BOSTON — The last Salem “witch” who wasn’t has been pardoned after 329 years.
The Associated Press says Massachusetts lawmakers Thursday formerly pardoned Elizabeth Johnson Jr., 329 years after she was convicted of witchcraft back in 1693. She was sentenced to death during the Salem Witch Trials.
It was learned that Johnson was never executed but she was also never pardoned as were others who were wrongfully convicted, according to the AP. The then-Gov. William Phips threw out her punishment due to a believed miscarriage of justice.
Starting in 1692, 20 people from Salem and nearby towns were killed, and hundreds of people were accused of witchcraft due to superstition, fear of disease and strangers, a form of scapegoating, and other jealousies, the AP says. 19 of the 20 who were killed were hanged, and the other one was crushed to death by rocks.
Lawmakers agreed last year to reconsider her case after an eighth-grade civics class took interest in her cause and even researched the legislative steps that were needed to clear her name, the AP says. Sen. Diana DiZoglio introduced the legislation along with a budget bill and it was approved.
The AP says Johnson, 22, was the last accused witch to be cleared, according to the Witches of Massachusetts Bay. Part of the reason that it is believed it took so long was that Johnson never had any children or any other descendants to clear her name.
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