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The event is live and will feature a Q & A session at the end of the show. A presentation of pictures, images and graphics related to the discussion will also be shown by screen share and virtual background.
Tickets are $12 and are available at the link. Once you purchase, you will receive instructions and information on how to log in the evening of the tour. You only need to purchase one ticket per device (computer, iPad, phone, TV, etc...) Several people can watch with you.
A Salem Witch
with Dan Gagnon
Author, Teacher and Tour Guide
Streaming Available Soon
The 1692 Salem Witchcraft Trials resulted in almost two hundred people in jail, and at least twenty-five dead. One of the most significant accusations, and most unlikely, was against a seventy-one-year-old grandmother, Rebecca Nurse.
The accusations against Nurse, a well-respected member in the community, seemed unbelievable. Unflinchingly, this ailing elderly woman insisted on her innocence and refused to falsely confess. Supported by many in Salem, Nurse's family and neighbors challenged her accusers in court and prepared a thorough defense for her, yet nothing could surmount the fear of witchcraft, and she was sentenced to death. Nurse, seen as a martyr for the truth, later became the first person accused of witchcraft to be memorialized in North America.
Dan Gagnon, author of A Salem Witch: The Trial, Execution, and Exoneration of Rebecca Nurse, will discuss Rebecca’s life, trial and execution on Monday, Mar. 7 at 8 p.m. He’ll discuss how the Nurse family's role in several disputes prior to the witch hunt was different than previously thought, as well as how Nurse's case helps answer the important question of whether the accusations of witchcraft were caused by mental illness or malicious intent.
H.P. Lovecraft & The Salem Connection
with S.T. Joshi
Author and Scholar
Streaming available soon
H.P. Lovecraft is a writer from the early 20th century known for his fantastic stories in the genres of horror fiction, fantasy and science fiction. He specialized in the weird that captured the imagination of many of his fans, especially with the creature Cthulhu Mythos.
He loved Providence where he was born, but his second favorite city may have been Salem, where he visited several times to seek inspiration for many of books.
Join us for HP Lovecraft and the Salem Connection with S.T. Joshi, the leading authority on Lovecraft, his writings and his life. Joshi’s award-winning biography, H. P. Lovecraft: A Life (1996), has already become a collector's item. An expanded and updated version, I Am Providence: The Life and Times of H. P. Lovecraft, was published in two volumes in 2010.
Joshi will give a presentation on Lovecraft that details his visits to Salem and how he used them in his various stories. The presentation will be followed by a Q & A session.
Joshi first read Lovecraft when he was 13 years old and was hooked. He graduated from Brown University in 1980 with a degree in the classics, published a bibliography of Lovecraft in 1981 that included many unknown Lovecraft stories that he unearthed, and graduated from Brown in 1982 with a Masters Degree. He was accepted to a Ph.D program at Princeton, but chose to join a publisher. He became a noted literary critic, started two magazines and wrote several books on Lovecraft and other authors from the same realm.
Puritan New England and their impact
with Dr. John Ebel
Author and Historian
Streaming available soon
Earthquakes are not that common in New England. And when they happen, they are usually small in the 1.2 to 1.5 magnitude range and do not cause much damage. But when an estimated magnitude 7.3 earthquake took place in Quebec in 1663, causing damage from Canada to Boston, the Puritans were rattled to say the least.
Houses shook, chimneys collapsed, pewter and other kitchen items were flung from the walls. Frightened Puritans ran into the street fearing the wrath of God. They felt God was telling them something. But what? Opinions varied and the ministers incorporated the earthquake into their sermons.
There was another in 1638 known as the Pilgrim Earthquake and another in 1658. More struck the region in the 1700s and they continue to this day, including an “earthquake swarm” that struck the Greater Salem area in the summer of 2021.
Join us for a discussion of the earthquakes in Puritan New England with Dr. John E. Ebel of the Boston College Dept. of Earth & Environmental Sciences. We’ll discuss his book “New England Earthquakes: The Surprising History of Seismic Activity in the Northeast” and the impact that earthquakes had on the local Puritans.
Dr. Ebel’s research interests are in the areas of earthquake hazard, source mechanisms and forecasting as well as wave propagation studies and determination of lithospheric structure. He supervises the operations of the New England Seismic Network of Weston Observatory of Boston College. His research focuses on studying the causes and effects of earthquakes in New England and vicinity. He has published papers on earthquake activity in the US, Canada, Mexico and southwest Pacific, resulting in two books, 80+ scientific papers, 150+ professional talks, and numerous technical reports submitted to government agencies or private firms.
