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Episode 163: Persistence

2021-02-01 | 🔗

It should come as no surprise that one of humanity’s greatest qualities is also the tool with which it has committed much darker tragedies. Even far from the wilds of the Old World, that legacy was never far behind.


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This is an unofficial transcript meant for reference. Accuracy is not guaranteed.
Sometimes our best just isn't good enough. I have a feeling we can all relate to that, whether it's a test in school are performance on a new work projects or a relationship. That's not working out. Sometimes we try and fail Take the ancient egyptian Pharaoh: never he ruled over his kingdom around twenty six hundred BC and like a lot of the rulers of his era, he wanted to build. He was interested in breaking new ground, doing fresh things and setting higher benchmarks and for him that meant mastering the pyramid.
His first attempt is known as the maiden pyramid he had seen. What does he had tried to build at Sakharov? What archaeologist today call the step pyramid and wanted to improve upon it, but it seems the structure was never fully completed. A second attempt is known as the bent pyramid for a very obvious reason: it's much more smooth in its construction with the large steps replaced with continuous sides, but you can't miss how the angle of those sites changes about halfway up, it's almost as if snuffers realised that he bitten off a bit more than he could shoe and became less ambitious. Thus, the pyramid
looks blunted as if someone had squashed it a bit, but on his last pyramid you seem to have nailed it. While it is in his tall as the great pyramid, the Red Pyramid has the same classic shape. It looks like a pyramid, which is what he'd been aiming for all those years. I just took him a while to figure it out. Humans are tenacious creatures. We exist because we adapt, we make mistakes, learn from them and then try again all of our greatest accomplishments and inventions are a result of that tenacity. The written language, a light, bulb space travel. We people are a lot of things but persistent as at the top of the list, but every quality has a darker side. Yes, our refusal to give up might have empowered our growth as a species, but
also driven us to do things that aren't as easy to brag about, because sometimes that persistence as turned us into monsters, I'm Aaron Monkey- and this is lore. Like all of us, William and Elizabeth had been looking for a better life. He was a craftsman whose specialised in making shoes, while his wife work a midwife. Having already had ten children of their own Elizabeth had seen it all and had a passion for helping others in her community, but are always greener pastures Arthur so in sixteen forty five, the fair packed up and move west and by Last I mean they left their home in England and sailed to the new world arriving, region north of Boston. Less than
Your later, they were granted for acres of land in the community of Newbury, just a stone's throw from the Bank of the Merrimac River Elizabeth was thirty years old at the time, with a lot of experience behind her, but so much more ahead. And just like back home in England. She settled in to take care of her family and serve the needs of her neighbours. Midwives often meant the difference between life and death for pregnant mothers and their newborns, and they also took care of their elements. I can't imagine anyone in town complaining about their arrival three decades, nerve, it's easy to imagine. Elizabeth and William as fixtures in Newbury, their children grew up, started families of their own and life flew by, but two things happen in November of sixteen seventy nine that up ended their peaceful home first one of their grandsons came back to live with them. I can't find the reason why, although perhaps his parents had passed away, This was a lot more brutal back then, and life was harsh so
her grandson John moved into their empty nest, and that's when the second thing started to happen. The day after he arrived allowed, knocking began on the outside of the house. Will you and Elizabeth now, in their early sixties, rushed to the window to pick out and see who it might be, but no one was there, despite that rocks began to help them through the open window or seen them back into the house. The day after that, William placed one of his leather working tools and all in the cupboard where it belongs. a moment later, a sound rattled down the chimney and an object scattered to a halt at the base of the fireplace it was, the all out had gotten. There was a mystery, but William shook his head and put it back in the cupboard a moment later. It happened again, the next day, more unexplainable, disturbances, stones and small branches fell down the chimney interrupting the families meal the day after that,
it happened again and the day after that, two only this time they had company over, including one of the local ministers, Mr Richardson than one of Williams, own brothers, and these newcomers backed up the families, claims More alarming the match, their grandson John, was said to have experienced fits of unusual behaviour at one point. He barked like a dog as if controlled by an unseen force, then as the disturbances and odd experiences continued into early December. William and Elizabeth Morse only became more and more desperate as far as they were concerned. What was happening wasn't natural. It was supernatural otherworldly and proof that a dark power had targeted their home and so a hearing was. Hold together to listen to the evidence and discuss what might be done and their conclusion. They decided that William and Elizabeth Home was under attack by their closest neighbour, a man named Caleb Power. No, he,
since standing outside their house, throwing stones and knocking on boards, and no, he wasn't perched on their roof. Dropping stolen tools down the chimney, Caleb Powell they claimed. Was a wizard and while they might have been frightened, they also knew exactly what to do. Power was to be arrested and put on trial, and then all their problems would go away, but, like so many things in life, this plan and one fatal flaw. It was so much easier said than on The question was why what was it about?
