Tuesday, February 6, 2018

My American Ethnic History: Ireland

Raven's Heart © Jen Delyth of Celtic Art Studios

They will not criminalise us, rob us of our true identity, steal our individualism, depoliticise us, churn us out as systemised, institutionalised, decent law-abiding robots. We refuse to lie here in dishonor! We are not criminals, but Irishmen! This is the crime of which we stand accused. Never will they label our liberation struggle as criminal . . . Our revenge will be the laughter of our children.”  

(Bobby Sands, Bobby Sands Trust, 2012).

I am multi-ethnic. My parents were born in America; however, my great grandparents emigrated from Ireland and Germany. I closely identify with my Irish ethnicity, equal with my German ethnicity, because I am taught about this side of my ancestry. My Mother is 100% Irish and has done extensive research. My Father did not relay anything to me regarding my German heritage. It will be up to me to research that on my own. 

My Mother’s family originates from Counties Cork and Clare in Munster, the southernmost province. This is integral when considering the still present illegal occupation of Northern Ireland by Britain, and only The Republic of Ireland, or the South, is free. 

I do not support violence or present day Irish Republic Army, however, in the early 1900’s and before, specifically the Easter Uprising, Éirí Amach na Cásca, and the need for the formation of the Irish Republican Brotherhood, into the IRA, was crucial for the Irish to rise up against Britain.  

There were various groups before the IRA, such as the Irish Citizen Army, Irish volunteers, and various leaders that contributed to the uprising, such as Patrick Pearse, Pádraig Pearse, and Michael Collins, Míceál Ó Coileáin.

Bobby Sands, Roibeárd Gearóid Ó Seachnasaigh, a poet, writer, and political prisoner, is an activist I admire because he, along with many, perished for the betterment for and freedom of Ireland. Bobby Sands was born in North Belfast in a Nationalist Irish ghetto. 

He was a member of the Provisional Irish Republic Army, and led the 1981 hunger strikes when Irish Republican prisoners protested against a “special category”, that political prisoners were granted status similar to a POW, or prisoner of war.  

Britain revoked this right in 1976. 

The prisoners endured immense physical beatings, solitary confinement and torture during the hunger strikes. Bobby, while imprisoned, was elected an independent MP, a nonpartisan Member of Parliament, who supported the prisoners’ cause. 

Amnesty International reported in June 1978, that, “Maltreatment of suspected terrorists by the RUC, [Royal Ulster Constabulary] has taken place with sufficient frequency to warrant establishment of a public inquiry to investigate it.” (Bobby Sands Trust, 2012). 

Ten prisoners died in the hunger strikes. 

Other privileges were restored and over time, the hunger strikers' demands were met, but the British government never made formal recognition of the prisoners' right to political status.          

Irish history is not only involved with activism, politics and famine. The nation and people are abundant with spirituality, folklore, tradition, storytelling, oral history, myth, poetry, writing, art, music and nature. The reliance on oral history is prevalent in Ireland via song, music, storytelling, dance and writing. 
In regards to the culture and arts of Ireland, The National Gallery of Ireland has rare archives of 41 watercolors of West of Ireland pre-Famine scenes by the artist William Evans. In addition, there is Pathos of Distance, 42 images relating to Irish migration and diaspora, created between 1813 and 1912 by Sarah Pierce. Unfortunately, the collections are not viewable online. 
Welsh artist, Jen Delyth, of Celtic Art Studios, promotes the spirituality of Ireland.  Internationally known writers are from Ireland such as Samuel Beckett, James Joyce, Oscar Wilde, W.B.Yeats, C.S. Lewis, Frank McCourt, Patrick Pearse, and Jonathan Swift.  
Ireland is adamant on keeping tradition alive, rejecting assimilation, which in one way, relates to the Irish immigration to America. 

The Great Hunger, an Gorta Mór, in 1845, also known as The Irish Potato Famine, “occurred” due to a fungus that killed potato crops, “Because the tenant farmers of Ireland—then ruled as a colony of Great Britain—relied heavily on the potato as a source of food, the infestation had a catastrophic impact . . .  the Potato Famine resulted in the death of roughly one million Irish from starvation and related causes, with at least another million forced to leave their homeland as refugees.” (History.com, 2017).  

