our very own marilyn. -- whenink is just people say, you know more than anybody, i say no she is the , person. she has been doing this a very long time. she knows so much and has looked at everything. she was invaluable in this.
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she would say, oh, do you know about this document. she ended up writing the thumbnail bios for everyone in the book, a herculean task. so, we are very indebted to her. the whole team was an amazing thing. and the fact that we finished it in less than a decade was amazing. thad has already given us an overview. i would like to talk about the actual documents. if we are going to talk about what happened, if you have ever heard me talk before, i do go in depth into what it took document ary-wise to do i whole case. this is my one slide summary. there are three phases to any case. first, the investigation, when someone would complain. the magistrates send out a warrant and the person would be interrogated. sometimes in public and sometimes in private.
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they decided there were grounds to hold them over, they would hold them over. and then a jury of inquest, a grand jury, would be called to look for facts. they would summons people. they would have dead bodies examined. they would look, especially at witchcraft trials, they would look for witches -- there was an occasion in the 1600s, a woman was accused of infanticide, having a bastard child and killing it. witchcraftn the trials, but they and paneled a jury of women to examine her body. and they said that she had never given birth. no baby, no death. this was the kind of thing that they typically would do. finders of facts. in this case, especially looking for witches -- after the inquest, the grand jury could decide whether the charges were true or not. this is when the actual charges were being made.
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and they would write up an indictment specifying those things. and the grand jury would look at it and say -- we believe this is a true bill. the crime took place, we think there is good reason to go to trial. or they would say, well, no. my favorite was when they would write "ignoramus." if they wanted it to be a true bill on the indictment, it would go on to prosecution. you would be arraigned and you could plead guilty or not guilty. most people do not know but four people pled guilty. they did not have trials. they went right to sentencing. but you could plead guilty or not guilty. when you hear the story about giles getting pressed to death, there is another phase at the hearings. you had to agree to be tried before god and the country. the country being the jury. giles said no and that put things to a halt. because it was all -- all the
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steps you would have to follow to do this. he threw a monkeywrench into it which they found very strange -- which prompted them to find that strange torturous death, they pressed him to death. everyone tried at the salem trials was found guilty. and you would, within short order, be executed unless you were pregnant. if you pled guilty, you would have some time to make your peace with god. and do all of the things to clean up your act before they would execute you. this last one was the death warrant for bridget the ship. the seal was from william stoughton. he is the only one who signed it. that is the basic thumbnail now for a case. to learn about this, we looked at all of the documents. and the original manuscripts are in 12 different archives. when we first started out the , one on the left is a digitized image from microfilm.
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a lot of these things -- if you go to mass archives to see documents, they point you to microfilm first. before you get to look at anything. i believe it was ben ray who had grant.e he is great at making grants. he had all of the microfilm digitized. that made my heart go a quiver. oh, manuscripts. in short order, we are looking at these things and they are not great. so, ben and i went to a lot of trouble to go back to the library where most of the documents are and photograph and scanned them. you can see a big difference. the one on the right was one of the indictments for rebecca. you can see that it is nice and bright. there were two colors of ink. that was something immediately apparent to us that would not have been from microfilm. and sort of like, what is going on there. guess what, even in those days, those documents could be boiler
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plates. one person would make the boilerplate and someone else would fill it in. but it is all handwritten. those were the things we could see when we looked at the actual manuscripts. volume 135 at the mass archives was actually a book a bound book , of documents. you would have a page with a cutout and they would put the manuscript in between two layers of silk. you could see both sides, kind of. and you could page through them. but, the microfilm -- they did not even have the master anymore. they just had the one in circulation. you can see that it was horrible. poor gretchen -- she was trying to transcribe from these. she was using photoshop and all sorts of things. finally, i went down and got permission. the people in the archives of all of these places were fabulous. i photographed them all. at that point they were all still in the book. i had to shoot and shoot.
