Family Movie Night

By Karyn Bowman

As what seems to be fitting for the season, I have been listening to an audio book called How to Hang a Witch by Adriana Mather.

How to hang a witch

It is a young adult novel about a 16 year-old girl who moves to Salem after her father’s health issues require less expensive care in Boston as opposed to New York. The problem is she is a direct descendant of Cotton Mather, the guy who wrote the book on how to discern witches just before the Salem witch trials. Nor did he ever try to stop these witch trials other than to say spectral evidence is not true evidence and should not be used.

For Samantha, everything becomes worse when a group of girls called the Descendants hate her almost on first sight. These girls are direct descendants of the original victims of the Salem Witch Trials. Lizzie, Mary, Alice, and Suzannah blame the trials on Cotton Mather, making Samantha guilty by association.

But of course things happen that make Sam realize she needs to work with the Descendants. Conversely she is on the constant edge of thinking everyone is betraying her in some way, including her somewhat new boyfriend, Jaxon.

I love the idea of this book but the heroine could get so tedious at times with her lack of trust. That is until you get to the final chapters with the big fight and you just need to see how it all ends.

With the setting being at the most famous trial in the country, it is easy to imagine how quickly people can go down the rabbit hole of fear and suspicion. And you begin to feel awkward about what happened to those people so long ago.

Salem_tv_series-wide.jpgInterestingly enough, there used to be a show on WGN TV just last year called Salem that focused on the period of the witch trials. If you happen to watch it, what fascinates me is how that era was depicted. Wood buildings, dirty walk ways, forests that seem wild and dangerous and filled with evil.

The story is about a young man named John Aldin (played by Shane West) who returns to Salem after a nine year absence, What he finds is the start of the witch trials and people being put to death for crimes with little or no evidence. Worse yet, the woman he loves is now married to a man who forced his departure. That is not the worst,

The worst is seeing his hometown moving into a frenzy to find the head witch and killing innocent people along the way.

This show has been canceled but it is available on Netflix. A part of me could binge on this program, another part of me hears the creepy music and sees the setup with that dread feeling that things are not going as smoothly as I thought things would. And nor are all of the characters who or what you thought they would be.

It is one of those shows that moves from somewhat realistic to the fantastical. While I have watched this show without the kids around, it is one I might watch with my teens but not my younger son. There is just enough realism to stick in a kid’s or the easily affected mind to cause some nightmares.

Not everyone will agree with me, not everyone will feel this way. I like a spooky show every now and again just like anyone else. This one is crazy and ridiculous most of the time. But I would only suggest it to people who know what they’re getting into. Accusing people of using ‘magic’ to cause bad feelings or supernatural actions is too close to real life.

Until next week, see you in the rental aisle.