Ireland had elected representatives that were Protestant British landowners, of British origin and in 1801; Ireland was a colony of Britain until the War of Independence. Both nations were known as the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland. Northern Ireland is still oppressed by Britain. In relation to the Great Famine, Britain did nothing to help the Irish. Britain allowed the Irish to starve to death. 

Ireland continued to export large quantities of food, primarily to Great Britain, during the blight . . . even as the Great Hunger ravaged the countryside.” (History.com, 2017).  1 million Irish men, women and children starved to death and another 1 million emigrated to escape poverty and starvation. 

This is the Irish Diaspora. 

Before, during and upon emigration, the Irish endured horrid conditions and were treated poorly upon arrival. After the blight, seven years of forced famine, barefoot mothers held dead babies and begged for food. Dogs fed on human corpses. People tried eating grass to survive and desperate farmers sprinkled their crops with holy water. Hollow figures roamed Ireland’s countryside searching for food. Typhus, dysentery, tuberculosis and cholera ravaged Ireland and horses carted dead bodies to mass graves. 

Upon leaving Ireland, 5,000 boats transported refugees onto converted cargo ships, used in the past to transport slaves from Africa. The Irish were hungry and sick, spent all their money for this trip just to be treated like baggage. The air was full of excrement and vomit. One adult was allocated 18 inches of space, children half. A quarter of 85,000 passengers aboard “coffin ships”, died and the bodies were wrapped in cloth, weighted with rocks and tossed overboard. 

The refugees seeking haven in America were poor and disease-ridden. They threatened to take jobs away from Americans and strain welfare budgets. They practiced an alien religion and pledged allegiance to a foreign leader. They were bringing with them crime. They were accused of being rapists. And, worst of all, these undesirables were Irish.” (Klein, 2017).

Arrival in America fueled hostility and anger. Not only were the Irish poor and starving, they were Catholic in a Protestant America. Besides Africans, Native Indians, and the Spanish, Irish, along with other European immigrants, were the only non-Protestants. 

In regards to my own identity, Irish history influences my behavior, beliefs and actions immensely. Due to what the Irish have and still endure, I became an activist and advocate early on and supported, and still support people under constant persecution such as Native Indians, African Americans, the LGBTQIA spectrum, Muslim’s, specifically Palestine, Pakistan and the Rohingya in Myanmar, as well as human rights in general.

Society in general identifies me, Irish American, as drunken, alcoholic, rowdy, trouble making, loudmouthed, bigoted, criminal, and uneducated. People say things to me such as: Go eat a potato, Where is the bar? Irish people are loud, dirty and stupid, Go have a drink, and You are angry because you are Irish. People have even asked me if Irish people have orange hair like leprechauns.

Saint Patrick’s Day in America is an American created celebration. In Ireland, this is a feast day. Patrick was an indentured servant, a slave, and March 17, St. Patrick's Day, is the closest believed historical date of his death. 

Contrary to popular belief, this tradition, St. Patrick's Day, [parades, green beer and shamrocks] did not originate in Ireland. Patrick wrote two short works, the Confessio, a spiritual autobiography, and his Letter to Coroticus, a denunciation of British mistreatment of Irish Christians. 

During these times in America, I visit the Irish Famine Memorials. 

While researching National Archives, knowing my family originates from Counties Cork and Clare, along with my family surnames, Kelly and Meaney, I searched births, marriages and deaths in Ireland. 
My search returned, “Birth, marriage and death certificates for Scotland or Ireland cannot be viewed or ordered at The National Archives” and “Many Irish records have not survived and people tracing their Irish ancestry may need to refer to local records and archives as well as national sources.” (National Archives, 2018).     