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the most recent time i was there, they had taken apart the book and put each one in its own archival folder. they are still in silk. the silk goes over the wax seal. not optimal but preserved. this allowed us to make better transcriptions. in addition to original manuscripts, there were a lot of things out there -- facsimiles of manuscripts and we did not know where they were. the one on the left is a negative photostat of the interrogation of abigail hobbs. well, what do we have this? in the early 1920's, a lot of people had interesting old documents, would go to libraries that had a photo static copier. they would say, i have this interesting document, you want a copy. the positive of this one is at the historical society. i already knew they have a collection there of records. the book at the massachusetts state archives -- when i opened
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it up to photograph those things this fell out. , it was tucked inside. went, i know exactly what this is, but who knew it was here? i was hoping it was something we had not found yet. but no the middle one is from a , 1936 catalog selling this document for $85. if you remember in the news a couple of years ago, there was another witchcraft trial document that came up for auction for about $30,000. it was an investment of $85. the one on the end was from a 1904 book. this is the only version we had of it. kind of tattered. while we were working on it, dick trask tracked it down at the university of michigan. you never know in some cases where they are. we do not know where that document for abigail hobbs is. there is a little bit of providence at the massachusetts historical society but not much.
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we also discovered that we had handwritten contemporaneous copies of things. so on the left we had one and on the right is basically an account of the same interrogation. both in the handwriting of samuel parris. we have no idea why there are two versions accept he was taking things down in shorthand and then reconstituted them into his account. shorthand was useful for a young minister, because they could listen to some of the matter and use shorthand to take down absolutely everything and then reconstitute it. that is one reason why we know so much about salem village, why we know so much about the pleas of innocence, because samuel parris took it all down. there is a reason why arthur miller poached from him. it reads like a plate. she says that, he says that.
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there is sound over here, we couldn't hear. all of the descriptions come from samuel parris because he was reconstituting it from his shorthand. if i could find one of those documents -- i would love the shorthand of that. he sometimes made make two copies. we also had some handwritten, contemporaneous copies. on the left, clearly a first draft. several people crossing things out and adding things, and the cleaned up copy on the right. the challenge is that the markup on the bottom of the left one, the messy one, looked like a mark from the person signing it. you didn't necessarily have your signature, you might have a mark. it looks like that is the actual signed one, but the other one is cleaned up. so, why we have these contemporaneous copies, we are not sure. we also have some later, handwritten copies. the one on the left is a tracing of one of the documents that was out in public for a long time. the original is pretty tattered.
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but i was looking at it and said other but same as the , it is not fluent. i held them up. someone had gone to the trouble to trace the document. this is in a different archive, the boston public library. y had theght the original manuscript, but who knows when this was done. the is a copy of samuel parris' second one interrogation. it maintains the same line structure and layout on the page with the to dub -- with the two columns, but it was done later. there are little things with errata. and on the far right is another copy of some of the old records. on the far right is when they didn't have the records we had -- we had to tease these things out. there are also things we do not have manuscripts for. these are published transcriptions of documents.
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we don't have any. the one on the far left is lawson's account of some of the days in april in 1662 when he went to find out if his wife was murdered. that came out pretty quickly. there was a lot of information in that. the next one is a decree from 1692. those things would be written out and officially published. the third one over is from 1700 when he is describing a lot of things and taking to task everybody that was involved. there are things there that we do not have any original manuscripts. when you hear that rebecca nurse was originally found not guilty, this is how we know. he has accounts and there from her and the jury foreman saying they were pressured to go back and bring her in guilty. and then the last one is a page from governor thomas hutchison's history in the 18th century. he had taken a lot of the original manuscripts home and he
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was writing a history of massachusetts. he has transcriptions of all sorts of documents that we do not have today. two words-stamp act riot. his whole house was trampled. i have heard -- maybe it is fake news -- his library was trampled and some of the draft pages still were dirty. they trampled everything. a lot of these documents just disappeared. 1900s, therein the that had named poole an earlier draft of this book. in that, there were snippets of other documents. we are slowly but surely putting together all of these pieces. in 1840, thomas gage published a history of raleigh, massachusetts in which they have nine documents of the case of margaret scott.
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margaret scott was executed. i bet very few of you even know who she is. you might have seen her bench, but there are only nine available to tell her case. and two of them are in the essex county court archives. that the phillips library holds. and two of them are in private collections. if you hear about an auction of one, those are the two indictments that pop up but , there are five more. where are they? four are at the boston public library. it is after our book was published, we were trying to figure out if we could identify more of the handwriting in these documents. so we did archive hopping for , two weeks. we went to the boston public library to go to the rare books and manuscripts room to see if they had any contemporaneous manuscripts we could maybe identify handwriting.
