Hello lovelies! I’m super excited to welcome Adriana Mather, author of How To Hang A Witch, to RSR! I was lucky enough to receive an ARC of How To Hang A Witch at BEA this year so I was ecstatic when I was contacted for the tour! So, without further ado (that phrase always tickles me!), help me welcome Adriana Mather!
Wait…that isn’t right is it? O_O
Can you share a little of you research with us? I bet you came across some really cool stuff!
I think I could research the Salem Witch Trials for the next twenty years and still learn new and creepy things. There is just so much richness and complexity there! The best part of the process, though, was visiting Salem. History is woven into the very fabric of the culture there in a way I’ve never seen before. For instance, when Giles Corey was accused of witchcraft in 1692 he refused to plead guilty or not guilty. He was pressed to death over three days and right before he died he supposedly cursed Sheriff Corwin. People say even now that the sheriffs of Salem have always died mysteriously, either of heart attacks or blood disease. Salem is full of tales of historical curses, mysterious murders, and unexplainable happenings. And I (not surprisingly) got myself into all sorts of haunted situations that had me sleeping with the lights on.
In addition to all the atmospheric elements that make Salem, Salem, I learned so many things while doing research for How to Hang a Witch that I had no clue about. Here is a quick list of some of the things I discovered along the way:
1. In the old graveyards there, headstones have skulls with wings on them (including my ancestor Nathanael Mather’s grave in Old Burying Point). Puritans believed that crosses were idolatry and that flying skulls signified a soul leaving a body.
2. The first accusations of witchcraft came from girls who were 9, 11, and 12 years old. The adults around them went very quickly from asking “What is ailing you?” to “Who is ailing you.” Knowing how young these girls were altered my perspective of how the events unfolded in Salem and had me greatly questioning the motives of the adults around them.
3. Salem, MA does Halloween like no other place on earth. They celebrate for the entire month of October and have everything from haunted cruises to wand making.
4. Another tale of spookiness is that apparently just before Sarah Good’s death she said to Rev. Noyes, “God will give you blood to drink.” And sure enough, in 1717 Noyes died from an internal hemorrhage, choking on his own blood.
5. Interestingly, Salem means “peace.”
I now make it a point to go to Salem a few times a year, walk the old brick sideways pushed up by tree roots, and enjoy the ancient architecture. I know my way around so well now that I could have a back up career as a tour guide. Buuut, even I avoid the graveyards in the dark…because you just never know.
GINORMOUS thanks goes out to Adriana and the Random House Team for reaching out to RSR for a tour stop! I’m a giant history lover and the Salem trials are something especially fascinating to me so you can see how this book would pique my interest! Keep your eyes peeled for How To Hang A Witch releasing July 26th!