Stirring Curiosity, Not a Cauldron

Imagine living in a most tempestuous time. A period when hysteria rose to, and surpassed, a fevered pitch. Resulted in a din that swelled over the seaboard and blanketed surrounding communities. Blame it all on jealousy and resentment? Perhaps on the fact a woman who lived in the farthest cottage was comelier than you? That sexual curiosity spurred experimentation more than most cared to admit?

By now you may have guessed the point in time most piquing my interest is that when innocent villagers were accused of casting spells, cavorting with evil and bringing ruination upon their Puritan neighbors. My fascination and quest to discover the root of this discontent goes back to my teen years. One of the classics I’ve most enjoyed reading is THE SCARLET LETTER by Nathaniel Hawthorne. Of course his great-grandfather, Colonel John Hathorne, presided over The Salem Witch Trials.

I’ve often pondered how I would have dealt with the blow of wagging tongues and pointing forefingers casting me as a witch? As someone deemed improper and in league with the Devil? As a woman who’s always embraced Freedom of Speech, and believed a person is innocent until proven guilty--even though these blessings weren't in evidence back then--I would have likely bitten my tongue in two while fighting the urge to air my defense against such aspersions. The very moment I would have dared act as my own counsel, such temerity and strong will would have branded me a sinner—one of those who dabbled in potions, saw yellow birds and dreamed of things a proper woman wouldn’t.

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On visits to Salem, Massachusetts, I’ve delighted in conducting historical research and admiring the architectural splendor of a town so richly steeped in history and mystery. I don’t hold to the notion hags ever stirred bubbling cauldrons brimming with Eye of Newt, snakes and other sundry items from Satan’s kingdom. Certainly some fashioned candles from hog fat and churned butter. Some stirred bowls of stew. But witches wearing billowing capes and pointed black hats are not what I’ve envisioned.

Human nature is something great minds strive to explain. A fungal infestation of rye may have affected the behavior of the young women who fell into fits in the courtroom. As well, we must realize these women, these spastic accusers, were of an impressionable age. An age when they were sexually developing and curious as to the ways between men and women. I’m of the belief bundling boards were ineffective barriers when a sexually aroused man and woman were lying in the same bed. Sexual indiscretions and unwed mothers happened in Salem Village of yore. And were these young women tempted and taught more than their school and church lessons?

What really sparked those seasons of discontent in the sleepy village of Salem? I’ve written two stories that explore the “witch” lore and legend—one is a historical erotica romance, the other is a contemporary erotica romance. A third tale is plotted. Those of you who’ve read HELLE IN HEELS and my latest erotica romance, TO HELLE AND BACK AGAIN, will know of my fictional nod to the time period about which I’ve blogged today.

To Hellé and Back Again medium

HELLE is damned if she does and damned if she doesn't...

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Here’s wishing you all many happy reading and researching moments…

Shawna Moore
TO HELLE AND BACK AGAIN -- Ellora's Cave Exotika
TORMENTED -- EC (Recommended Read at and Dark Angel Reviews)
ROUGHRIDER -- Ellora's Cave Exotika
HELLE IN HEELS -- Ellora's Cave Exotika

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Nicole North said...

Excellent post! I find the Salem witch trials and the history surrounding them fascinating... but tragic!

Carol Ericson said...

Shawna, I loved Salem. We followed that "black line" tour of Salem, where we followed the black line on the sidwalk around town past all the tourist destinations. The museum where the witchcraft trials were reenacted was cool.

ShawnaMoore said...

Hi, Nicole!

I agree; the outcome of those trials was quite sorrowful. How jealousy and ignorance can cause such suffering and strife is mind boggling.

Hope you have a great week--one filled with happiness :)


ShawnaMoore said...

Hi, Carol!

Salem tours are awesome! I'm a huge fan of reenactments and any historically-geared presentations. Each visit brings new sightings and historical details for my travel journals :) Glad to hear you also enjoyed your trip to Salem :)

Happy week wishes!