The National Archives of Ireland stated that in order for me to search for civil registrations, go to Family Search for periods 1845-1958 and that all of Ireland is available from 1845-1922 and only the Republic of Ireland from 1922 to present. 
On Family Search, I searched Migration and Naturalization records, specifically, United States Famine Irish Passenger Index, 1846-1851 and Genealogical Records that include counties, spouses and children. I started with Genealogical records. My great grandmother was Johanna Kennedy; my great grandfather, Joseph Kelly, both from County Clare on my grandmother’s side. 
Although there are numerous records for my great grandfather, none reverts to my ancestry. I search County Cork, Patrick Meaney and Ellen Broderick from my grandfather’s side. Again, records do not relate to my ancestry.

On Family Search, Migration and Naturalization records, specifically, United States Famine Irish Passenger Index, 1846-1851 I started with my great grandmother, Johanna Kennedy and great grandfather, Joseph Kelly from County Clare. 
There are numerous records; however, this can be my great grandfather;  Joseph Kelly, emigrated June 1846, from Ireland to NY, 25 yr. old male, birthplace, Ireland, born 1821. 
On the same index, I search for my ancestry from County Cork, great grandparents, Patrick Meaney and Ellen Broderick. Again, there are numerous listings, however, Pat Meaney, a 23 yr. old male departing from Limerick in 1851, can be my great grandfather.

In addition to national records, as suggested by National Archives, local history for Ireland is available, however, it will take physically visiting places with details of my ancestry. 
The first place to visit is The Buffalo Irish Center and the second, the Buffalo and Erie County Library. Both institutions have genealogical resources available. 
My second eldest sister visited Ireland twice and was able to further conduct research my Mother began. My sister brought back two family trees from both sides and counties outlining not only both families, but the coat of arms and what the last names signify.

Researching one’s ethnic history is imperative in preserving tradition, storytelling and history. In addition, is it crucial to acknowledge and accept one’s identity, regardless of what history reports. 
In my experience, research that has been accomplished, in addition to current findings, enhances the desire and need to visit Ireland. The other half of my ethnicity, German, will be interesting to research as well. Then one day, I too, will wish to visit Germany.

* * *

For Further Research: 

Bobby Sands Trust * Natives and Strangers: A History of Ethnic Americans * National Gallery of Ireland. From Galway to Leenane: perceptions of landscape * Family Search. (2018) United States Famine Irish Passenger Index, 1846-1851 * Irish Potato Famine. History.com * When America Despised the Irish: The 19th Century’s Refugee Crisis * National Archives. Births, Marriages and Deaths in Scotland and Ireland * National Gallery of Ireland. Pathos of distance.

Thursday, February 1, 2018

"Like This" Slam/Blues Collaboration on Poetry Inspired


Recently, Poetry Inspired chose to publish a slam/spoken word collaboration between Nikki Richards of Urban Blues NYC and myself. 

You can check that out here: https://poetryinspired.com/2018/01/31/slam-poem-like-this-poetry-inspired/

Enjoy a spoken word master piece by Susan Marie backed by the velvety smooth instrumental performance, of Urban Blues on SoundCloud. Like This is a beautiful poem on the topic of love we know so deeply. This poem is timeless, and surely will soothe your taste for epic  slam poetry. If you like it, please share the wealth with others!

Please check out Poetry Inspired to listen and submit: https://poetryinspired.com/2018/01/31/slam-poem-like-this-poetry-inspired/

On Twitter: https://twitter.com/PoetryInspired1

You can find Nikki Richards on Soundcloud: https://soundcloud.com/nikki-richards-2

On Twitter: https://twitter.com/UrbanbluesNYC


Tuesday, January 30, 2018

Race, Ethnicity, Social Justice and The Blue Eyes/Brown Eyes Exercise

U.S. households are becoming more diverse in racial and ethnic composition. As the number and variety of immigrants increase, the ways in which we relate to one another becomes more complex.” 

(Benokraitis, Marriage and Families, Pg. 78). 

