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Witchcraft in Early New England: Between The Devil and The Deep Blue Sea

posted Oct 11, 2017, 3:29 AM by Margaret McIntire   [ updated Oct 11, 2017, 4:44 AM by Julie Johnston ]
Just in time for Halloween, the Darien Historical Society will present “Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea,” a discussion focusing on the colonists’ preoccupation with the supernatural with Leslie Lindenauer, professor of history at Western Connecticut State University on Wednesday, October 25 at 7:30 p.m.

The talk will be held at the Bates-Scofield Homestead Museum, 45 Old Kings Highway North, Darien. The program is free for members of the Society and $20 for non-members. 

Lindenauer, whose research focuses on gender and religious culture in early America, will discuss why so many allegations of witchcraft emerged in early America, and what caused the deep-seated paranoia prevalent in New England during the 17th and 18th centuries. Lindenauer, will also discuss little-known case studies of individual women who were accused of performing black magic.

“From the first trials in the 1640s to the infamous epidemic in Salem in 1692, witchcraft accusations and trials can provide us with a window on early American religion, popular culture, and gender that is illuminating, disturbing, and entertaining in equal measure,” Lindenauer said. 

An editor with The Papers of Benjamin Franklin at Yale University, Lindenauer has directed departments of education and interpretation at several history museums, including the South Street Seaport Museum in New York City and Historic Hudson Valley in Tarrytown, New York. She was also the executive director of the Connecticut Women’s Hall of Fame. 

In addition to history, Lindenauer teaches courses in Museum Studies, American Studies, and Women’s Studies. She is the author of Piety and Power: Gender and Religious Culture in the American Colonies, 1630-1700 and this year Lindenauer was quoted in The New York Times on her critically-acclaimed book, I Could Not Call Her Mother: The Stepmother in American Popular Culture, 1750-1960.

The Darien Historical Society, located at 45 Old Kings Highway North, operates the Bates-Scofield Homestead, featuring an 18th century saltbox colonial, historical herb garden, resource library and spacious barn exhibition gallery. The Society’s mission is to educate the community about its rich heritage and to preserve historical artifacts for future generations.

Please register for this program by calling 203.655.9233 or email ukremer@darienhistorical.org. Seating is limited.