- Radio Times
- Review by:
- Mark Braxton
This chilling documentary picks apart the infamous 17th-century witch-hunt of Salem, Massachusetts, as local historian Katherine Howe returns to the site where her forebear was executed. It’s a fate that befell 18 others, while five died in prison.
Some erratic juvenile behaviour that could have been epilepsy, a muttered curse, and a firebrand puritan trying to drum up business are at the heart of it all. London-born Samuel Parris was the man whose fanatical drive to make the village “clean” sparked a series of farcical trials.
Enthusiastic if unskilled reconstructions tell the story, while Howe uncovers handwritten sermons that reveal a minister under pressure, and a parochial power struggle
that turned to insanity.
About this programme
Katherine Howe investigates whether the witch trials in 17th-century Salem were used to gain power rather than to fight the Devil.
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