Although racism is sadly nothing new, this ongoing issue in American society in regards to racial minorities continues to detrimentally shape the lives of families in several ways. For example, financial and educational status, and how the criminal justice system operates, affects families of color, resulting in higher rates of poverty, health problems, and stress. The ethnic groups most affected in America by racism are African Americans, American Indians, Asian Americans, Latino's and Middle Eastern Americans. 

Racial profiling, or the use of race or ethnicity as grounds for suspecting someone of having committed an offense, is by far one of the largest judgmental issues in society that must cease. Racial profiling often affects hiring and promotion, interracial marriage and relationships, and how one is treated in society. 

More extreme forms of discrimination such as Jim Crow laws, or any of the laws that enforced racial segregation in the South between the end of Reconstruction in 1877 and the beginning of the civil rights movement in the 1950s, all lend to inequality and grave injustice to people of color, a term signifying any person who is not white. It does not solely refer to African-Americans; rather, it encompasses all non-white groups and emphasizes the common experiences of systemic racism.

To determine various groups in society that intersect racially and determine the balance of power, one must look at minority and dominant groups. A minority group is a group of people that are treated differently by the dominant group due to physical or cultural characteristics, gender, sexual orientation, religion, and/or skin color. 

A dominant group is any physically or culturally distinctive group that has the most economic and political power, the greatest privileges, and the highest social status. This group is predominantly white, or Caucasian. 

Minorities outnumber white people, yet generally have less power, privilege, and social status. Most white people, in contrast, are privileged only due to their skin color. This is referred to as white privilege.

In order to relate to how the balances of power intersect, one must consider a continuum, or a continuous sequence in which adjacent elements are not perceptibly different from each other, although the extremes are quite distinct.  One part of the continuum is assimilation, or conformity of ethnic group members to the culture of the dominant group, including intermarriage. 

The other end of the continuum is pluralism, maintaining many aspects of one’s original culture, including language and marrying within one’s own ethnic group, while living peacefully with the dominant culture.

There are also groups of people in the middle of the continuum, those that blend into society through acculturation, or the process of adopting the language, values, beliefs, roles, and other characteristics of the dominant culture.

Racism is a set of beliefs that dominate a racial group in society making the dominant group superior to other groups of people. Numerous people, both Caucasian and African American, view race relations differently. 

For example, in general, African Americans view racism as an ongoing issue without resolution while many Caucasians view racism as a problem that never existed or has been solved. In turn, some Caucasians believe that anti-white bias is a bigger social problem than anti-black bias. Examples of these movements can be seen with #WhiteLivesMatter and #AllLivesMatter. 

What these movements create is a pro-white agenda that continues to fuel prejudice and discrimination, in an attempt to silence the causes of movements like #BlackLivesMatter. 

Prejudice is a negative way of thinking that automatically prejudges people simply because they are different. This may be due to race, ethnicity, religion, and sexual gender. While all human beings can be prejudiced, minorities are vastly targeted.

Discrimination is more harmful because instead of a way of thinking, discrimination is a learned behavior where people are treated unfairly only due to their difference from the dominant group. Discrimination is responsible for lack of or loss of employment, non acceptance to a club, university, religious group or social class. Discrimination is responsible for hate crimes and death.

A history of inequality and racism in a society affects families of color in several ways via individual and institutional discrimination. Individual discrimination is harmful behavior to another on a one to one basis from a member of a dominant group in society to a minority group. While institutional or systemic discrimination is being treated differently as a result of society’s laws, rules, policies, and practices. 

Whether past or present, racial inequality is similar. Jim Crow laws do not exist however, white privilege still does. The forms of racism are different only in how they are presented in society today. For example, there are no longer white and black water fountains; however, an African American man walking down the same side of the street may cause a discriminatory white person to cross the street. Even though laws and rights have changed, behaviors and actions of people have not changed. 

All of these experiences shape families because society as a whole affects employment, financial status, education, and the right to exist alongside everyone else, peacefully, without inequality. 

Children that are raised in either environments, a discriminatory household, or a household where being taught to bow down or bend to the dominant culture is practiced, are equally harmful. A household that teaches equality, understanding, compassion and peace is ideal. 

