"Thrice the brinded cat hath mew'd.
Thrice and once, the hedge-pig whin'd.
Harpier cries:—'tis time! 'tis time!
Round about the caldron go;
In the poison'd entrails throw.
Toad, that under cold stone,
Days and nights has thirty-one;
Swelter'd venom sleeping got,
Boil thou first i' the charmed pot!
Double, double toil and trouble;
Fire burn, and caldron bubble…
...By the pricking of my thumbs,
Something wicked this way comes.
Whoever knocks!" - Macbeth
Happy Halloweeeeeeeen! I wanted to share some accounts of the Salem Witch Trials with you on this spooky Friday afternoon. We live only two towns over from the old village of Salem - which today is a busy and bustling little city with many great restaurants, bakeries and cafes. The cobble stone streets are lined with shops targeted at the spooky history of the town. There are countless tarot card readers, fortune tellers and Wiccan shops. There are historical tours of the House of Seven Gables, ghost tours of the Old Burying Point cemetery and reenactments at the Salem Witch Museum. It can be easy, at times, to get caught up in the hocus-pocus of it all - and I must admit, I love the magic and mystery that "Hollywood" (and countless authors and story tellers) have given to this tale - but it is harder to believe that this actually happened. Below are some of the accounts of this eerie and utterly tragic time in our history...
"And now Nineteen persons having been hang'd, and one prest to death, and Eight more condemned, in all Twenty and Eight, of which above a third part were Members of some of the Churches of N. England, and more than half of them of a good Conversation in general, and not one clear'd; about Fifty having confest themselves to be Witches, of which not one Executed; above an Hundred and Fifty in Prison, and Two Hundred more accused; the Special Commision of Oyer and Terminer comes to a period."
— Robert Calef, More Wonders of the Invisible World
"Mr. Burroughs was carried in a Cart with others, through the streets of Salem, to Execution. When he was upon the Ladder, he made a speech for the clearing of his Innocency, with such Solemn and Serious Expressions as were to the Admiration of all present; his Prayer (which he concluded by repeating the Lord’s Prayer) [as witches were not supposed to be able to recite] was so well worded, and uttered with such composedness as such fervency of spirit, as was very Affecting, and drew Tears from many, so that if seemed to some that the spectators would hinder the execution. The accusers said the black Man [Devil] stood and dictated to him. As soon as he was turned off [hung], Mr. Cotton Mather, being mounted upon a Horse, addressed himself to the People, partly to declare that he [Mr. Burroughs] was no ordained Minister, partly to possess the People of his guilt, saying that the devil often had been transformed into the Angel of Light. And this did somewhat appease the People, and the Executions went on; when he [Mr. Burroughs] was cut down, he was dragged by a Halter to a Hole, or Grave, between the Rocks, about two feet deep; his Shirt and Breeches being pulled off, and an old pair of Trousers of one Executed put on his lower parts: he was so put in, together with Willard and Carrier, that one of his Hands, and his Chin, and a Foot of one of them, was left uncovered."
—Robert Calef, More Wonders of the Invisible World
"THE APOLOGY OF THE SALEM JURY
Following Samuel Sewall's public apology for his involvement in the Salem trials, a number of jurors who had been instrumental in the condemnations of witches also jumped to make their own public apology. They reaffirmed their intent to act rightly, but such rapid public distancing helped to push belief in witchcraft out of the courtroom and into the more private, and less measured, court of public opinion.
The Jury's Apology
Some that had been of several juries have given forth a paper, signed with our own hands in these words. We whose names are underwritten, being in the year 1692 called to serve as jurors in court in Salem, on trial of many who were by some suspected guilty of doing acts of witchcraft upon the bodies of sundry persons.
