Professor Explores Colonists And Witchcraft At Darien Historical Society

DARIEN, Conn. – Just in time for Halloween, the Darien Historical Society will present “Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea,” a discussion focusing on the Colonists’ preoccupation with the supernatural with Leslie Lindenauer, a professor of history at Western Connecticut State University.

WCSU Professor Leslie Lindenauer will discuss early colonists and witchcraft in a talk at the Darien Historical Society

WCSU Professor Leslie Lindenauer will discuss early colonists and witchcraft in a talk at the Darien Historical Society

Photo Credit: Contributed

The talk will be held Wednesday, Oct. 25 at 7:30 p.m. at the Bates-Scofield Homestead Museum, 45 Old Kings Highway N., Darien. The program is free for members of the Society and $20 for non-members.

Lindenauer, whose research focuses on gender and religious culture in early America, will discuss why so many allegations of witchcraft emerged in early America, and what caused the deep-seated paranoia prevalent in New England during the 17th and 18th centuries. Lindenauer will also discuss little-known case studies of individual women who were accused of performing black magic.

“From the first trials in the 1640s to the infamous epidemic in Salem in 1692, witchcraft accusations and trials can provide us with a window on early American religion, popular culture, and gender that is illuminating, disturbing, and entertaining in equal measure,” Lindenauer said.

Lindenauer was an editor with The Papers of Benjamin Franklin at Yale University, and she has directed departments of education and interpretation at several history museums, including the South Street Seaport Museum in New York City and Historic Hudson Valley in Tarrytown, New York. She was also the executive director of the Connecticut Women’s Hall of Fame.

In addition to history, Lindenauer teaches courses in Museum Studies, American Studies, and Women’s Studies. She is the author of "Piety and Power: Gender and Religious Culture in the American Colonies, 1630-1700" and this year Lindenauer was quoted in The New York Times on her critically-acclaimed book, "I Could Not Call Her Mother: The Stepmother in American Popular Culture, 1750-1960."

Register for this program by calling 203-655-9233, online at or email Seating is limited. 

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