Hey look Powell that drew the suspicion of the community the well like most things in life. It was both complicated and incredibly simple. First power had recently had some sort of argument with William and Elizabeth more during that weakened of November, when all of the unusual things were happening in their home word about it, spread throughout town and Caleb Power, being their closest neighbour decided to pay them a visit. His reason was actually very. charitable. He knew that they were older and had recently taken on the care of the grand son John and that must have made it more difficult to deal with their troublesome mystery. So he walked over to their house. Hoping to offer care for the boy, he would house him and put him to work free in the Morse household up to handle more pressing matters. It was a common thing to do. Actually many families did what was called lending out children, but, most of the time it was a young family with able bodied, kids sending them to the home of an elderly farmer.
provide extra hands in the field or around the house, but here it was a man offering to take a child off the hands of an elderly couple in order to grant them a bit of peace. But when he arrived I ve never had a chance to ask. He found the family in prayer visible through the window from where he stood outside and as he glanced in, he witnessed something else too. While the elder couple had their heads bout imply, their grandson, John tossed issue at William and then closed his eyes and pretended it wasn't him. One would think this was good news. Power had proof that the mysterious disturbances in the house were most likely. The work of a board child, but William and Elizabeth didn't want to hear it. So they sent him away, in bad blood between them. The second reason Caleb Paul was suspected was more complex for a very long time. English folk and their descendants who colonized the new world had a deep suspicion of any
that smacked of witchcraft. There were the obvious things for sure, like muttered, curses or books of magic, but the world of forbidden also included some things that you and I might be surprised by it- turns out. The power was more than just a farmer. He had bragged for years about some of the education. He had received two topics in particular in fact astronomy and astrology. No, he hadn't set up shop in town to offer services with that knowledge, but he also didn't have the common sense to keep it to himself again were talking about english settlers. This is a culture that just a century before arrested a man named John D, the man would go on to be one of Queen Elizabeth, most trusted advisers and his crime calculating. the words even a subject like math was viewed as a potential gateway for the devil. So maybe pall should have kept his astrology to himself. and there you go William and Elizabeth Morse had a grudge against Caleb Power, a man who
a drag for years about his unusual education, of course he was a wizard right, so he was arrested in March of one thousand six hundred and eighty and. Put on trial. The jury heard all the testimony allowed Powell to defend himself with his own explanations and then retired, to discuss the case. The verdict they reached was accomplished had won. The jury agreed that they didn't have enough solid evidence to convict the man of a serious crime, which is amiss, seen when you remember that this took place just twelve years before the Salem, which drives a town just twenty five miles south of Newburyport, and yet they couldn't convict Powell on charges of witchcraft. They did, however, agree that Powell has earned his neighbors anger, and so they ordered him to pay the cost to the trial and then set him free. I can't find record of the amount of that fine, but it had to have stung, especially since it all started with charity on his part.