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we had been doing this in our book. at one point, we were looking up all of the towns. that might be helpful here at we opened up one of the drawers of the card catalog. card catalog. [applause] ms. burns: ok. this was march, may 12, five -- march 2012, five years ago, card catalog. we were looking up raleigh. and we wondered what this meant. four documents in the case of margaret scott. my heart skipped a beat. i thought, we only had it turns nine. out that these are four of the five that we did not know where they were. we already knew the text, but because we were really looking at the manuscripts, it was really nice to see the handwriting. quite often, these older transcriptions did not look at every mark on a manuscript. sometimes, on the back, they would not copy that stuff but we did.
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we were looking at everything so we could try to figure out the date, and who wrote it. one of the big things is bernie -- about the records is that bernie was determined to set it up chronologically. the handwriting came as the second thing. because when we were all transcribing, if you have a document with this much of somebody's handwriting and you have an ambiguous area where you do not know what it says, it would be helpful if you had a couple of pages by somebody in in theirhandwriting -- handwriting to compare and resolve the ambiguity. we started sorting early on so we could keep track of whose handwriting was where. anybody who spent time with the documents would be able to identify some people's handwriting. but we wanted more. this gave us a little more information. just a side note, pedro went back about a week later and they
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could not find them. and they were very apologetic. but they couldn't find them. remember, this was around the time that the margaret scott indictment had just gone up for auction and brought in about $30,000. they said, we will find it. we will let you know. a month past, i made a call. they were really ticked at me. we told you we would let you know. every day that passes is not good. and so i pushed. , i was home sick for a couple of days and made some phone calls. and sure enough, i went up the chain. i know somebody who used to work there, i said, this is the right person? she said, yeah. by the end of the day, they had gone through and found them. she called me back. a few years later, when you heard about the rembrandt that had gone missing. this was the boston public library.
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it made the front page of the "boston globe." it was worth $.5 million and they lost them. went they had just mishelved them. and what it was, i thought, yes, i knew that would happen. it caused a lot of tumult at the boston public library. even have why do they these things. shouldn't they know more about their collection hearing and i thought, card catalog. i double checked yesterday and it turns out that their rare book and manuscript department is closed until 2019 as they are going through to reinventory and make improvements. i am happy to report they are responding to that, but i was going -- this stuff i need to see. i have to wait how long? but anyone going to the philips library -- how long did we have to wait for access to the
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philips library contents? there were other transcriptions going on and arthur miller probably used woodward's records. this was a page that woodward's crew went through and transcribed most of the stuff that was in the essex county court archives. this is a page from the examination. and little bit -- it reads like drama. i want to draw attention to this but one. where someone was saying -- there were two rats. a red rat and a black rat, i thought that was a and interesting some of the stuff i one. had been reading had said -- they were talking about rats and cats. i'm going that is odd. ,why rats and cats? here is a little piece from the document. there were red rat and a black rat. at the time that woodward was a it, he didn't know there was another account of this examination. and this one was written in the
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hand of ezekiel from salem village. this particular is at the new one york public library in the thomas madigan collection. these old libraries often started rare book collections. this was one account. if we zoom in here, " i saw two cats, one red and one black. what did they do? " one said cat and one said rats. did they hear it differently? how do we resolve this? a lot of people said, she saw cats and rats. let's take a look at this. ?s it cat or rat it kind of looks like rat, doesn't it? until you look at some of the other things. me -- no, hek to came to me. these are unambiguous references
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from that letter. these are unambiguous c's. ezekiel was hearing the word cats but there are , transcriptions out there that say the word rats. we also encountered some other things. this was a piece in thomas putnam's handwriting. i looked at it and thought -- i need a calendar. the 15th of may was a sunday. why would they do an examination on a sunday? they are better things to do. i looked at it again and thought it might be the 11th. that would be more appropriate. i went on a search for more examples of his handwriting and look at that -- his five has two strokes. and is definitely a five. and his unambiguous one, he made curly ones. correct thatto
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date, absolutely but we had to , make a case for everything that we did. when we were looking at the different -- sometimes we called them recorders or scribes. we couldn't come up with exactly what we were going to do, but i made a whole database. it was available online. and we had examples of different people's handwriting. and then we had some profiles with some of the features that helped us recognize that person's handwriting and a list of the documents that included that person's handwriting, so we could refer to it to make our transcriptions better. that was the original reason for doing it. eventually, we had so much information, we decided we had to share. if you look at the entries, you can see in some cases we identify the location of whose handwriting appears where. every document starts off with hand one.+ it is a little more detailed and some of these transcriptions,
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and i can sometimes bear out -- it has some meaning. you can find about 24 or 25 people that we came up with and identified in the book. but we found over 200 variant hands as we went through. most of them have really weird names. when we were doing our archive hopping, i was determined to determine who "scribe w" was. i have a couple of links, didn't find out. if you look at some of the older transcriptions of things, they have transcribed it as a w. it isn't. i want to know who he is. i am sure it is a he and it was someone involved in the grand jury proceedings. we do not know who he is. we have found his writing in other contemporaneous documents. still don't know who he is. we kept track of all of these. we were looking at the features
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of a particular hand -- these are shots from our database. in for example, samuel had a small, cramped hand. some of the spelling was particular. thomas putnam could not spell the word "witch." i don't have to see his handwriting to know it is him. parsons, it will tell you who the person is. anything that was distinctive that could help help to tell us to defend handwritings. punctuation is something that could identify you but simon loved colons.
