Back to 1692: the Last Convicted Salem ’Witch’ to Be Exonerated From 300-Year-Old Trials
02:10 GMT 01.11.2021 (Updated: 02:11 GMT 01.11.2021)
Massachusetts Democratic Senator Diana DiZoglio previously introduced a bill to exonerate the last "Salem witch," Elizabeth Johnson, convicted in the 17th century. Students from the state’s North Andover Middle School helped to find evidence for the pardon.
The legislation of Senator Diana DiZoglio to acquit Elizabeth Johnson will be soon be delivered to the Senate and House of Representatives, where the bill is expected to be unanimously passed, according to the blog Witches of Massachusetts Bay
“It’s not expected to be a contentious issue, since the previous one was signed in 2001, but it’s just one bill among many for the 192nd Session,” the blog said.
The senator introduced the legislation in late August. According to her, she was inspired by the work done by eighth-grade students from North Andover. They have found and examined every detail about Johnson and proposed a strategy to officially vindicate her.
“It is important that we work to correct history,” said DiZoglio on Saturday, as cited by the New York Post. “It's the time of year to get this done. We will never be able to change what happened to these victims, but at the very least, we can set the record straight.”
In 1692, a massive "witch hunt" began in Salem and neighboring towns. At the time, hundreds of people were accused of witchcraft, 19 of whom were hanged, while another girl was stoned to death. Over the next 329 years, many of them were acquitted, including the mother of Elizabeth Johnson.
In 1693, 22-year-old Johnson was sentenced to death, but she avoided execution. When the scale of the unjust trial of the "witches" became known, the then-governor of Massachusetts overturned the death sentence, but the charges remained.
DiZoglio said that she doesn't know why Johnson still hasn't been acquitted. It is believed that there was no one who could act on her behalf, as she was not married and had no children.
If the bill is accepted, Johnson's name would be included in the 1957 law that contains a list of names of those wrongly convicted in 1692-1693. Elizabeth Johnson would be the last Salem “witch” to be acquitted.