The Connecticut Witchcraft Trials: the first in the colonies with Dr. Walt Woodward
Author and Historian
Streaming available soon
Visitors come from around the country and the world to Salem to learn about the 1692 Witchcraft Trials and see the sites where it happened.
Many do not realize that there were other towns that had witchcraft trials before 1692. Salem may have been the worst, but it was not the first.
In 1647, Alse Young was executed for witchcraft in Hartford. She was the first of 14 people executed for witchcraft over a 15-year period. And Connecticut almost did it again in August of 1692 when two women were convicted of witchcraft but acquitted.
Join us for a discussion of the Connecticut Witch Trials with Prof. Walter Woodward, who is the Connecticut State Historian.
He is a scholar of Early American and Atlantic World history, with an emphasis on Connecticut and New England. His research interests cover a variety of subjects, including witchcraft, alchemy and the history of science, the use of music in Early America, and environmental history.
He is the author of five books, the most recent of which is Creating Connecticut: Critical Moments That Shaped a Great State (Globe Pequot Press, 2020). His book Prospero’s America: John Winthrop, Jr.,Alchemy and the Creation of New England Culture, 1606-1676 (Omohundro Institute, University of North Carolina Press,2010) won the Homer Babbidge Prize from the Association for the Study of Connecticut History, and was a Choice magazine Outstanding academic title.
Prof. Woodward received his Ph. D. with Distinction from the University of Connecticut in 2001, and has served as State Historian since 2004. He obtained his Master’s Degree in History from Cleveland State University, and his B.A. in English from the University of Florida.
with Tom D'Agostino & Arlene Nicholson
Streaming available soon
New England is rich in history and mystery. Numerous sleepy little towns and farming communities distinguish the region's scenic tranquility. But not long ago, New Englanders lived in fear of spectral ghouls believed to rise from their graves and visit family members in the night to suck their lives away.
Join us online for a discussion of A History of Vampires in New England on Friday, Feb. 4 at 8 p.m. with Tom D’Agostino and Arlene Nicholson. Although the word "vampire" was never spoken, scores of families disinterred loved ones during the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries searching for telltale signs that one of them might be what is now referred to as the New England vampire. Tom and Arlene will discuss these grisly tales and more.
The pair have been extensively studying and investigating paranormal accounts for over 39 years with well over 1400 investigations to their credit. Creators of 16 books and counting, together they have penned and captured on film the best haunts and history New England has to offer.
Their books include Haunted Rhode Island, Haunted New Hampshire, Haunted Massachusetts, Pirate Ghosts and Phantom Ships, Abandoned Villages and Ghost Towns of New England, A Travel Guide to Haunted New England, A History of Vampires in New England, and the soon to be released, Haunted Vermont, Ghost Stories and Legends of Connecticut, Legends, Folklore and Secrets of New England, Rhode Island’s Haunted Ramtail Factory, Ghosts Of The Blackstone Valley, Ghosts Of Litchfield County, two books adapted for middle grade reading called The Ghostly Tales Of Connecticut and The Ghostly Tales Of New England and Strange New England.
Author Talk: Salem Murder Mysteries
with Rory O'Brien
Salem Tour Guide
Streaming available soon
Local author and tour guide Rory O’Brien joins us online for a discussion about his books, Salem and all things creepy on Friday, Feb. 11 at 8 p.m.
His latest book, Señor Lugosi & Other Stories, is a collection of thirteen odd tales, some creepy, some thoughtful, and some pretty weird, with excursions into the past, the present, and the very near future. It follows characters searching for something and not always being happy with what they find. Here you will meet ghosts and mutants, assassins and actors, and ordinary people who just saw some very strange things.
He has written books that tie to Salem including Gallows Hill that is about a murder in modern day Salem at the 1692 hanging site and The Afflicted Girl which is about a search for a missing girl that may be tied to a murder of a popular figure in Salem.
O’Brien also wrote Summerland that is about a retired stage magician who tries to expose a spirit-medium who now summons the departed to the marble mansions and wealthy parlors of Newport, R.I. in the late 19th century.
