Learn about the witch and pirate trials in Colonial Williamsburg at the SCV Senior Center

The SCV Senior Center Dan Watson/The Signal

Continuing its scholar series, the SCV Senior Center will focus its next historical presentation on colonial Williamsburg and witches on Oct. 31.

Presented by Lissa Brassfield, a College of the Canyons professor, the discussion will take a look at the witch and pirate trials held in Williamsburg, Virginia, when it was a British colony.

The idea originated from a recent trip Brassfield took to the former colonial capitol, she said. After speaking with the Senior Center’s volunteer and recreation coordinator Robin Clough, the decision was made for the next presentation’s subject matter.

“This was where George Washington, Thomas Jefferson and James Madison went to the House of Burgesses,” Brassfield said.

Williamsburg today is known for its 18th century setting and period attire, which attracts visitors from around the world. Yet, many still want to hear about the connection to witchcraft.

Centuries ago, the charge of witchcraft was a life-threatening offense in the colonies, made famous by the trials in Salem, Massachusetts. “It’s almost unbelievable to us, not just in colonial America,” Brassfield said. “Generations before believed (witches) could exist.”

Along with witchcraft, Brassfield intends to speak about the charge of piracy in the colonial era, particularly the fates of pirates under the command of Blackbeard.

As with prior scholar series presentations, Brassfield will be sharing discussions with Senior Center residents. While the previous presentation, which focused on Robert F. Kennedy, which brought up memories of his brother’s presidency and their assassinations, Brassfield said she is “not sure what the feedback will be, but it will be very interesting.”

Comparisons to similar moments in recent United States history — such as the communist trials of Sen. Joseph McCarthy — might possibly be brought up, she said.

The presentation will take place from 10-11 a.m. in rooms A1 and A2 of the Santa Clarita Senior Center on 22900 Market St. There is no charge and it is open to public.

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