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Pickering House: Behind the Devil's Shield: Counter-Magic in Early New England

  • Pickering House 18 Broad Street Salem, MA, 01970 United States (map)
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Early New England ministers took a hard line against the practice of magic. All magic, whether harmful or beneficial in intention, was believed to be demonic. The archaeological, architectural, and documentary records show us that things weren't so black and white for their congregations. This lecture will explore evidence for the practice of protective counter-magic in seventeenth and eighteenth-century New England, including witch bottles, deliberate concealments, and ritual marks on historic timber, a few right here in Salem, Massachusetts! 

Alyssa G. A. Conary is a burgeoning historian & writer, a museum professional, and a candidate for the MA in History at Salem State University. In 2015, she co-founded the Salem Historical Society with a group of museum colleagues and is currently serving as the President of the organization's Board of Trustees. Alyssa's main areas of historical interest are witchcraft & apotropaia, medieval & early modern England, and colonial New England. She lives in Salem with her husband and their three cats and enjoys traveling and singing jazz.