Historian Explores Witchcraft in Virginia

Salem, Massachusetts is known nationwide for its “witch trials” in the late 1600s, when people were persecuted for having suspected supernatural powers.

But a lot of people don’t know that the same phenomenon was happening in Colonial Virginia. The colonists there shared Salem’s general belief in the supernatural, and in the existence of witches. In fact, several witchcraft inquiries took place in Virginia between 1626 and 1730.

Historian Carson Hudson, of the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation, will speak about witchcraft in Colonial Virginia at Historic St. Luke’s Church in Smithfield, on March 3 at 1:00 p.m.

Hudson is the author of “These Detestable Slaves of the Devil,” and he aims to set the record straight about witchcraft persecution in early Virginia. Hudson also wrote Colonial Williamsburg’s popular evening show, “Cry Witch,” which allows the audience to help decide whether an accused witch is guilty. It’s based on the real case of Grace Sherwood, a natural healer who was put to “trial by water” in Pungo, now part of Virginia Beach.

Tickets for the lecture are being sold in advance for $15, including light refreshments. To buy online, click here. Hudson’s book will be available for sale.