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Rebecca Nurse
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Victim
    (February 21, 1621-July 19, 1692)
    Born in Great Yarmouth, United Kingdom
    Birth name is Rebecca Towne Nurse
    Accused of practicing witchcraft and of tormenting Abigail Williams, Betty Parris, Ann Putnam and other children during the Salem Witch Trials
    Executed by the government of the Province of Massachusetts Bay in New England by hanging (1692)
    She and her family were engaged in a bitter land dispute with the Putnam family before she was accused (interestingly the bulk of witchcraft accusations came from the Putnams' daughter).
    She is prominently featured in Arthur Miller's overrated (and inaccurate) political parable 'The Crucible.'
    She struck some as being self-righteous and pretentious.
    She offered up a defense of herself as follows; 'I am innocent as the child unborn, but surely, what sin hath God found out in me unrepented of, that He should lay such an affliction on me in my old age.'
    She was portrayed by the highly partisan Vanessa Redgrave in the PBS drama 'Three Sovereigns.'
    She was allegedly made to undress and undergo a full body examination before community members to search for marks of the devil (being an old woman she had enough moles and liver spots to work against her).
    Her husband made household goods for a living.
    Her family home is now a tourist attraction.
    She is remembered as one of the most tragic and undeserving victims of the Salem Witch Trials (she was also the oldest, at seventy-one).
    She was accused of supernatural infanticide of unborn children (she had worked as a midwife for the Putnams years earlier).
    Her two sisters were also accused after offering defenses on her behalf, and only one escaped execution.
    Even some of the 'bewitched girls' hesitated before faking their usual symptoms, reluctant to see her executed.
    Her case is said to have been the start of the turn in public opinion regarding the trials.
    She had a reputation as a kindly old lady but she more than held her own under a relentless interrogation from Judge Hawthorne, who repeatedly tried to entrap her and failed.
    She was initially found innocent of the charges leveled against her, but a review of her testimony showed she neglected to answer one question, and the verdict was reversed (at seventy-one she was almost completely deaf).
    Thirty-nine prominent members of the Salem community signed a petition on her behalf.
    She was married to Francis Nurse for almost fifty years.
    She lived to be seventy during a time when life expectancy was around forty, only to be killed in her twilight years (kind of like getting tackled on the one yard line).
    Her quiet composure before going to be hanged earned her the title 'woman of self-dignity.'
    Her family received compensation for her death in 1711 (several of her accusers issued apologies, as well).

Credit: BoyWiththeGreenHair


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