He is also a mentalist and mindbender who has performed “Brainstorming,” all over New England. It is an interactive stage mind-reading show in which minds are read, spoons are bent and volunteers test their own "powers,” all over New England. He was also part of a TV show called Ghostperts, that investigated haunted locations.
Rory O'Brien grew up in New England, surrounded by books, history, and the long shadows of Poe, Hawthorne, and Lovecraft. When not writing, he gives tours of Salem and talks on various topics, including the witch trials. He currently lives in Salem, with his patient, long-suffering wife, their Treeing Walker Coonhound, and a pair of black cats. He left his heart in Providence ... where it was burned on a rock.
Legends & Lore
of the North Shore
with Peter Muise
Author and Historian
Streaming available soon
Everyone has heard about the 1692 Salem Witchcraft Trials that encompassed the North Shore of Massachusetts.
But did you know that there are also stories of sea serpents, pirates and other mysteries that have amazed and terrified the residents of this area for the last 300 years?
The North Shore is filled with remarkable stories and legendary characters that have captured the imagination of so many people.
Author Peter Muise has sorted through the folklore and will discuss the North Shore's uncanny legends and tales of the paranormal on Friday, January 28 at 8 p.m. He will shed light on many of these stories and mysteries. Peter Muise is an author who has written various other pieces about New England's folklore and strange history. He has blogged for more than ten years at New England Folklore
Salem and the Paranormal with Investigator
Author, Paranormal Investigator and
& Tour Guide
Friday, February 18, 2022 at 8 p.m.
Salem is well known for the witchcraft trials, but it also is full of paranormal activity in many buildings and locations around the city.
Is it because of what happened in 1692? Or is it the nearly 400-year history of the city? Or is it something else? What drives the paranormal activity in Salem?
Paranormal investigator Sam Baltrusis joins us for a discussion of Salem and The Paranormal on Friday, February 18 at 8 p.m. We’ll discuss some of the paranormal stories and sightings in Salem and why these incidents occur.
Baltrusis is the author of Wicked Salem: Exploring Lingering Lore and Legends and has penned more than a dozen paranormal-themed books including Mass Murders: Bloodstained Crime Scenes Haunting the Bay State. He has been featured on several national TV shows including the Travel Channel’s A Haunting, Most Terrifying Places, Haunted Towns, and Haunted USA. In 2020, he will make a cameo on several television programs including Paranormal Night Shift, Hotel Paranormal, and Forbidden History.
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Season 2 starts Jan. 7. Episodes to be announced soon.
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An Evening with Marilynne Roach
Author and Scholar
Wednesday, January 13, at 7 p.m.
Join us for a lively discussion about the 1692 Salem Witchcraft Trials with Marilynne Roach, independent scholar and author. We'll discuss her books and latest projects.
Marilynne has researched the witchcraft trials for over 30 years and is one of the foremost authorities on the topic. She was one of the associate editors of the definitive Record of the Salem Witch Hunt and author of the The Salem Witch Trials Day-by-Day Chronicle of a Community Under Siege and Six Women of Salem.
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Andover Witch Hunt with
Author & Historian
Wednesday, January 20, at 7 p.m.
Join us as we bring you the author of In the Shadow of Salem. Andover, a town just 20 miles northwest of Salem, had more accusations of witchcraft than any other town caught up in the hysteria during the 1692 Salem Witchcraft Trials.
A total of 45 people were accused including Martha Carrier, (described as the Queen of Hell), who was executed, and Ann Foster, who died in jail. Many more were jailed and admitted to being witches. One person claimed there were over 300 witches.
This presentation will also bring you to locations where Rev. Dane and Parson Barnard lived as well as the cemetery where many involved were buried.
The Salem Witchcraft Trials and Ergot, the "Moldy Bread" Hypothesis.
Margo Burns, Historian
Wednesday, January 27, at 7 p.m.
On April 2, 1976, Science Magazine published an article by Linnda R. Caporeal which posited that during the Salem witchcraft trials of 1692, the visions of specters and painful physical sensations described by the girls who claimed to be afflicted by witches could have been caused, instead, from eating bread made with flour tainted by ergot, a naturally occurring fungal hallucinogen that grows on rye grain under certain growing conditions.
It was debunked immediately and soundly by experts because the historical and medical data used to support the hypothesis was cherry-picked. More than four decades later, however, this interpretation is still pervasive.
