In 1692, 14 women and 6 men were accused of being witches, were tried, convicted, and executed. Executions took place on June 10, July 19, August 19, September 19 and September 22, 1692. To this day, the events of 1692 are used as a yardstick to measure the depth of civility and due process in our society.
The Witch Trials Memorial was dedicated by Nobel Laureate Elie Wiesel in August 1992 as part of the Salem Witch Trials TerCentenary. The design was selected in a international competition that received 246 entries. The winning design by Maggie Smith and James Cutler was inspired by the Vietnam Memorial.
The Memorial consists of 20 granite benches cantilevered from a low stone wall surrounding an area adjoining the Old Burying Point. The benches are inscribed with the name of the accused and the means and date of execution.
“I am no witch.
I am innocent.
I know nothing of it.”
“If it was the last moment I was to live, God knows I am innocent…”
“I have no hand in witchcraft.”
“Oh Lord, help me! It is false. I am clear. For my life now lies in your hands….”
“Ye are all against me…”
“If it be possible no more innocent
blood be shed…
…I am clear of this sin.”