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i have no idea what they mean. if i see a document that has a lot of those, it is simon. and abbreviations were critical. we use a lot of contractions with apostrophes and they were not doing it that way then. the most common is -- the "ye." the superscript in the is an abbreviation for the there were . there are ways to do that. a lot of different ways to do that. there was an abbreviation for that. sometimes, they would do the w with something. they would do a lot of abbreviations. there were other abbreviations people would use.
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if you wrote the word "common" -- there are a lot of loops in m. you have a document with two different things associated with it. >> there are a lot of particular styles. we can keep track of what a person's stylewise. these are things we were playing around with. documents were created by a lot of people. any document might have several people's handwriting it. that court archive, volume one, their early on, we had our own custom names for them. we are seeing some behind the books. is our behind the blood.
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the hand in the document, because we are trying to make sure that we got good transcription, wheat -- we kept track of workout. there is word count. it was really nice to know that we kept track of that so you , do i have a good example of somebody else's handwriting. could go and say -- we had parameters for inclusion. we ended up saying that we had that person's name, it had to be a significant contribution, we hear this person did it because we decided. that wasn't enough, we will you for big players, paris and putnam. we are looking for anyone who would recognize as one of them. we had 2425. it has been eight years.
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because lots things there don't understand. there's the transcription on the right. one of the things we are doing with the chronology is that not all documents -- i was a little tough. we have a lot of documents that don't have dates. it was handed to the sharks look at her. -- it was handed to the sheriff. on the back, using -- i have brought her in on the day you requested. we have documents that have two different dates associated with it. how do you put that into a chronology? we kept track of how many dates we had.
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we got to fill up five at one point. dates, what is the function in the document? this is one i thomas putnam, the thesition of merry walcott, outset the grand jury you had to swear the truth of your testimony. we know it was used before the grand jury. this is a notation that was used at trial and the trial was in
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august. three different dates three different handwritings, thomas cup putnam, and the clerk of the court. this is what it looked like in our database. i managed to wrestle him away from that a little bit. . it was tough for him because he is a linear guy. differentmade for versions. finally, at the end, we spent two days on skype. 8:00 the morning until noon, break for lunch, 1:00 until 5:00, break for dinner and then back.
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every single decision we made, and checking algorithm to make sure everything was being ordered perfectly. when you see all of the entries in here, that is exactly what the algorithm put out. all the cross-references, all of the notes taken from people. remember, we had six people in scandinavia doing things. we had have a commonplace to do it. i want to bring us back to this document. here is the testimony, this is what she was saying. you got a pretty good read on this. you can see the top is in a brown and the bottom is in great ink. i was sitting in the reading room at the phillips library and dick was saying, this is interesting, an ink change. you only get one document at a time, it there were three of us geared we each ordered a document.
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it turned out, we found a whole bunch of them from thomas putnam that had two inks. across the archives, we found more geared i don't know if there are 15, 16 of these out of the 200, but they are all, curiously, the ink changes in a particular spot cured you could understand he ran out of ink and started with a different batch. the curious thing across these documents is that all started with "being the day of his examination," and started with the word "also," and the date. the crime itself is listed as the date of the examination. that is because the crime that
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was written against all of these people, remember when they were saying you had to have two witnesses for the same criminal act. during the public examinations, the things that were happening and the girls were supposedly afflicted right there, everybody could see that. they were not tried on the crimes they had done before they were arrested. this whole piece was added to support the indoor -- the indictment.
