Bill Handel

Bill Handel

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Falsely Accused Salem Witch Receives a Pardon Over 300 Years Later

More than 329 years after being sentenced to death for practicing witchcraft, Salem woman Elizabeth Johnson Jr. has been officially pardoned by Massachusetts lawmakers.

Johnson was the last "witch" to be sentenced in the infamous Salem Witch Trials and while she was never executed, she was also never pardoned like others falsely accused of witchcraft.

At least twenty people in Salem and neighboring towns were killed and hundreds of others were accused of being witches.

Johnson was only 22 when she was accused and only escaped her punishment when the magnitude of the hysteria really began to sink in for people.

Over the years, many people were officially cleared of the "crime", but for some unknown reason Johnson seemed to fall through the cracks.

Her case was only reconsidered three centuries later thanks to the curiosity of an eighth-grade civics class at North Andover Middle School who researched steps needed to clear Johnson's name.

From there, state Senator Diana DiZoglio introduced the legislation that got Johnson her pardon.

"We will never be able to change what happened to victims like Elizabeth but at the very least can set the record straight."

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