Archiver > QUEBEC-RESEARCH > 2004-04 > 1081542320

Subject: Excerpt Of History
Date: Fri, 9 Apr 2004 16:25:20 EDT

"Rebecca Ames had been condemned as a witch in Salem, in 1692. She escaped
the hangman's noose, only because the governor released all condemned witches
from jail in the Spring of 1693, but she had languished too long in Salem's
Witch Dungeon and was never well, physically or mentally, for the rest of her
life. The Ames family could not forgive Thomas Perley, a neighbour and the
captain of the jury at the witch trial. It was Perley, they said, who condemned
poor Rebecca. Yet, when over half a century had passed, the families of Ames and
Perley forgot their differences, John Ames of Boxford, Rebecca's grandson,
married Ruth Perley of Topsfield, Thomas Perley's granddaughter. After a few
years of what seemed to be a happy marriage, Ruth Perley Ames was found dead in
her home. The doctor had thought she had been poisoned. Her husband was arrested
on the charge of murder, and Johns mother was accused of being an accessory.
There not being any substantial evidence that John Ames had poisoned his wife,
was asked to undergo the "ordeal of touch." If he refused, the jury would
probably decide that his reluctance was due to guilt. If he touched the corpse of
his wife and she bled, he would be hanged as a murderer, and if she didn't
bleed, he like his grandmother before him, would be accused of being a wizard,
with the undeniable power of touch. John was damned if he did and damned if he
didn't. His attorney, however intervened, refusing to allow his client to
touch the body. The attorney accused the Salem Court of, "black arts witchcraft."
He then successfully defended John Ames, who, with his mother, was allowed to
go free. Thus ended the power of witchcraft in Salem, 77 years after the 1692

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