Unfortunately, once the child is subject to the American educational system and American society, there is a chance they succumb to what society mirrors, extreme left or right behavior. 

The middle way or a way of existing without discrimination and racism towards one another seems like a utopian dream; however, with education, understanding, awareness, advocacy and solidarity, it is indeed possible. 

Linked here and below, is a LIVE Interview with Jane Elliott and myself over a landline before the days of Skype. Jane is an internationally known teacher, lecturer, diversity trainer, and recipient of the National Mental Health Association Award for Excellence in Education. She exposes prejudice and bigotry for what it is, an irrational class system based upon purely arbitrary factors. 

Jane is a brilliant, brave woman and the audio and documentary will blow your mind when you see how easy it is to teach judgment, discrimination, and racism.

If you think this does not apply to you, you are in for a rude awakening. During this conversation, Jane and I speak frankly away from what the documentary below depicts. Both are necessary for all people to watch and listen to in order to understand how EASY it is to teach discrimination.

In response to the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Jane Elliott devised the Blue Eyes/Brown Eyes exercise. This now famous exercise labels participants as inferior or superior based solely upon the color of their eyes and exposes them to the experience of being a minority. Everyone who is exposed to Jane Elliott's work, be it through a lecture, workshop, or video, is dramatically affected by it.

Jane taught this in a 98% white Anglo-Saxon town, Riceville, Iowa, 1968. The effects are monumental. Jane and her family paid dearly for initially teaching this exercise. After 1968, this exercise has been taught professionally to all adults regardless of race, ethnicity, sexual gender, orientation and religion.  


You can view the PBS Frontline Documentary here: 


Nijole Benokraitis. (2011). Marriage and Families. Seventh edition.  Pg. 78. 

Sunday, January 21, 2018

The Earth Is Weeping: The Epic Story of the Indian Wars for the American West

This book is the most factual, historical accounts of all of the wars and conflicts between the white man, U.S Army, colonization and Indigenous tribes, as well as the wars and conflicts within Indigenous tribes. It is the ultimate book on Indian Wars for the American West, occurring after the Civil War.

Peter Cozzens, a fine historian and author, managed to take the most integral parts of Native Indian history and become a storyteller in the process. He objectively tells the truth. When we think of war, we often think of Vietnam, Afghanistan, WWII, however, the wars fought on this land often go unreported and neglected.

The uninterrupted armed conflicts between the U.S. Army and Indigenous tribes of the Great Plains and Rocky Mountains from the 1860’s - 1890’s were Americas longest and most tragic wars.

Wars/Conflicts/Murders covered:

1862 - Dakota Sioux Uprising: Minnesota. 

1864 - Sand Creek Massacre: Colorado. 

1865 - Military command of Missouri, Little Arkansas River Treaties with Southern Plains tribes

1866 - Red Cloud’s War: Montana Territory, Fetterman fight: Montana Territory

1867 - Pawnee Fork Village burning: Kansas, Kidder Massacre: Kansas, Hayfield fight: Montana Territory, Wagon Box Fight: Montana Territory. 

1868 - Military command of Missouri, Battle of Beecher Island: Colorado, Chief Red Cloud: Fort Laramie Treaty, Battle of Washita: Indian Territory.

1869 - Battle of Summit Springs: Kansas, Sitting Bull elected head chief Lakotas.

1870 - Massacre of Piegan Village: Montana.

1871 - Camp Grant Massacre: Arizona Territory, Staked Plain: Texas campaign. 

1872 - Battle of North Fork, Red River: Texas, Clash on Lost River: Oregon, Modoc War, Battle of Salt River Canyon: Arizona Territory. 

1873 - Assassination of General Canby, Sitting Bull: Lakota and Custer battles, Captain Jack hanged.

1874 - Death of Cochise, Apache Battle of Adobe Walls: Indian Territory, Black Hills, Custer: Gold Rush, Battle of Palo Duro Canyon: Texas, Battle of McClellan Creek: Texas. 