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one had five dates. the middle of the middle of july july in andover, they were relentless. they kept going back to her. we have five different dates associated with that document. one of the things you may notice, the types of uses. within a particular day, we needed to be able to sort what is the order on a particular day. we wanted to keep the offices return with the warrant or the summons. there are all sorts of pieces. we had about 60 different types of uses. you may see offices return but what he was connected with. arrest warrant and return the same day. arrest warrant on a different day.
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this could help the algorithm. we have the information of what function and what part of time as this document have. this is a lot of fun, i have to say. this warms the cockles of my heart. what kinds of questions can you ask, with all the information on the handwriting and time? these are two big pieces of the records of the salem witch hunt. the chronology and handwriting. there a -- there are a couple of things you can do. one is figure out a pattern of the offense. the person who gets lamed a lot for the trials is femoral -- is the minister. we know his handwriting and most people do. if you go through and date them, they all show up in one place. i passed out the handout with
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the timeline. the pink area is before the court was actually seated. this is a time when people kept accusing people and they would say, hold them over. by the time the court was seated, there were 60 or 70 people already in custody. all of the things that the minister did, all of the documents and interrogation, everything was in that time period. you don't see them going forward. you take the handwriting and timeline, he was only doing things at the very beginning, before the official court even took place geared we see his handwriting a couple of times later, but those are mostly to swear oath on his testimony. if you want to see when he is doing his stuff, that is when it was cute they kept going. each one of those spikes is a day.
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it tells you how many people were caught up on any given day, how many people a snatched -- they snap speared that would be sarah osborne and --. >> it were a lot of times that were involved with this. the ones in yellow are the people from salem village. once in black are all over town. i would like to point out that the young and green are really in the first half and read is over. there were two phases to this whole episode. the total is less than the number of people. when you talk about the and over aspect of it, it changed a great deal. c on march, april, may, that is when samuel parris was involved.
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that was that big spike, it is higher than any others. this is right before -- it is like they said have we missed anyone? that is when you get the warrants for susannah martin. i love timelines, i can't wait to start serving. individual people -- when you're talking over 150 people came wrapped up his accusations. it is really hard to size it out, you have to see it over time. it isn't like then there are other people in andover.
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it wasn't like all at once. one thing we can tell is we can see what the testimony appears as. it is one thing if we have the testimony. one thing we discovered was that that is samuel parris. it is abigail williams testimony. i would like to point out one other thing, this is one of the first pieces, this is her testimony. if you look very carefully, there is stuff that is crossed
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like i said, 12 people, 10 years. people were looking but looking at the actual documents, it's like a separate out into 3-d. betty parris has been crossed out. the other pieces were testified. in their liking, we saw to it. it is abigail williams -- we saw abigail williams. on the far left, it changes they are to her. this is where betty parris drops out of everything. she has been dropped out. she is too young to be a formal accuser but also, they were trying to get her out of the limelight. there is anecdotal systems.
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she took her in, she got better. she went on to get married, have kids, this is where she disappears. there are a lot of the sets were sent to paris -- see the little on that? he would put his own thing on and then he would grab a couple other guys so he would have multiple adult men making these accusations. then there is the parallel one that he has written for abigail williams. it is rebecca nurse, elizabeth proctor, john proctor, susannah martin. there are some others where it is just her or just him. we assume there are a lot more these pairs. we had a very nice paternalistic pat on the head.
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they were telling them something about ancestors that we didn't know. basically, it was good. that same conference -- dick black, john did not like it. he told them that they had a big idea. it was like how dare you criticize them? i am sitting there with wrong data. they cherry pick the data.
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that was him to be important. john did not like that, but i got a nice paternalistic pat on the head. when you are looking for patterns of participation, this is a close-up of my timeline on this. you noticed that this was the first attorney to be prosecuting the cases. we know about this, thomas newton left. and his job was to be the treasurer of the new province. . at one point, the state archives wondered where that went. i kept finding document after document trying to get someone to give him the ledges of the
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province. so they would know how to manage the money. they wouldn't give me the books. this is an article in that. he went up to new hampshire and was trying to do things. he was out. they know their handwriting, there's a couple of documents. the one on the right is a petition. it is 1693. they are in a very awkward position of conducting all of these cases and they never paid him. he is trying to figure out how to do it. he is representing the crown, if it was somebody else, they would be trying to sue the crown.