We confess that we ourselves were not capable to understand, nor able to withstand the mysterious delusions of the powers of darkness and prince of the air, but were for want of knowledge in ourselves and better information from others, prevailed with to take up with such evidence against the accused as on further consideration and better information, we justly fear was insufficient for the touching the lives of any, Deuteronomy 17.6, whereby we fear we have been instrumental with others, though ignorantly and unwittingly, to bring upon ourselves and this people of the Lord, the guilt of innocent blood, which sin the Lord saith in Scripture, he would not pardon, 2 Kings 24.4, that is we suppose in regard of His temporal judgments. We do, therefore, hereby signify to all in general (and to the surviving sufferers in especial) our deep sense of and sorrow for our errors in acting on such evidence to the condemning of any person.
And do hereby declare that we justly fear that we were sadly deluded and mistaken, for which we are much disquieted and distressed in our minds, and do therefore humbly beg forgiveness, first of God for Christ's sake for this our error. And pray that God would not impute the guilt of it to ourselves nor others. And we also pray that we may be considered candidly and aright by the living sufferers as being then under the power of a strong and general delusion, utterly unacquainted with and not experienced in matters of that nature.
We do heartily ask forgiveness of you all, whom we have justly offended and do declare, according to our present minds, we would none of us do such things again on such grounds for the whole world, praying you to accept of this in way of satisfaction for our offense, and that you would bless the inheritance of the Lord that He may be entreated for the land.
Foreman, Thomas Fisk Thomas Perly, Senior
William Fiske John Peabody
John Batcheler Thomas Perkins
Thomas Fisk, Junior Samuel Sather
John Dane Andrew Elliott
Joseph Evelith Henry Herrick, Senior
From "The Apology of the Salem Jury," 1697."
This soup is everything I would want a cream of mushroom soup to be. It is buttery and salty, earthy and herb-y (don't think thats a real word…). Every flavor is highlighted - you can taste the shallots, the thyme and the woodsy mushrooms. Enjoy it on this Hallows Eve - and every other eve for that matter! Happy Halloween, little goblins!
• Cream of Wild Mushroom Soup •
adapted from Ina Garten's recipe
• 5 ounces fresh shiitake mushrooms
• 5 ounces fresh lobster mushrooms
• 5 ounces fresh cremini mushrooms
• 5 ounces fresh trumpet mushrooms
• 1 tablespoon good olive oil
• 1/4 pound (1 stick) plus 1 tablespoon unsalted butter, divided
• 2 shallots, chopped
• 1 carrot, peeled and chopped
• 1 sprig fresh thyme plus 1 teaspoon minced thyme leaves, divided
• Sea salt
• Freshly ground black pepper
• 1 large yellow onion, chopped
• 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
• 1 cup dry white wine
• 1 cup heavy cream
Clean the mushrooms by wiping them with a dry paper towel. Separate the stems, trim off any bad parts, and coarsely chop the stems. Set aside (I forgot this step and had to dig thru all of the mushrooms to separate them after…whoops).
Slice the mushroom caps 1/4-inch thick and, if there are big, cut them into bite-sized pieces. Set aside (separately!).
To make the stock, heat the olive oil and 1 tablespoon of the butter in a large pot. Add the chopped mushroom stems, the shallots, carrot, the sprig of thyme, 1 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper and cook over medium-low heat for 10 to 15 minutes, until the vegetables are soft.
Add 6 cups water, bring to a boil, reduce the heat, and simmer uncovered for 30 minutes.
Strain, reserving the liquid. You should have about 4 1/2 cups of stock. If not, add some water.
Meanwhile, in another large pot, heat the remaining 1/4 pound of butter and add the onion. Cook over low heat for 15 to 20 minutes, until the onion begins to brown. Add the sliced mushroom caps and cook for 10 minutes, or until they are browned and tender.
Add the flour and cook for 1 minute. Add the white wine and stir for another minute, scraping the bottom of the pot. Add the mushroom stock, minced thyme leaves, 1 1/2 teaspoons salt, and 1 teaspoon pepper and bring to a boil.
Reduce the heat and simmer for 15 minutes. Add the cream, and season with salt and pepper, to taste, and heat through but do not boil. Serve hot.
listening to: Witchy Woman by The Eagles