Monday, October 25, 2010

A Report on the Most Recent Salem Witch Trials Research

The House of the Seven Gables Presents “A New Look at the Salem Witch Trials: Report on the most Recent Research”

The House of the Seven Gables will welcome Professor Benjamin C. Ray from the University of Virginia to present a talk entitled “A New Look at the Salem Witch Trials: Report on the most Recent Research” on Sunday November 7th, 2010 at 2:00 PM. Professor Ray’s lecture will focus on the new scholarly edition of the court records of the Salem Witch Trials titled Records of the Salem Witch-Hunt. This book, of which Dr. Ray is an associate editor, is the first comprehensive record of all legal documents pertaining to the Salem Witch Trials in chronological order. With the inclusion of previously undiscovered manuscripts as well as documents published in earlier additions and omitted from later, Records of the Salem Witch-Hunt offers the most comprehensive historic account of the events of 1692-1693.

Dr. Ray’s roots in Danvers date back to Daniel Ray (spelled Rae) who settled his family on the North Shore in 1630. A later generation would raise their voices in defense of accused witch Rebecca Nurse in 1692. It was this family history that inspired Dr. Ray, a Religious Studies scholar, to begin teaching on the subject and conducting further research. After receiving a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities, Dr. Ray teamed with another scholar and a team of researchers to digitize all the court records associated with the Witchcraft Trials.During the project, the team uncovered over 30 previously lost original court records making this edition the most accurate and comprehensive record ever published. Dr. Ray’s lecture will discuss the story of the Salem Witchcraft Trials as scholars now understand them.

The lecture will be held on Sunday, November 7, 2010 at 2:00pm at The House of the Seven Gables. Tickets are $10 for non-members and $5 for members of The House of the Seven Gables. For tickets, please call The House of the Seven Gables at 978-744-0991 ext. 104. For more information on this year’s centennial events, please visit

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