Trial of George Jacobs

The Devil in the Details: Researching Hysteria, from the Salem Witch Trials to McCarthyism

Unsolved mysteries bug me. I want to solve them. In January of 1692, young Abigail Williams and Betty Parris fell into fits. They convulsed and barked and complained of being bitten and pinched. This kick-started the Salem witch hysteria that left twenty people dead and countless others physically and financially ruined.

What caused Abigail and Betty to sicken in those dark winter days? The Puritans diagnosed bewitchment. Today we find such a diagnosis ridiculous. So were the girls faking it? Read more

The author on a date

Finding myself in History: Dumped Before the Dance

Fall is the season for sweaters, leaf watching, and football games. With football comes Homecoming.

With Homecoming comes the dance and memories of strapless chiffon dresses and lingering kisses and…getting dumped. This trip down memory lane is for all ladies going single to the homecoming dance. Rock on, sisters.

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Dodge Row in the cemetary

Drinking Beer with the Dead

I like to hang out in cemeteries. The older and creepier, the better.

via GIPHY

 

Well, maybe not that creepy.

It’s October—Halloween month—a time when cemeteries get a bad rap. But as a historian and writer, I’d like to offer a view of cemeteries unmaligned. Not only are graveyards where our beloveds rest for eternity, but they’re also where you can find both your historical roots and fodder for your muse. Read more