given the world, he lived in its clear that he's lucky he escaped with his life. Fine paid Powell was released, but if any one in town expected the unusual occurrences to go away now that the trial was over, they were going to be very disappointed. In fact, everything was about to get worse. you wouldn't nice. If Caleb Powell had been right. After all, he had claimed to see the grandson throw a shoe and William. It should have been safe to assume that the boy was behind all the other disturbances as well, but assuming is never safe. Is it instead, after Caleb Powell walk free, those disturbances continued, but they also spread farther than the Morse home, making it less and less
likely that the grand son was the one responsible and the things that started happening were also more difficult to blame on a boy throwing things when no one was looking some of Claims came from local farmers, insisting their livestock had been bewitched. Jonathan Haines told me Ortiz that his oxen had mysteriously refused to do any work, and Joseph Bailey told friends that his cows stood still as statues in the field and wouldn't move rusty, Yes, but easy for our modern minds to dismiss more difficult to explain was the sudden optic in sickness throughout the community Elizabeth Morse, being a midwife with decades of experience, was called to most of them to offer whatever care and advice she could, but that's when the death started and with them a rise in suspicions. After all, those deaths were only happening in the homes that were.
it is by Elizabeth, the Ordway family was one of the first to experience loss when their infant suddenly passed away. So too did a child from the Goodwin House local woman. Mrs Chandler also became ill, but after a visit from Elisabeth Morse, she took a turn for the worse and then she did something very odd. She nailed a horse you on the outside of her house directly over the door as counter magic to prevent the midwife from returning and at work Soon enough, the rumours began to draw from a more fantastic well. John gliding claimed that he saw Elizabeth at two o clock in the afternoon as plain is day, but only her top half just sort of hovering over his property. John Chase swore that he watched Elizabeth enter his house in the middle of the night by climbing in through the keyhole one man. Jonathan Woodman was so spooked by the sight of a blue
Cat one day that he struck it with his walking stick later on, he learned that the local doktor was called to the Morse House. To treat Elizabeth for an injury was proof enough for most people a black cat had either been her familiar or Elizabeth herself in her animal form All of these accusations added up to an easy arrest warrant. Elizabeth was taken into custody by the authorities and a trial was organized a short while later many of those nay who had reported unusual things showed up to repeat those claims for the record and that list of witnesses included and unexpected name. Elizabeth husband, William now it would be easy to assume that he turned on her. That sort of betrayal happened all too often in which trout throughout Europe
but from what I can tell, it seems more likely that he had been asked to come to the trial and tell everyone about those original disturbances from the previous November. It was the court and not William, who tried their best to connect them to Elizabeth Given all the testimony, the trial was brief and laser focused on May twenty seven Elizabeth Morse was given her sentence by the Governor Elizabeth. You are to go from, hence to the place from which you come and thence to the place of execution and there be hanged by the neck till you be dead in the Lord have mercy on your saw a week later, though In a sudden change of mind, the governor issued a reprieve, they would keep her in jail, but look over the. since, once more with less of a hurry and that William Morris a chance to start working on his wife's freedom. He began to petition the governor over and over for her release to Williams credits. He never gave up
over the course of a year between her arrest in May of one thousand six hundred and eighty and the following spring? He returned time and time again to the governor begging for her to be set free and finally, in the middle of one thousand, six hundred and eighty one, it happened. Well, sort of Elizabeth Morris was set free and her execution was cancelled, and all of that is good news, but for the rest of her life, ordered to be on house arrest. Specifically, she could not travel more than sixteen rods or about two hundred and sixty four feet from her own home without the escort of a pastor or a deacon from church, but at least she was home. She had survived extended period of time in jail in an era when many people died from the horrible conditions there jails in the late. Sixteen hundreds were not very comfortable and when
There is in New England were just as harsh back then as they are today. It's easy to forget that twenty percent of the people who died during the sale in which trials weren't executed, but simply killed by their time behind bars, so Elizabeth Survival is in, Unexpected triumph but that joy was short, lived less two years after securing her freedom. Her husband, William, passed away Elizabeth would go to live another seven years. Finally, passing away in sixteen ninety and today her mark can still be felt in town the area of Newberry that they lived in was closest to the river and in one thousand seven hundred and sixty four, it became its own town Newburyport and if you visit Newburyport today, there's a plaque near their old property. Close to a busy Starbucks that tells anyone passing by about her tragic story and the message on her gravestone
adds a layer of emotion, especially for a woman who spent her final years, living as a prisoner inside her own home convicted as a which by her community may she rest in peace beyond these was, if you spend a bit of time, reading about history, one thing becomes clear: humans, dont know when to quit. Most of the time, that's work to our food, but every now and then our refusal to give up has driven us to do some unspeakable things for Caleb Powell and Elizabeth Morse. The tenacity of their community was a curse. First, they try to convict pall as a wizard, but the weakness of the evidence failed to do the job
So then they moved on to put Elizabeth under the microscope and found much more solid ground well solid. As far as they were concerned. I suppose it's ye to look back and events like this over three centuries later and shake our heads. There was so much fantasy, so much superstition and so much willingness to sacrifice human lives for a little peace of mind, but like it or not, this was how their world operated. All we can hope is that we spend those three centuries becoming better human beings. Thankfully, the community wasn't the only player in this drama, with a bit of persistence. Elizabeth husband showed his own incredible tenacity through it all, even after being forced to testify against her. He fought tireless to win her freedom, because he knew just how ridiculous her alleged crimes really were. William personally reviewed all the testimony from her trial and found ways to point out flaws in those stories even reached.
