Debra Avery, a ninth-generation descendant of a woman hanged as a witch in Connecticut, is among those asking the state to pardon their wrongly convicted ancestors. State historian Walter Woodward opposes the request.
Most early settlers were deeply religious and believed strongly that the devil existed and worked through humans, he said. Accusations of witchcraft were taken seriously in the colonies, where settlers lived in fear of disease and attacks by Indians.He's right. I can't imagine living in a world so consumed with fear that a government would surrender common sense and human liberties in a misguided effort to protect the populace from very real dangers. I wonder what that was like.
Witch prosecutors "had the best interests of their communities at heart, he said. They were frightened, but they were not intentionally cruel or evil.
"We live in a different world today, and we look back and see things very differently," he said. "But is it appropriate to make judgments on the past and should we be correcting past judgments?" [Link]