by Jordan Conlon
I had a lot of big goals that I wanted to fulfill for this podcast. Firstly, I wanted to learn more about the history of my hometown that I love so dearly. Since my part of Connecticut is steeped in such interesting history, it was so fascinating to learn about the trials that happened where I grew up. I also wanted to use this as an opportunity to share the underrepresented voices of a turbulent time for women. The opportunity to represent women who were voiceless and give them the credit and voice that they deserve was a really amazing experience. My research taught me a lot. Obviously, I was able to gain a more comprehensive understanding of the witch trials in my area, learning about how the trials were connected, and the ways that misogyny and psychology played a role in the trials. While I certainly learned a lot, I was also left with a lot of questions that I hope to explore further. For example, I wonder why certain stories are canonized, or why particular histories aren’t told. This is a question that has been on my mind since taking history classes back in high school. Usually the reasons why certain understandings are popularized and others aren’t have to do with the dominant Eurocentric gaze controlling knowledge validation, but in this case, I wonder why the Salem Witch Trials are the stories that make it to mainstream media while the witches of Connecticut have been damned to a life of irrelevancy. These questions along with a strong interest in developing my podcast further have encouraged me to potentially create a series out of this podcast and adopt it as a passion project of sorts. There is so much more to be said about witches and femininity. While the first episode was focused on the witches of CT, perhaps I could have other episodes that look at other interesting trials. There could be other episodes that touch on colloquial references of witches and how they are used in art as a motif; there could be an episode on modern day paganism and how it has developed. Long story short, I think that there is a lot to say about the matter, and I look forward to thinking more about it. Finally, I must acknowledge the people who have made this podcast what it is. First and foremost, Cat Hannula, one of the research librarians at the Neilson library helped kick off the process and aided me in clarifying and streamlining the research I was doing. She offered excellent advice about researching and pointed me towards bountiful resources that contributed to the podcast. Among those resources was the staff at the Special Collections in the Neilson Library here at Smith College, who offered me excellent resources. While none of them made it into the podcast because they didn’t focus on Connecticut, my time there was very well spent.
“Accused: Fairfield’s Witchcraft Trials.” Fairfield Museum and History Guide, 2015, https://www.fairfieldhistory.org/wp-content/uploads/ACCUSEDEducatorGuide2.pdf.
“Alse Young Executed for Witchcraft – Today in History: May 26 – Connecticut History: A Cthumanities Project.” Connecticut History | a CTHumanities Project – Stories about the People, Traditions, Innovations, and Events That Make up Connecticut’s Rich History., 26 May 2021, https://connecticuthistory.org/alse-young-executed-for-witchcraft-today-in-history-may-26/.
Boyce, Elizabeth. “The Peculiar Trials of Mary Staples.” Easton Courier, 17 Oct. 2020, https://eastoncourier.news/2020/10/17/the-peculiar-trials-of-mary-staples/.
Burton, Neel. “The Psychology of Scapegoating.” Psychology Today, Sussex Publishers, 2013, https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/hide-and-seek/201312/the-psychology-scapegoating.
Bybee-Schier, Anna. “Fairfield Woman Hanged for Witchcraft to Be Honored with Memorial.” Fairfield, CT Patch, Patch, 16 Aug. 2019, https://patch.com/connecticut/fairfield/memorial-honor-fairfield-woman-hanged-witchcraft.
Cavanaugh, Ray. “Where Was the First Woman Condemned for Witchcraft? Not in Salem.” The New York Times, The New York Times, 26 Oct. 2017, https://www.nytimes.com/2017/10/26/nyregion/connecticut-witchcraft-trials.html.
Eadie, Mervyn J. “Convulsive Ergotism: Epidemics of the Serotonin Syndrome?” The Lancet. Neurology, U.S. National Library of Medicine, https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/12849122/#:~:text=The%20clinical%20features%20of%20convulsive,ergot%20alkaloids%20are%20
“Five Lessons That Demonstrate The Eternal Relevance of Audre Lorde.” Villainesse, 14 July 2019, https://www.villainesse.com/girl-power/five-lessons-demonstrate-eternal-relevance-audre-lorde.
“Goodwife ‘Goody’ Knapp – My 10th Great Grandmother: Victim of the Witchcraft Delusion.” Alison’s Family History, 10 Jan. 2018, https://alisonfamhist.wordpress.com/2017/12/16/goodwife-goody-knapp-my-10th-great-grandmother-and-victim-of-the-witchcraft-delusion/.
“How Rye Bread May Have Caused the Salem Witch Trials.” Encyclopædia Britannica, Encyclopædia Britannica, Inc., https://www.britannica.com/story/how-rye-bread-may-have-caused-the-salem-witch-trials.
“Internalized Misogyny: What Does It Look like? How Do You Stop It?” UMKC Womens Center, 16 Nov. 2018, https://info.umkc.edu/womenc/2018/11/16/internalized-misogyny-what-does-it-look-like-how-do-you-stop-it/.
Lehman, Eric D. “A Witch Hanged in Bridgeport.” Bridgeport History Center, https://bportlibrary.org/hc/historical-accounts/a-witch-hanged-in-bridgeport/.
Marshall, Bridget. “Most Witches Are Women, Because Witch Hunts Were All about Persecuting the Powerless.” The Conversation, 2 Dec. 2021, https://theconversation.com/most-witches-are-women-because-witch-hunts-were-all-about-persecuting-the-powerless-125427.
Pruitt, Sarah. “Salem Witch Trials: Who Were the Main Accusers?” History.com, A&E Television Networks, 27 Sept. 2021, https://www.history.com/news/salem-witch-trials-accusers.
Snider, Amber C. “Why We’re Still so Obsessed with the Salem Witch Trials.” Teen Vogue, 19 Oct. 2021, https://www.teenvogue.com/story/what-were-the-salem-witch-trials.
“12 Suprising Beliefs from the Malleus Maleficarum, the Witchfinder’s Guidebook.” HistoryCollection.com, 12 Apr. 2022, https://historycollection.com/12-shocking-beliefs-from-the-malleus-maleficarum-the-witchfinders-guidebook/5/.
Jordan Conlon is a sophomore at Smith College studying women and gender studies, philosophy, and Africana studies. She was born and raised in Weston, CT, and, outside of academics, loves to read, hike, and write!”
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