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CANCELLED: In the Blood, the Essence of Stars – Herbal Remedies, Magic and Science in 17th Century New England

October 13, 2022 @ 5:30 pm - 6:30 pm


Unfortunately, due to a last minute conflict, the speaker for our October 13th witchcraft lecture, In the Blood: The Essence of Stars, Herbal Remedies, Magic and Science in 17th Century New England, is unable to present this program. Please join us for our November 17th Zoom talk “A Tempest in a Teapot” about the Dorr Rebellion.

In the Fall of 2021, downtown Newport was abuzz with the filming of Hocus Pocus 2. Washington Square was transformed into a 1990s film set and photos of three witches from 17th century Salem, MA (who were then in Newport) were flying around social media. While the film is entirely fictitious, elements were drawn from history which leads one to wonder about the relationship between herbalism and witchcraft in 17th century New England. On Thursday October 13, 2022 at 5:30pm, the Newport Historical Society will host public historian Kristin Harris for the talk In the Blood, the Essence of Stars: Herbal Remedies, Magic and Science in 17th Century New England.

A common misconception in the study of 17th century witchcraft accusations is that all herbal remedies were seen as taboo, and a form of malefic magic, resulting in the persecution of individuals using these as a form of folk medicine. But a closer look at the slow separation of superstition and science tells us that those of English descent, especially the Puritans, were anything but separate from magic and ritual, and that herbal medicines, while being a cultural norm, were a form of magic in themselves. Kristin Harris will explore the intersection of 17th century herbal medicine, magic, and science to help dispel the myths surrounding witchcraft accusation, and gain a deeper understanding of the joining of magic and science in Puritan culture.

Kristin Harris is a Historian and Podcast Host from Salem, Massachusetts with an B.A. in Early American History from Penn State University and an M.A. in American Studies from UMass Boston, specializing in studying the role of the paranormal, death culture, and folklore and its effects on popular media. Kristin has been a public historian for many years, first starting her career working at the Witch House, and the 1630 Pioneer Village in Salem as a tour guide for both, as well as presenting public history and ghost tours in Salem. Kristin also specializes in the history of the Salem Witch Trials, and has consulted on exhibit material and community events for the Peabody Essex Museum and other local historical sites, and occasionally gives history walking tours with Bewitched After Dark, a company specializing in the history of the witch trials Currently, Kristin works as both the Research Coordinator at the Boston Tea Party Ships & Museum, and the Dramaturg and Historian for Intramersive Media LLC, focusing on the use of folklore and history to creative immersive theatrical productions.


October 13, 2022
5:30 pm - 6:30 pm
Event Category:


NHS Resource Center
82 Touro Street
Newport, RI 02840


Newport Historical Society