Scary Tales Based on True Stories
If you'd like to teach your child more than how to score candy this Halloween share with them some "based on true stories" from your very own city! Rhiannon visited one New England town with a rich 'witch' history.
Host: Welcome back to Better. Hi, I’m Audra Lowe. Coming up next, is your child at right for internet addiction. And we’re also hobnobbing with some big stars at the Hamptons Film Festival but first if you like to teach your child more than how to score candy this Halloween you can share with them some based on true stories from your very own city. Rhianne visited one New England town with a rich witch history.
Rhianne: Hollywood makes a bundle scaring us each year and flicks like the hit, The Haunting in Connecticut are based on supposed real life events proving that real life is often stranger than fiction.
Female: So this is a really interesting tombstone here. Inside is buried Leonard Chester and we believe that this is the oldest tombstone in the burying ground here. Leonard Chester was actually one of the 10 original adventurers who came to Wethersfield to found the town.
Rhianne: This is old Wethersfield, Connecticut. We decided to take a walk through history literally. Most people wouldn’t choose to walk through a cemetery but each grave marker is someone’s story offering a glimpse into the past. Terry Joyce is a local historian. She says your local historical society can give you details about the people buried there if you dare to ask.
1648 all the way up to the present day, you have tombstones. That’s a amazing.
Terry: In a way this is kind of like a living museum as well as a burial place for people’s loved ones.
Rhianne: And a little spooky too.
Terry: I guess late at night, it can be a lot spooky.
Rhianne: Terry and I certainly didn’t hang around long enough to find out. Next, we went on a witch hunt. Connecticut witch trials started about 50 years before the infamous Salem trials. Some accused of black magic were sent to the gallows right here in old Wethersfield, a town that embraces it’s dark history.
We’re at this house now and I know this was built back in 1714, believed to be and that alone is spooky enough but what else is so special about this house?
Terry: This is the house when Elizabeth George Speare was writing The Witch of Blackbird Pond. She used this house as the setting. She loved the medieval look of the exterior and the romantic look of the interior and the main character Kit was actually accused of being a witch in the book.
Rhianne: Let’s head in and check it out. There you are, hello, a little bit of editing magic. So when we think of witches, we typically think long pointy nose.
Terry: Black hat, broom.
[segment from The Wizard of Oz]
But you know most of people that were accused during this time period looked pretty much the same as the rest of their neighbors, went about their business the same as the rest of their neighbors. Unfortunately, they were just accused of being witches.
Rhianne: Bigger than life Hollywood witches can make your heart stop but those accused during the witch hunt trials in New England looked more bewitching than evil and some even admitted to their dark practices.
Terry: Mary Dalton actually confessed to having familiarity with the Devil. She said she was going about her chores and she had had enough. She told the Devil to take this and he appeared to her and offered to clear all the ashes from the fireplace. First, she was publicly whipped. She has to come back to Wethersfield a month later, be whipped again and then she is finally executed.
Rhianne: But many others were falsely accused.
Terry: Fortunately in the case of Catherine Harrison, we have a lot of information about the accusations that were made against her.
Rhianne: And they’re pretty crazy.
Terry: They are, you’re correct. For one thing, there was a gentleman who said that it was all her fault that he cut two different colored cloths in order to make his breaches.
Rhianne: And while the Wicked Witch of the West certainly makes for a better scare than Glenda the Good Witch, it’s the history behind the witches that’s truly spooky. So check around and discover the haunting history of your town. For Better, I’m Rhianne.
Host: Alright, you can also head to your library to learn some spooky local lore as well.
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