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we have these two wonderful examples of their handwriting. one of the things that came across, they came across and we can find where the handwriting showed up. we know that they came in on july 27. the indictments are the most boring document in all of these. they revealed a whole lot more than we know because you looking at handwriting. this is one of the earlier indictments that we can see, filled in the blanks. one on the right was a lot crinkly or and -- crinklier.
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all of the fill in the blanks are done here. part of the pattern of participation is to see one of the things that the crown attorney does and still in the plains on the boilerplate indictment. there is some that don't have either of them. it turns out that we also know whose handwriting that was, it was stephen. he was the clerk of the court. we discovered that when we look at thomas knew, his handwriting on the appears on the indictments for the first three cases. we get to anthony and he doesn't even start doing things in july. he starts doing things in early august. the clerk of the court has been working on the indictment in the
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middle. he is just a clerk, he is not the crown attorney. he is serving the function. you would think that you would see anthony at all those ones that came out in early august. clearly, stephen was still shouldering a lot of it. he did all of these people and we don't know if he given acted as the crown attorney to present the cases to the petit jury. we really don't know, i don't know what to tell you about this other than it is a pattern that i discovered looking at handwriting and time. i leave it to somebody have to try to figure out if this is significant or not. i think it is because if they didn't have an actual attorney doing this, i don't know, it
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raises questions for me and i hope somebody else can possibly use this as a starting off point to see why this was the case, if they actually allowed them to continue. that is the question i will review it. i am happy to take actions. i'm taking a bit of a romp around things. i hope we have had some ideas and fueled a couple of questions. make sure you get the microphone. >> was given an attorney at all? >> know, basically, even knew and -- even newton and checkly had other ways.
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we didn't have that formally, here. you'll hear people say that we didn't have the attorneys for the structures that they had in 17th-century england. whether you are a decision or an apothecary or a barber surgeon, all of the structures for the professions in england did not come over here. maybe somebody had a little training but it wasn't like they had the same kind of training that somebody in the bar in england was having. they are the ones that were actually lawyers in any sense of the case. we didn't have the adversarial thing. nobody was represented by the lawyer. it was just that it crown's attorney was presented the case. >> i imagine you get used to
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working with these after 10 years. what was the first sandwich trial document that you held and was there a particular one that was personal for you to work with? >> kentucky which of the document caught me breast and i can tie which documents got me into this whole thing. i don't say this when i am talking to middle school kids but the one that caught me was the description of the church for which his teeth -- witches' teeth. i went "holy cow." it looked like she had a collapsed uterus. this caught my attention. i don't generally say that when
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i am talking about that to middle school and high school kids but that is the one that made me go what else is there? the document that got me into this was the one that had two versions of it, the corrected version and the clean one, there is a curious piece of that because that is a document of testimony against george burroughs. i came across this and it said that it is a testimony against george burroughs but the date was a month after he had been a security. -- executed. that is when i contacted bernie. i knew he was starting this project. i asked him if this is one of those errors. he said, no, i did talk about that in my book. i found out he does not like email.
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there was something i wanted to talk to him about. i asked him to talk in person or on the phone. that is what he needed a project manager and invited me to come back on. i thought i was asking one of those questions that was at the heart of the same witchhunt. -- salem witch hunt. this document that i held in my hand was an indictment against rebecca nurse and the account of the presentation. holding a document when you know who actually wrote it down in the context and it is about your ancestors, it is like, wow. i know wrote this document. i felt like i could be in the same or because i could identify for this handwriting, i knew these people were because they were writing things. i don't think you have to be a
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descendent of somebody who is a secure, that has resonance and reverberation for me. i knew who it was, i knew what had been written down and what the end result was from him writing it down. anybody else? >> i am intrigued by the whole steven and all the parises. first, betty and abigail and samuel all disappearing early on. i think there is a lot going on there. i'm intrigued by the fact that there is this relationship, it makes perfect sense. there is no real proof that that is where betty went. >> it is clear that he is tried to get the girls out of the
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trial. >> there are a lot of questions. for me, the documents are the heart and soul, you see that some of them are not actually primary sources, they are secondary sources. for me, anecdotal means that i can come up with a primary source. also, because there was a habit of mentioning this and running back to the crown, then discovers that he is with him? he was with the guys running the trial. in you can necessary believe everything that everybody says, you just know that the record is that they said it and somebody wrote it down.
