Teaching Salem Witchcraft

One of the most provocative topics in the American History survey class is the Salem witchcraft trials. Although it was a great tragedy, the episode lends itself to wonderful discussions about historical interpretation. As Emerson Baker’s recent book A Storm of Witchcraft points out, the past four decades have seen a huge expansion of the literature on [Read More…]


How should we interpret Hurricane Sandy, blowing near Salem, Massachusetts, in the days before Halloween? Might it be read providentially, as it could have been read by the colonists who made the place famous by their treatment of witches? Or is it really an enhancement of Halloween, tempestuous winds to make the party spookier and [Read More…]