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The Salem Witch Trials Podcast takes a fast-paced and episodic examination of the witch hysteria in Salem, Massachusetts in 1692. Each brief yet insightful episode harnesses the knowledge of an expert to help illuminate both the chronology of events as well the deeper context surrounding the hysteria, giving listeners an understanding of this fascinating and tragic event in early American history.
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The Witch Trials of J.K. Rowling is an audio documentary that examines some of the most contentious conflicts of our time through the life and career of the world’s most successful author. In conversation with host Megan Phelps-Roper, J.K. Rowling speaks with unprecedented candor and depth about the controversies surrounding her—from book bans to debates on gender and sex. The series also examines the forces propelling this moment in history, through interviews with Rowling’s supporters and ...
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Cotton Mather was a third generation minister born into Puritan royalty, a nepo baby long before anyone had ever used the term. But his involvement in the Salem witch trials — and defense of the trials afterward — led to his eventual vilification. We’re joined by Professor Rick Kennedy who helps us sort through Mather’s complex role in Puritan New …
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We often think of the population of seventeenth-century New England as homogenous—made up entirely of Anglo-Puritans and the natives who had been living in America for centuries. Yet there were others in New England as well, including a very small, yet significant minority of enslaved Black residents. In this episode, we tell the story of two of th…
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We explore the enigmatic figure of Reverend Samuel Parris, the man who sat at the spiritual head of Salem Village during the witch crisis. We trace Reverend Parris' journey to Salem, which is set against a backdrop of privilege, adventure, and numerous setbacks. Join the conversation on Facebook, Twitter. and TikTok Learn about Greg Houle's forthco…
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New governor, William Phips, under the guidance of a new charter for Massachusetts, faces a crisis as the accusations of witchcraft spread and the suspects pile up jails. With no judicial system to handle the chaos, he establishes a new court, led by William Stoughton, and we set the stage for the epic tragedy to come. Join the conversation on Face…
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William and Deliverance Hobbs, and their teenage daughter Abigail, were among the most interesting families involved in the Salem witch crisis. Having lived on the rugged and dangerous Maine frontier for a decade prior to arriving in Salem, the Hobbs family took center stage on April 19, 1692, when Abigail made some explosive claims before the magi…
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Giles Corey's torturous death was a particularly dark chapter in a vary dark tale. With the help of our guest, Rachel Christ-Doane, director of education at the Salem Witch Museum, we dive into Corey's horrific story, and explore the escalation of fear during the crisis. Learn more about the Salem Witch Museum __ Join us on Facebook, Twitter. and T…
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While she wasn’t the first to be accused, on June 10, Bridget Bishop became the first person to be executed for witchcraft during the crisis. But her conviction by the new Court of Oyer and Terminer planted some initial seeds of doubt. Join us on Facebook, Twitter. and TikTok Learn about Greg Houle's forthcoming novel, The Putnams of Salem: A Novel…
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On March 23, 1692, a warrant was issued by the magistrates to take into custody yet another accused individual. By now, the magistrates and marshals were getting used to this exercise. The witch hysteria had been building for several weeks, and the accusations were flying. But this time, however, the accused was not one of the usual suspects. Watch…
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George Burroughs was the former minister of the church at Salem Village. But in late April, 1692, a complaint was filed against him on behalf of several people who claimed he was a witch who had inflicted them. Days later, he was arrested in Maine and brought back to Salem in chains to face these charges. In a story filled with strange and unusual …
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Mary Warren, the 20-year-old indentured servant of John and Elizabeth Proctor, was both accused and an accuser; afflicted and an inflictor during the Salem Witch Trials. How could this be? We examine Mary’s twisting tale as a means for helping to understand the complexities and nuance of the witch hysteria in general. Tell us what you think at greg…
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What do you think of when you hear the term ‘witch hunt?’ While the phrase has decidedly become loaded over the years, it often conjures up visions of angry mobs with torches and pitchforks. The Salem Witch Trials were most certainly a witch hunt, and decidedly unjust, but it’s important to remember that they were also actual trials with judgements…
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As English settlers began moving into the northern frontier of New England in the mid-17th century, clashes with the native population there often had brutal results. Years later, a surprising number of those who lived though this tumultuous period in the region known as the ‘Eastward Frontier’ played central roles in the Salem witch hysteria. We’r…
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When two young girls in the household of Salem Reverend Samuel Parris begin to experience strange behaviors, three women find themselves accused of witchcraft. Historian Kathleen Brown, the David Boies Professor of History at the University of Pennsylvania, helps us understand the beginnings of the witch hunt during the first few months of 1692. Le…
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In our first episode, Greg is joined by Daniel Gagnon, a historian and author of A Salem Witch: The Trial, Execution, and Exoneration of Rebecca Nurse (Westholme), who explains the context that led to the witch hysteria in Salem in 1692. He discusses the Puritans who settled Salem, their beliefs, as well as their relationship with the native popula…
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Most of us have heard about the Salem Witch Trials, but what do we know about what really happened in and around Salem, Massachusetts in 1692? The Salem Witch Trials Podcast, hosted by Greg Houle, goes beyond the myth and gets to the heart of the action. Beginning in October 2023, we will release episodes that include interviews with experts who wi…
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Host Megan Phelps-Roper asks J.K. Rowling to respond to pushback from some of her critics. The two also discuss the difficulty of discernment—why it can be so hard to know what’s right. Produced by Andy Mills, Matthew Boll, Megan Phelps-Roper, with special thanks to Candace Mittel Kahn and Emily Yoffe. This show is proudly sponsored by the Foundati…
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Transgender fans of Harry Potter share their criticism of J.K. Rowling—and the experiences that inform their views. Produced by Andy Mills, Matthew Boll, Megan Phelps-Roper, and Candace Mittel Kahn, with special thanks to Emily Yoffe. This show is proudly sponsored by the Foundation for Individual Rights and Expression. FIRE believes free speech ma…
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After years of observing the conflict between advocates for trans rights and women’s rights, J.K. Rowling weighs in. Produced by Andy Mills, Matthew Boll, and Megan Phelps-Roper, with special thanks to Candace Mittel Kahn and Emily Yoffe. This show is proudly sponsored by the Foundation for Individual Rights and Expression. FIRE believes free speec…
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The movement for trans rights hits its stride in the early 2010s, but encounters fierce resistance from an unexpected source. J.K. Rowling watches the battle unfold with mounting unease. Produced by Andy Mills, Matthew Boll, and Megan Phelps-Roper, with special thanks to Candace Mittel Kahn and Emily Yoffe. This show is proudly sponsored by the Fou…
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The early days of the internet collide with the feverish fandom of “Harry Potter,” and a sprawling, global community emerges. But the hopefulness of this new technology brings with it the darker impulses of human nature. Produced by Andy Mills, Matthew Boll, and Megan Phelps-Roper, with special thanks to Candace Mittel Kahn and Emily Yoffe. This sh…
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As "Harry Potter" becomes an international phenomenon, it coincides with the culture wars of the 1990s. In the backlash from Christians across America, author J.K. Rowling is accused of mainstreaming witchcraft and poisoning children’s minds. Produced by Andy Mills, Matthew Boll, and Megan Phelps-Roper, with special thanks to Candace Mittel Kahn an…
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Host Megan Phelps-Roper writes a letter to J.K. Rowling—and receives a surprising invitation in reply: the opportunity for an intimate conversation in Rowling’s Scottish home. Produced by Andy Mills, Matthew Boll, and Megan Phelps-Roper, with special thanks to Candace Mittel Kahn and Emily Yoffe. This show is proudly sponsored by the Foundation for…
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