Salisbury Press

Saturday, December 16, 2017

‘The Witch of Ridley Park’ trial to be re-enacted at LV Museum

Friday, October 6, 2017 by The Press in Focus

Pennsylvania’s Infamous Witch Trial, known as “The Witch of Ridley Creek,” will be presented in a re-creation, 1 p.m. Oct. 14, Lehigh Valley Heritage Museum Saturday, 432 W. Walnut St., Allentown.

“Witchcraft accusations are infamous history, mass hysteria, and the crucible of darkness,” said Joseph Garrera, Executive Director of the museum.

The trial of Pennsylvania’s Margaret Matson, called “The Witch of Ridley Creek,” took place eight years prior to the Salem Witch Trials. The trial was presided over by Pennsylvania Proprietor William Penn.

Based on official transcripts, historical facts, and traditions from the actual trial that convened in Philadelphia, museum officials will re-create a courtroom scene similar to those of the 1680s.

Museum officials say they want the public to experience facts that are more frightening than fiction. The emotions and circumstances surrounding witch trials still haunt American popular culture and political discourse, according to museum officials.

Will Margaret Matson defend herself against the accusations of her neighbors? Will her fate foreshadow the justice gone awry years later in Salem? Or will the trial end differently?

“This event is based on true testimony and real facts as they occurred more than 300 years ago,” said Garrera. “We want to give the public a sense of reality, to experience a witch trial first-hand.”

Information: lehighvalleyheritagemuseum.org; 610-435-1074