1875 - Slaughter of Southern Cheyennes, Sappa Creek: Texas, President Grant's war with Lakotas

1876 - Battle of Powder River: Montana Territory, Lakota/Northern Cheyenne Sun Dance, Deer Medicine Rocks: Montana Territory, Battle of the Rosebud: Montana Territory, Battle of Little Bighorn: Montana Territory, Battle of Slim Buttes: Dakota Territory, Lakota Reservation relinquish unceded Indian Territory, Battle of Cedar Creek: Montana Territory, Destruction of Dull Knife’s Northern Cheyenne Village, Red Fork of the Powder River: Wyoming Territory. 

1877 - Battle of Wolf Mountain: Montana Territory, Crazy Horse surrenders, Fort Robinson: Nebraska, Sitting Bull enters Canada, Battle of White Bird Canyon: Idaho Territory, Nez Perce War, Battle of the Clearwater: Idaho Territory, Battle of the Big Hole: Montana Territory, Crazy Horse killed, Fort Robinson, Battle of Bear Paw Mountain: Montana, Territory, surrender of Chief Joseph, Nez Perce. 

1878 - Northern Cheyenne Exodus.

1879 - Northern Cheyenne Outbreak: Fort Robinson, Chief Little Wolf surrenders, Battle of Milk Creek: Colorado. 

1880 - Battle of Rattlesnake Springs: Texas, Apache Chief Victorio killed: Tres Castillos, Chihuahua, New Mexico. 

1881 - Sitting Bull surrenders, Fort Buford: Texas, Battle of Cibecue Creek: Arizona Territory. 

1882 - Battle of Big Dry Wash: Arizona Territory.

1883 - Crook’s Sierra Madre Campaign: New Mexico, Sitting Bull “agency Indian” Great Sioux Reservation.

1885 - Geronimo breaks out of White Mountain Reservation: Arizona Territory. 

1886 - Crook & Geronimo, Sonora: New Mexico, Geronimo surrenders, Skeleton Canyon: Arizona Territory, Chiricahua Apaches removed from Arizona Territory. 

1889 - Sioux Land Commission breaks up Great Sioux Reservation.

1890 - Sitting Bull killed on Standing Rock Reservation: North Dakota, Wounded Knee Creek Massacre, Pine Ridge Reservation: South Dakota. 

1891 - Brule & Oglala Lakota surrender, Pine Ridge Agency: South Dakota.

The reason I list the battles, massacres, and murders, is this book allows you to read of one or several at a time. Harrowing. Not for the light hearted.

This book will break your heart and enlighten you, simultaneous. Extremely difficult to read without feeling like your own heart has been ripped out of your chest.

The start of the book recounts President Lincoln and peace treaties with Lean Bear, to the immediate slaughter of Lean Bear by U.S. Army. It ends with Wounded Knee. The most horrible inhumane massacre that aligns with Standing Rock Water Protectors today.

This book strengthened an already known fact, that the U.S Government has and continues to use these same tactics they did with the Indigenous during all war. While Indigenous history is a class unto itself, the actions of this government are universal and nothing new.


Sunday, January 14, 2018

The Salem Witch Trials: A Day-By-Day Chronicle of a Community Under Siege [Book Review]

Based on twenty-seven years of original archival research, including the discovery of previously unknown documents, this day-by-day narrative of the hysteria that swept through Salem Village in 1692 and 1693 reveals new connections behind the events, and shows how rapidly a community can descend into madness. 

Marilynne Roach opens her work with chapters on the history of the Puritan colonies of New England, and explains how these people regarded the metaphysical and the supernatural. 

It is crucial to recall that during the years 1692-97, there were numerous political issues. The Puritans distanced themselves from England, not yet having recognition as a “church” forming their own society away from Britain, the war with France was occurring that included the aid of the Indigenous, later left to survive and/or die when the war ended and after that, the Treaty of Ryswick obliged King Louis to finally acknowledge England’s Protestant succession.

The Puritans, who left England due to "religious persecution", feared their religion was under attack again and worried they were losing control of their colony. The political instability and threat to their religion created a feeling of uneasiness and discontent in the Massachusetts Bay Colony.