to local ministers, asking them to be character, witnesses and Elizabeth Behalf, one of those men, does it turns out was John Hail from the nearby town of Beverly varies named John Hale, who would be pulled into the Salem trials a decade later, persistence dragged her into tragedy and it also pulled her out, but there is one final bit of the story that I find absolutely fascinating and it has to do with the sick woman mentioned a few moments ago. The one history remembers only as MRS Chandler, because her story didn't end with that horse. You remember World of witchcraft was fairly nuanced. Yes, there were practices. That everyone agreed were fully evil like the witches Sabbath or deals with the Devil but there were other areas of magic that people were more comfortable with counter magic and the horse. You was one of those traditions. It was believed that, if a which was bothering you all it took, was a horse, you hanging over the entrance to your home to keep the witch away. The idea dates back.
The tenth century legend about a blacksmith named Dunstan who removed a horseshoe from the devil's own foot as payment for his services. Dunstan was promised that the devil would never enter a home with the horseshoe nailed to the door frame. Mrs Chandler, after realising that Elizabeth Visit made her more sick, had simply followed that tradition and, as I said before, the midwife never returned. So it's easy to assume her counter magic had worked if that's the sort of thing, one might believe in, but a short while later one of MRS chancellors, more pious neighbours passed by and noticed the horse you and in a fit of anger, ripped it from the house whether or not it was meant for good. It was a charm and the devil's work had no place in their community. We don't know if MRS Chandler was aware that the horse you had been removed, but we do you know what sort of a fact it had on her safety and well being a short while later MRS Chandler passed away
And in doing so, she helped add fuel to the stories making. One truth Crystal clear: folklore is quite the persistent thing stories of witchcraft have a lot of texture. Sometimes they show us the way then humanity or reveal how firmly those lives were guided by superstition. But I found one more story: the promises to do more stick around after this brief sponsor break to hear all about it,
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And in her own right, but looking back, she probably saw that coming. Mary Diamond was born in seventeen. Thirty six in Marblehead Massachusetts like allow that ass men. At the time in New England, her father may choose, it was a trade that would persist until the industrial revolution when factories took over what cobblers once did alone Or father was normal compared to his own father, the legendary holier diamond that man was said to be a wizard and could I, can be found standing in the local graveyard high up on a hill where he could see the ocean when store is blue in he would stand up there in the rain and cast spells that saved the ships and the sailors who man them. It was again, T claim to have inherited from his own grandfather and so on down the line into the depths of the past
So, while Mary was raised in the normal home of a common shoemaker, there was always that hint in the background that she was special, that she was born to do something greater. She married one of her father's apprentice has a man named Richard in one thousand seven hundred and sixty, and it was sometime a short while later that she began to make a name for herself. Now, I'm going to stop here for a moment and warn you, if you do some internet searching you're, going to find her portrayed as a haggard old woman with a twisted face and a bent nose. You know the typical image anyone conjures up when they think about witches, but Mary picture was not that woman and she didn't even go by Mary neighbors and customers all called her mall mall picture and mal they said was Butte she's, described in early accounts as tall thin, dark, haired and elegance, and despite growing up in an era when women did not attend school, she could read and write and sign her own name and had
way of absorbing knowledge that gave her more power than any magician could have claimed. Still heard true claim to fame was, as a profit folks would travel to her house in Lynn, a house that sat at the foot of a cliff called high rock to discover their fortunes. She charged for her services and helped a great number of people during her lifetime, but she did more than help lovers find peace or offer advice to business men. She earned a reputation as a which now these are rumours so keep that in mind, but their part of the legend of mall pitcher, and that means I get to share them. with you grain of salt and are whenever a ship wrecked off the coast of Lynn, people whispered that mall pitcher was to blame. Then again, they also claimed that she often warned sailors against leaving port. She did this so often that captains would have to recruit men from Other cities, where malls message hadn't yet spread. when the vision of a man was seen walking along the road in another town to the north, a man said to become
