Before Salem: The Connecticut Witch Trial Exoneration Project

by Mary Bingham

Everyone is aware that 30 people were wrongfully convicted of the felony of witchcraft at Salem, MA in 1692. Nineteen people were hanged. One man was crushed to death. Five people died in jail. Others escaped the injustice for reasons too lengthy for this story.

Justice eventually came to every one of those 30 people who were convicted. Early in the 1700s, through the loving acts of their family members, most of the attainders were eventually reversed. Their loved ones names were cleared and the government paid restitution towards the immense loss of money and goods suffered by the families.

However, some families did not step forward at that time, most for unknown reasons. This did not deter descendants many generations later to take care of business. In fact, Elizabeth Johnson Jr, the last wrongfully convicted of witchcraft in Salem, was finally cleared in July of 2022. Her story will be told in the forth coming documentary titled “The Last Witch,” linked below:

What is not widely known is that Salem was not the first in the colonies to hang people accused of being witches.

The first person hanged for witchcraft in 1647 was Alse Young of Windsor, Connecticut. Her story is eloquently told in the wonderful book, “One of Windsor, “ authored by my friend, Beth Caruso.

In addition to Alse, 10 others were convicted and hanged for witchcraft, while close to 40 others were accused and suffered various sad fates over a period of 50 years.

Some were so scared, they abandoned their farms fleeing to undisclosed places to escape the inevitable.

Most heart breaking is that NOT ONE of these people has been fully exonerated. This is certainly NOT for lack of effort. Linked below is the story of how Tony Griego and Beth Caruso have tried for years to get this done:

The Connecticut Witchtrial Exoneration Project is a team of dedicated people working with Connecticut State Representative, Jane Garibay to overturn EVERY LAST CONVICTION.

Laws may need to be changed as the Governor of Connecticut does not have the power to overturn convictions and the State Board of Paroles does not currently have a process in place to exonerate the deceased.

Our accomplishments thus far:

Legislative action will be introduced at the State house in Hartford beginning in January of 2023.

Many of our team has been interviewed by news outlets local to the state of Connecticut, and even one newspaper in New York.

We have gathered a large group of descendants willing to speak on behalf of their ancestor/ancestors on a discord channel.

We have started the petition linked below:

Two of our team members, Sarah Jack and Joshua Hutchinson have started a podcast linked below where many interviewed share history of past and present witch hunts. YES, UNJUST WITCH HUNTS STILL HAPPEN TODAY.

Our effort will bring awareness to this traumatic historical event by processing and rectifying the past so that, maybe in some way, no matter how large or small, we might change human behavior.

Our team members are:

Tony Griego

Beth Caruso

Sarah Jack

Joshua Hutchinson

Mary Bingham

You can email us for more information at

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