During these years, this small village started an anxiety ridden hysterical hunt after mostly women, and several men, based upon their dealings with the “devil” claiming innocent people were “witches” responsible for the antics of villagers coerced by their minister, Parris and other villagers.

Since the “accused witches” were considered dangerous prisoners, they were kept in a dungeon chained to the walls because jail officials believed this would prevent their spirits from fleeing jail and tormenting their victims.

English law at the time dictated that anyone who refused to enter a plea could be tortured in an attempt to force a plea out of them. This legal tactic was known as “peine forte et dure” which means “strong and harsh punishment.”

The torture consisted of laying the prisoner on the ground, naked, with a board placed on top of him. Heavy stones were loaded onto the board and the weight was gradually increased until the person either entered a plea or died.

Many modern theories suggest the accusers, starting with the young girls [who were apparently being attacked by “witches” and partly responsible for the witch hunts, along with adults that coerced, threatened and beat others into believing this rubbish] were suffering from epilepsy, boredom, child abuse, and/or mental illness.

This book is fantastic if one seeks a day to day account of what life was like during this time. It is not a book to be picked up and simply read, rather, studied. The author, Roach, is a historian and this book is an exemplary example of her work. This is THE “go to” book on all you ever need to know about the Salem Witch Trials.

The interesting aspects of this era and village is that divinatory methods, herbal healing, healers, folk medicine and “psychic” abilities and practices were commonplace. That alone is proof enough that mass hysteria and mental illness were responsible for the trials and deaths.

This historical account blatantly shows that this village and the people living in it, were beyond naive and filled with fear, hence, the horrid slaughter of innocent people based upon collective fear, judgment and the absolute insane mindsets of people where common sense, sense of self and self respect was never present. 

Everyday illnesses, deaths, random occurrences, noises, visions, marks on the body like moles, were all blamed on “witchcraft” and in todays world, the things that occurred are able to be explained medically, scientifically and spiritually.

This account has taught me that most, if not all of the people living in this village were beyond mentally deranged. Instead of needing a “religious” leader and community, perhaps psychiatrists, psychotherapists and trained mental health professionals would have recognized mass hysteria and prevented the sweeping fear that overtook Salem Village. 

Sadly, the accused had their land, livestock and all possessions taken from them. It points to a larger motive, not just fear and control, but land grabbing and greed.

As for why these victims were targeted in the first place, historians have noted that many of the accused were wealthy and held different religious beliefs than their accusers.

This, coupled with the fact that the accused also had their estates confiscated if they were convicted has led many historians to believe that religious feuds and property disputes played a big part in the witch trials.

To date, 120 people [88 women, 32 men] were suspected of “witchcraft” between 1638-91, most on trial repeatedly concluding in 121 trials involving 85 women and 36 men. 38 cases were slander suits brought against accusers.

Of the 83 witch trials, not the slander trials, which includes “spotty” record keeping, there were roughly 11-17 executions [all women, two men] occurring in Connecticut and Massachusetts, where the majority of the English population lived.

Others who were not hanged, but tortured to death, including suspected animals, evaded punishment, escaped jail, found not guilty, were pardoned, or died while jailed, added to the above numbers. 

There was never “burning at the stake” as most people assume.

In 1703, families, 21 people, of the accused and murdered started legal petitions to the General Courts. The Courts found all evidence against the murdered and accused to be weak and insufficient.

It was not until 1712 that the names of the executed and accused were cleared and their families given reparation based on testimony from living accusers and the financial gains of Reverend Parris, now made public. The Courts decided that “original charges came from people influenced by evil spirits then, and [some of them] “of profligate and vicious” lives now.

Legally, it was not until 2001, that the state of Massachusetts amended a 1957 "apology" in addition to the initial 1712 reparations, and legally cleared the names of the remaining unnamed victims.

The true evil existed only within the people that lied, allowing the innocent to be brutally killed. True evil exists only within those that lead the naive into the dark. 

 You can find this book at your local library or HERE