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again, we have to follow-up. >> can you tell your take on that? >> it was thomas green. it was at -- around the time she was being accused. some of the discussion that they had was that they were try to help her out by giving extra information about this. it is accusing very controversial, this is a minister that they had convicted and exited. some speculation is that he was trying to do something with the court, just try to carry a little bit of paper with them.
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it is a very curious document. it is in bernie's book. >> i will go back here. a lot of the books i have read about the witch trials use as their sources -- hurly's history of salem. you have a sense of what primary documents they were able to look at? >> they were probably looking at the same ones. the records of salem witchcraft came out in 1864. that was probably the definitive published resource at the time. they could probably also walk into the courthouse and see the documents. woodward has a two volume set a couple of decades ago.
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also, you can get this at all the stuff you can get, free pdf public domain things. if you have heard about the girls dancing and the girls dancing in the woods, there is no information to tell that story. >> there is actually nothing, you would think that they came up with this. each generation brings these primary sources, something pertinent to them. when you hear that they were booted practicing, they knew she
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was a slave and from barbados and that there was witchcraft. when you look at that, it is in the civil war era. they had a stereotype of a voodoo practicing black mammy from the islands. her husband mostly used an english white magic recipe for beating them to a dog. that is in this white magic, she got cast in the context of how people saw the world during the civil war era. every single generation brings to this material their own stuff. suddenly, it is like arthur miller, the anti-communist things are going on. there is an interesting story about maryland infidelity. he uses specific details and i wish he hadn't used the people's
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names. it makes it very confusing for a lot of people because he has renamed a few, relate a few and used some real names but it is a constant challenge because people find out about this story and they are interested in salem because of it. if he had just given him other names, i would be very happy. as i see it, it is a story of marital infidelity. it is old but it is about the communist area. -- europe. -- communist era. everybody wanted to be about salem. the fungus was dared not speak its name. it was published first in the mid-70's by a graduate student.
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she had written as an undergraduate, a paper. she thought this was interesting because in the mid-70's, since the electric kool-aid acid test of the 1960's, when she found this out, it was on the minds of people. drugs. they were tripping. it made every single wire service. so we say how long did it take to get them refuted? it had made all the wire services. i want to give a whole talk on that at history camp next year. if you're coming to history camp, for either the fungus that dennis eads name, i will have a lot more details and it is a lot of fun. every era brings to it your own. mine is the election of the confessions.
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that is my favorite part of this, i can piece it apart. unlike just about everybody, i think they were playing to execute all the people that confessed. i make a case on what happens, i drop a lot of the stuff and i see the innocence project, i draw on a lot of the research of how that functions. i applied to what we see in our primary sources. they are heavily trying to get people to confess because it is easier to convict them if you have that confession, it is the gold standard then and now. questions? >> could you comment on -- i heard both of you mention people giving -- i don't know if it was a deposition but i remembered things being visited by the specter of someone or hearing something from someone's spirit.
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could you tell me what that is? >> spectral evidence. the basic premise is that a witch could send their spirit, their image from their physical body to somebody at a distance whether it was across the room or not to do their affecting. you could be standing right there, rebecca is standing there in custody and they would claim to see an image of her, her specter coming across the room and strangling him and poking them and trying to knock them down. nobody else in the room can see this. the girls who are accusing these people are claimed to say. all of the other girls are fighting it. -- are claiming that they are being afflicted by.
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i think it is like teenage girls. if you have a group of middle school girls and one says there's a bug on me, how many others are going to start looking for bugs? suddenly, yes, i am being bitten. it is about the mental state of young girls. so in one go said a specter is a party may -- when one girl said a specter is afflicting me, they saw all the things that led up to the girls claming affliction. invisible things were like ghosts. the other piece about the specters, this is controversial at the time is about whether the devil could use the specters, the image of an innocent person to attack somebody.
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the devil is a trickster, the court believed that the devil had to have the permission of somebody to use their likeness or image as a specter. the devil could not do it with an innocent person's image. that was a major legal point of dispute. a lot will bring up the image of an door. if there was a specter of thinners appointing her, the courts ought as rebecca nurse using this as evidence. the court seems to operate in a loose fashion if they were allowing people sitting there to suddenly burst out with things.