In his own head, mind, you, everyone Said it was the work of mall. Another story claims that she somehow caused. Dead man still in his coffin to chase another still living person, because milk to go bad and wall to turn blue. If it went wrong, mall pitcher was to blame. now had these things taken place a century before she would have been hanged as a witch. But time had washed away a lot of those violent knee jerk reactions to unusual tales and dark rumours, while pitcher didn't fear the stories. In fact, she seems to have welcomed them because story spread, and that was good for business.
It said that for a time there wasn't an american ship that didn't pull into a european port and find a crowd waiting wanting to know what news they carried about. The old woman across the sea, others would send requests back with the sailors or border ship themselves just for a chance to go visit her and have their fortune told mall pitcher, as you might imagine, stayed busy. What they didn't know was just how creative she was. Visitors would approach her house from s extreme along a well worn path through her field, and would be greeted at the door by one of her adult daughters, Rebecca they would be told them all was not home, but was due back shortly, and they were welcome to wait in the large sitting room while they waited Rebecca, but ask them questions to get a sense for they needed, but what the visitors didn't know was that in a smaller room, just a few feet away, mall set listening thinking through how she was going to handle the customer when she finally arrived
she amazed them by revealing things. They have never told her. Most of those visitors believed her paid her the fee and left happy, but there were occasions when customers would try to skip out on the cost. Thankfully mall the trick for that too. After leaving the customer and Malta their business Rebecca what had upstairs to the room directly above them and she would listen along through the floorboards if they refuse to pay more with threatened to unleash the devil himself upon them and, at the same moment, Rebecca, would grab a large chain used for controlling cattle, Then drag its across the floor most of the time that was all the incentive the customers needed to make sure that mall pitcher was paid. Her do looking back is clear that mall lived a powerful life in an age when few women would even dared to dream of it. She was respected, admired and maybe even a little
heard her skills of observation were said to have helped the colonists defeat, the British in the Revolutionary WAR sure she read fortunes and tea leaves, but also listened and learned. She held more power in a cup of tea than most men ever would. Mal died in April of one thousand eight hundred and thirteen at the age of seventy five and as far as the local historical records show. She never passed on that ancient family gift to her children and their DES dense, but they were known to be honourable hard working people who are respected and love by their community. Just like MA. I think it's fair to say that we all love legacies, fantasy novels, have taught us too the door, families with mystical powers that seem to span generations. So while it might be disappear.
dean that mall didn't line up with that stereotype. I think she actually did better mall pitcher in the end passed on what truly mattered very best of herself. This episode of war was written and produced by me, Aaron Monkey with research by alley, steed and music by Chad. Lawson more is much more than just a podcast, though there's a book series, illegal in bookstores an online, and seasons of a television show on Amazon? Prime video check them both out? If you want more lore in your life, I also make an executive produce a whole bunch of other podcast, all of which I think enjoy my production, company grim and mild specializes in shows that sit at the intersection of the dark and the historical you can learn.
about. All of this shows we make and everything going on over in one central, grim and mild dot com, and you can also follow this show on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram, just search for lore podcast. All one word, a click that follow button. When you do say hi, I like it when people say hi and as always, thanks for listening.
Transcript generated on 2022-03-12.