Regarding Witches and Ghosts
"Today we will be studying the Salem Witch Trials," Mr. Lancer announced to our class. I perked up, finally, after all of his boring droning on, we could finally work on something interesting…or at least interesting to me, after all I am the Goth girl.
"Now," Mr. Lancer continued, "You will each draw a subject out of this hat and will do a report as well as some kind of visual presentation of this person and their life in the 1600's." Mr. Lancer came to me with the hat, I reached in, fishing around through the little tabs of paper before I finally pulled on out. I unfolded the little slip of paper and read the name that had been typed on it: Bridget Bishop.
After school, I was actually excited to get started on this assignment, while Danny and Tucker groaned as we walked home together. Personally, I think the only reason Tucker was grumbling about the assignment was because he still resented the fact that he had to eat the blood blossoms when we accidentally ended up in Salem when we took a little detour through the ghost zone (now I wish we could have stayed a little longer and maybe asked our research topics some questions, but unfortunately, with the ghost zone always changing, that would be impossible now.)
"Who did you get?" Tucker asked Danny.
"George Burroughs?" he stated more like a question, "What about you?"
"Samuel Wardwell," he replied, shrugging.
"What about you Sam?" Danny asked.
"Bridget Bishop," I told them. Finally, we stopped in front of my house and I said goodbye to my two best friends and Danny gave me a little peck on the cheek, before I ran up the stairs to my front door and went inside.
At my computer, I typed in Bridget's name and was immediately bombarded with 4,570,000 results. I sighed loudly and clicked on the first site that came up. After reading a little bit about Bridget, I found it easy to relate to her. Like me, we were both individuals, who were not respected for our originality, not to mention we both shared the same dislike of authority. Bridget stood out like a sore thumb in the 1600's with her multiple marriages, her tendency to wear a lot of red (which was considered the color of the devil back then, much like my Goth clothes are considered today). Of course, I couldn't help but wonder if Bridget actually was a witch, or if she was just someone that society wanted to dispose of.
What I found the most interesting was that in one of her marriages Bridget had had a daughter named Christian who had married a man with the last name of Manson, exactly like my last name. There were few pictures of Bridget online, and even fewer that could actually be considered accurate, but I noticed that we both had dark hair and a similar facial structure, but more than anything, she looked like my grandmother.
So, I decided to ask my grandma about our heritage to see if were actually were related to Bridget Bishop.
"Yes," my grandmother laughed, "we are most definitely related to the infamous Bridget Bishop. The stories have been passed down for many generations," she told me. I understood why I had never heard any of these stories, my parents, being the rich, snooty people that they are, would never have told me such a thing (they already believed I was rotten to the core, throw in the fact that we are descended from someone who might be a witch…well, it makes sense why they didn't tell me).
"What stories?" I asked tentatively.
My grandmother smiled warmly, "I'll tell you the one that my grandmother often told me, the day of Bridget's execution."
"The town of Salem were very closed-minded people, they only believed the testimonies of those who were high in the church or in the courts, of course, back then, there was really no distinguishing between the two. Bridget was different, she liked to stand out, especially if it got on some people's nerves, much like you, Dear. Anyway, she owned the local tavern and worked as a bar maid in it. One day, the court officials showed up at the tavern and arrested her. The night before her trial, she sat in jail, when her daughter Christian, who couldn't have been more than your age at the time. Through the window of the jail cell, Bridget told her daughter to leave town so that she would not suffer the same unavoidable fate as her mother. You see, the courts often targeted the families of the accused as well. So that night, Christian left Salem and moved to a small village outside of the city. Many years after the trial, she returned, but now she was married and no one made the connection between her and her mother, and thus the Bishop line was able to continue," she told me.
"Wow," was all I could say.
My grandmother chuckled, "Well, I think that's all for now, we wouldn't want your parents to think I was poisoning your young mind with these tales of witchcraft, now would we," she winked.
This time I laughed. "Grandma?" I asked a few minutes later.
"Yes, Dear?" she replied.
"Do you think she actually was a witch?" I wondered.
My grandmother shook her head, "I'm sorry Sam, I don't know, I believe those secrets lie in the grave with Bridget herself."
I nodded, "Thanks Grandma," I told her before we departed and I went back upstairs to my bedroom. I hadn't realized it had already gotten so late until I saw the black sky outside. I sighed, getting undressed and ready for bed.
'Hmm,' I pondered right before I fell asleep, 'I wonder if we have any artifacts in the attic that would prove whether Bridget was a witch or not.' I closed my eyes and made a plan, tomorrow, while my parents were out of the house, I would go look in the attic.