Joshua Ward House - 148 Washington St.

Joshua Ward House - 148 Washington St.

A name absent from the Witch Trials memorial, and perhaps less spoken in the oral history of the trials, is the name Deliverance Dane. She was one of the accused who managed to escape her execution -- but not before receiving the same kinds of cruel psychological and physical examinations as the other accused, all administered by the officers of the court.

In her 2009 debut novel, The Physick Book of Deliverance Dane, author Katherine Howe -- who, herself, has ancestral ties to the Witch Trials -- combines historical fact with historical fiction, as she tells the story of a graduate student who has come to Salem to assist with the sale of her Grandmother's house. In the process, she discovers a 17th century bible, containing a key, and an old scrap of paper, upon which is written the name "Deliverance Dane." As she follows up on her findings, Connie learns more about her family, and their relationship to the Witch Trials, than she was prepared to know.

On this site once stood the home of Witch Trials Sheriff, George Corwin, who was one of the cruelest officers of the court. Today, the Joshua Ward house, built on this site in 1784, is home to The Merchant hotel. Before that, it had been used as a real estate office, and was the location of a very chilling ghost story -- one purported to feature real photographic evidence of a ghost. Lovers of spooky stories can find that and other tales in the book, Haunted Happenings, by Robert Ellis Cahill, and is available in most gift shops and tourist museums around Salem.

Note: Katherine Howe's book, Conversion, was a Massachusetts Book Award winner in 2015.

Standing in front of the house, turn left, before continuing on down Norman St. At the intersection of Norman and Summer St., take a left onto Summer. At the intersection of Gedney and Summer St., take a right and cross onto Broad St. The next destination is across the street on your left -- the original site of the Salem Normal School.