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you can imagine that today, they did take that person out there and disrupted the proceedings. could you comment about that? >> when you see portrayals, we imprint from what we know of perry mason and law and order and any other thing that we have seen of some kind of legal thing going on. it looks like hamilton interrogating the perpetrator. that was not the case. these are pretrial hearings. i'm more like the two call them interrogations been -- that examinations. it is like lenny going after someone. >> even today, police when they are interrogating operate from a presumption of guilt. they are all leading questions.
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they have already concluded that you are guilty and it will do anything they can to elicit a statement against the self interests. all of these seem to be core things but these were interrogations. there were 20 find out the investigative part of it. it was not that uncommon. the girls did come to the grand jury's and were at the trial because there was a armistice is -- there were some instances where this happened. apparently the girl really foot out. it was really noisy. it sent the jury back out. she said that it was not guilty. what about when she said this? the jury said what did you mean?
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it was so noisy that she could not hear. the girls were just flipping out. when she didn't answer, the jury said ok, failure to respond to and i qs asian was tantamount to agreeing to it. if you think that was old-fashioned, it is still the case, it was the supreme court only a few years ago. if you are asked the question and refuse to answer, that can be used as evidence against you. then and now, there are somebody parallels between then and now. the reason it could get so chaotic is because by the town they got to the actual court hearings, they were used to having those there. they were part of a crowd. >> you laid out the speech, three phases of the trial. it is a complete cast of characters there.
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>> in the investigative phase, and that is where you get the local magistrate and they were the ones to be called in to see -- they travel to salem village to hear these complaints. they didn't make anyone going to salem. it was much easier for them to go there but they stayed and the longer they stayed, the more people said and by the way, i think this. they were tried to figure out how to handle this. every single person that was brought before them with one exception, they threw in jail. the only exception was this young guy. the girls started giving physical discussions of people. -- descriptions of people. they said he had a bump on his forehead.
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when they brought him in, while out, no wind. i am thinking, teenage guy? , that part of acne went somewhere else, he doesn't have it there and they let him go. he didn't match the description that the girls had. after that, the girls didn't do physical descriptions. they asked how they knew it was him? the specter who is a footing you identifies themselves, that is how you know. by the way, my name is -- you almost think of a stupid criminal that leaves a check deposit slip when they rob a bank and it is like who does that?
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these which is really worked against their own self interests. i think that is why they thought they could get them to confess. it is easy to get these people to do that. if you want to ask another question? >> i wanted to ask if there was anything to learn from the paper. i was wondering if you could debunk some things that i heard? >> there was lots of paper and we will follow up that question. we looked at the paper but we said that was our scope. there were lots of watermarks and things so we could get -- we could have gone farther with material culture. the ink, they probably made themselves. there was one document where the pen was so sharp that they poked holes in it.
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beyond that, nothing. you had a follow-up question. >> i heard something, i don't know from where. people had a theory that perez received a copy of this book on trying witches and use what was in it to coach the confession. >> this is a couple years ago, catherine and i were both in this thing. i remember watching that and thinking -- when it came out, this is awesome, when it came out, it was between these two. in the end, they had catherine traveling to this historical society, there was this copy on how to prosecute witches.
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it was given to paris. the date was the date of her interrogation. i can't imagine him being able to read that whole book on that date, the same day that she is being interrogated. i tend to think that if this was the case, it was probably a follow-up. i don't think he had time unless he state of late with his kindle reading it. not that he was going to be able to read that whole book. to divide had nothing to gain if people told her to confess, she was going to confess. slaves, small children, servants, they are easy to gores. course -- course. she was told that she does
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something, she came through big time. >> i don't know if we are out of time. >> one last question, anybody? think you so much for coming. i appreciate it. [applause] join us on c-span through sunday for an american history tv live special to 1967 detroit riots 50th anniversary. at new dniester historian heather thompson of the university of michigan and it --roit free press editorial i see a ike mckenna and former detroit journalist tim kiska.
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american history tv special, the anniversary.50th last sunday at noon eastern on c-span3. on july 23 1967 detroit erupted in five days of civil disorder that led to 43 deaths, hundreds of injury. president johnson announced 5000 federal's were sent to detroit in an attempt to restore order. this is about 10 minutes. >> in the early morning today governor romney communicated him ramsey clark and told of the extreme disorder in detroit, michigan. the attorney general kept me advised her of the morning. at 10:50 six this morning i received a wire from governor romney officially requesting that federal troops be sp


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