Margo Burns, a historian specializing in the Salem witch trials and an Associate Editor and Project Manager of the book Records of the Salem Witch-Hunt, will explain how this lurid chapter in American history was born and how it became cemented in the public imagination. It’s a case study in how people come to believe myths about historical events.
"Creating Horror in Different Mediums"
How a story morphs from one format to another
Author & Filmmaker
Wednesday, February 3rd, at 7 p.m.
Horror stories scare us to the point we can’t sleep. Whether they are short stories, novels, movies or other mediums, they cause us to look over our shoulder when we are alone and take a deep breath when we are about to descend to a basement.
Billy Hanson, who adapted and directed an acclaimed adaption of Stephen King’s Survivor Type that was lauded as “one of the most jaw dropping adaptions of (King’s) ever made…” by John Skipp of Fangoria Magazine, will discuss horror stories and how they adapt from one medium to another.
He will also discuss his book “Spider Season”, that debuted in 2018 and was a gold medal winner in Fiction Anthology, Reader's Favorite Book Award winner in 2019 and one of Book Authority's "Best New Horror Books to read in 2019”, as well as his latest release, “Dolly”. Both publications are haunting and mesmerizing, sure to leave you wide-eyed and gasping for breath.
He is a filmmaker, author and comic book writer with projects ranging from music videos and graphic novels to web series and films. His latest release is Dolly, a horror story published on Halloween 2020. He also has written for the horror anthology comic, “Grimm Tales or Terror“, and his first feature film, “Bone Cold”, is currently in post production, aiming for a 2021 release.
Born and raised in Maine, he now lives in Los Angeles with his wife and two sons.
Black History leaders of Salem, their contributions and influence
Giovanni Alabiso, Historian
Wednesday, Feb 10th, at 7 p.m.
Salem is well known for the 1692 Witchcraft Trials. And many people may be aware of the great maritime period as well as the importance of the city in the American Revolution.
But did you know that Salem has a very rich Black history?
There have been several key individuals who made great strides in the community and major contributions to Salem and the state by influencing policy, establishing businesses and leading the abolitionist movement
We will discuss the Remond Family, Charlotte Forten, Frederick Douglass, Charles Augustus Benson and more.
Our special guest will be Doreen Wade from Salem United who will discuss her organization and her plans to establish a Black History museum in Salem.
"The Devil of Great Island"
Witchcraft and Conflict in Early New England with Prof. Emerson Baker
Author and Historian
Wednesday, February 17th, at 7 p.m.
In 1682, Town residents blamed what they called "Lithobolia" or "the stone-throwing devil." In this lively account, Emerson Baker shows how witchcraft hysteria overtook one town and spawned copycat incidents in Maine and Connecticut, prefiguring the horrors of Salem. In the process, he illuminates a cross-section of colonial society and overturns many popular assumptions about witchcraft in the seventeenth century.
Emerson "Tad" Baker is vice provost and a professor of History at Salem State University. He is the award-winning author of many works on the history and archaeology of early New England, including The Devil of Great Island and A Storm of Witchcraft: The Salem Trials and the American Experience. He has been an advisor and on-camera expert for many networks, including PBS, TLC, Smithsonian and National Geographic. He consulted on the Peabody Essex Museum’s current exhibit on the Salem witch trials and was a member of the Gallows Hill Project team who confirmed the witch trials execution site.
Leslie’s Retreat and Salem’s Involvement in the American Revolution
Giovanni Alabiso, Historian Jeffrey Lilley, Historian
Nick Pierce, Historian
Wednesday, February 24th, at 7 p.m.
Salem is known for the 1692 witchcraft trials but it is also plays an important role in the American Revolution and was visited by several revolutionaries, including President George Washington.
Two months before the battle of Lexington, Concord and the shot heard round the world, Salem had a tense standoff at the North Bridge with Colonel Leslie and 140 Redcoats who came to take our cannons and munitions. But they were turned back by a core group of local militia without a shot and the argument can be made that Salem is the true birthplace of the American Revolution.
The incident is also called The Salem Gunpowder Raid of 1775 and occurred on Feb. 26. The 245th anniversary is just two days away.
Our historians will discuss this incredible event and will show you other significant revolutionary sites in Salem via live broadcast and screen share, like the London Coffee House, Town House Square building, The Assembly House, where Washington slept plus Jonathan Haraden and the role of Salem’s Privateers.
