The United States community where 20 people suspected of witchcraft were put to death in 1692 have unveiled a memorial to 19 of those victims.
The ceremony on Wednesday (yesterday NZ time) was 325 years to the day when Sarah Good, Elizabeth Howe, Susannah Martin, Rebecca Nurse and Sarah Wildes were hanged at a site in Salem, Massachusetts, known as Proctor’s Ledge.
It was the first of three mass hangings at the spot. The 20th victim was crushed to death.
“We should not be here commemorating the heartbreaking and tragic loss of life. It did not need to happen,” the Reverend Jeff Barz-Snell, minister at the Unitarian Universalist First Church in Salem, said.
“So we are here to remember, to resolve, to rededicate.”
The stone wall memorial is inscribed with the names of the people hanged at the site, which is now in a residential neighbourhood.
Descendants of the victims were in attendance, including Jeffrey Stark, a relative of Susannah Martin.
“It’s a welcoming feeling that they put this memorial up and they have recognised the mistake that was made here in Salem back in 1692,” Stark said. AP