SALEM, Mass. (WBZ NewsRadio) — 330 years after the Salem witch trials, someone claiming to be a descendant of one accuser wrote a letter apologizing.
"I'm so sorry my eighth great uncle accused you and had you hung for witchcraft all over a property dispute," the letter read.
The letter writer said they were a descendant of Benjamin Abbot, the man who accused Martha Carrier of being a witch in 1692 ultimately leading to her death. In his testimony, he claimed that Carrier cursed him with witchcraft after a property dispute, causing him to get sick. Abbot's wife agreed with his testimony saying Carrier also bewitched their cattle causing some of them to die suddenly.
"People are so aware of if you [were] accusers those are the people who are in the wrong, if you were accused you're the innocent ones, and that's of course true but we always like to say there's human shades to all of this," Rachel Christ-Doane, Director of Education at the Salem Witch Museum told WBZ's James Rojas. "It's really interesting seeing people feel guilt on behalf of their ancestors."
Christ-Doane said the note is not surprising since more people are learning about their ancestry and learning of their families' roles in the trial. Descendants from both sides of the trials, both related to the accused and accusers, often talk to each other on the Salem Witch Museum's Facebook page.