October 2021 Church & State Magazine | AU Bulletin

A group of eighth-grade students at North Andover Middle School in Massachusetts is spearheading an effort to secure an official pardon for a woman accused of being a witch during Salem’s notorious 1692 witch trials.

Elizabeth Johnson Jr. was accused of witchcraft and found guilty, but the hysteria ended before she could be executed. In modern times, most of the accused were officially cleared and pardoned, but Johnson, who had no descendants, was overlooked.

State Sen. Diana DiZoglio (D-Methuen) introduced legislation to clear Johnson’s name. DiZoglio says she was impressed with the work on Johnson’s case done by the class of civics teacher Carrie LaPierre.

“It is important that we work to correct history,” DiZoglio told the Associated Press (AP). “We will never be able to change what happened to these victims, but at the very least, we can set the record straight.”

The AP reported that if DiZoglio’s bill is approved, Johnson will be the last accused witch to be cleared.

During the witchcraft hysteria, hundreds of people from Salem and surrounding areas were falsely accused of witchcraft. Nineteen were hanged, and one man was crushed to death under boulders.