The Salem witchcraft trials of 1692 are well-kwn. However, the trials that took place in Fairfield during the same time are more typical of how seventeenth-century New Englanders responded to fears of witchcraft. About a quarter of witchcraft prosecutions resulted in conviction and execution, as most testimony given at these trials did t meet the standards set by legal and religious authorities. Unlike the witchcraft trials that spun out of control in Salem, the trials that took place in Fairfield at the same time proceeded with caution. The colony's leaders were careful about what kinds of evidence could be used to render a guilty verdict, and committed to ensuring that the accused received due process of law. In the final chapter of Connecticut's witchcraft proceedings, two women were tried for witchcraft, but neither was executed. This book reproduces the artwork that Jakob Crane created for the exhibition Accused: Fairfield's Witchcraft Trials, which was on view at the Fairfield Museum and History Center from September 2014 through January 2015. Crane's artwork and visual retelling of Fairfield's witchcraft history invites you to look at these events through the eyes of those who lived through them: the men and women who feared they were being harmed by witchcraft, the women who became the targets of accusations, and the leaders and court officials who carried out the legal proceedings. Crane's creative narrative allows us to learn more about the complex and fascinating history of witchcraft prosecutions in colonial New England.
Jakob Crane is a writer and visual artist who is native to New England. After graduating from the Lesley University College of Art and Design, Crane worked as a writer and illustrator for numerous newspapers and publications throughout New England. He is the author of the graphic novel Lies in the Dust: A Tale of Remorse from Salem (2014). For further updates and writing, please visit www.cranestuff.wordpress.com