Salem in Context: The Age of the Witch Hunts
With Professor Michelle Brock
Associate Professor of History
Wednesday, March 3rd, at 7 p.m.
The Salem witch trials loom large in American history and in our national imagination. But the events of 1692-3 were not uniquely American phenomena; instead, they were part of a much longer history of witch hunting in Europe that spanned nearly 300 years, involving approximately 100,000 formal accusations and 50,000 executions in places ranging from Scotland to Russia. Michelle D. Brock takes us through an overview of this fascinating and complex “Age of the Witch Hunts,” and asks what insights we gain when we consider the events in Salem as a critical yet distinctive part of this fundamentally European story.
Michelle D. Brock is associate professor of History at Washington and Lee University in Virginia. She is the author of Satan and the Scots: The Devil in Post-Reformation Scotland (2016) and co-editor of Knowing Demons, Knowing Spirits in the Early Modern Period (2018) and the forthcoming Routledge History of the Devil in the Western Tradition. She is also co-director of Mapping the Scottish Reformation, a digital resource for exploring the lives of the Scottish Clergy. You can learn more about Professor Brock and her work—including op-eds and podcasts for a popular audience—here: https://www.mdbrock.com/
Our Obsession with the Unexplained: Ghosts, Monsters & Aliens, oh my!
Author, Cultural Historian &
Tour Guide of the Weird
Wednesday, March 10th at 7 p.m.
In a world where rational, scientific explanations are more available than ever, belief in the unprovable and irrational–in fringe–is on the rise: from Atlantis to aliens, from Flat Earth to the Loch Ness monster, the list goes on. It seems the more our maps of the known world get filled in, the more we crave mysterious locations full of strange creatures.
Enter Colin Dickey, Cultural Historian and Tour Guide of the Weird. With curiosity and insight, Colin discusses what all fringe beliefs have in common, explaining that today’s Illuminati is yesterday’s Flat Earth: the attempt to find meaning in a world stripped of wonder. He'll discuss his visits to the wacky sites of America’s wildest fringe beliefs investigating how these theories come about, why they take hold, and why as Americans we keep inventing and re-inventing them decade after decade.
Colin Dickey is a writer, speaker and academic and has made a career out of collecting unusual objects and hidden histories all over the country. He is a regular contributor to the Los Angeles Review of Books and The New Republic and is the co-editor of The Morbid Anatomy Anthology. He is also a member of the Order of Good Death, a collective of artists, writers and death industry professionals interested in improving the Western world's relationship with mortality. With a PhD in comparative literature from USC, he is a professor of creative writing at National University. He is the author of Ghostland, one of NPR's Great Reads of 2016, and The Unidentified.
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Where the Salem Witch-Hunt Began: Exploring the Sites of Salem Village with Dan Gagnon
Teacher & Historian
Wednesday, March 17th at 7 p.m.
Salem Village - present-day Danvers, MA - was where the 1692 Witch-Hunt first began, and where many of the leading figures of the Witch-Hunt lived. It is where the Devil was allegedly raised, where people claimed to see specters of accused witches hurting them, and where Villagers turned against their neighbors because of the fear that some amongst them were in league with the Devil.
Although Danvers has many significant historical sites related to the witch-hunt and far more still-extant buildings connected to the witch-hunt than Salem Town (present day City of Salem), its witch-hunt history is less promoted and its historic sites less visited. This presentation will discuss these nationally significant historic sites including where the 1692 Witch-Hunt first started, where several accusers and accused lived, and where Salem Villagers gathered to watch those accused of witchcraft questioned by the judges.
Daniel A. Gagnon is a life-long Danvers resident and historian researching the 1692 Salem Village Witch-Hunt. He is the author of a forthcoming biography of 1692 Witch-Hunt victim Rebecca Nurse (Fall 2021), and his article “Skeletons in the Closet: How the Actions of the Salem Witch Trials Victims’ Families in 1692 Affected Later Memorialization” was recently published in the New England Journal of History (Fall 2019). He serves on the board of directors of the Rebecca Nurse Homestead Museum in Danvers, is a member of the Danvers Historical Society, and serves on the Town of Danvers’ Salem Village Historic District Commission. In 2017, he led the successful effort to petition the governor to declare July 19, 2017 as "Rebecca Nurse Day" in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts to commemorate the 325th anniversary of Rebecca Nurse's execution for witchcraft in 1692.