Andover Townsman, Andover, MA

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October 3, 2013

Get your spook on: It's about to get eerie in Andover

Sharpen your broomsticks and plump up your scarecrows — it’s time for the season of ghoulish antics and hocus-pocus to return to Andover.

And the Andover Historical Society is once again stirring its cauldron to present the third annual Bewitched in Andover: A Series of Eerie Events, a month-long line-up of Halloween-themed tours and talks designed to beguile the souls of mortals of all ages.

While the actual witch trials are attributed to Salem, the historical society says Andover had more accused witches than any other village during the hysteria of 1692. Three people from Andover were convicted of witchcraft and hanged: Martha Carrier, Samuel Wardwell and Mary Ayer Parker. Another woman, Anne Foster died while in prison.

The society’s events highlight the colonial history of Andover by providing a look into the town’s deep connections to the witch trials. Presentation topics will range from life in the early settlement days of Andover to a close examination of what is was like for someone accused of and convicted for witchcraft.

The Andover Community Business Association and Andover Coalition for Education are also getting into the act this year with their first Scarecrow Festival.

Students at Andover’s schools are creating 46 scarecrows with an educational theme to display on light poles along Main Street from Oct. 20 through 27. The display will culminate on Oct. 27 at noon with a festival gathering in front of Old Town Hall that will feature entertainment from Andover High School vocal groups and a presentation by Superintendent Marinel McGrath.

The Andover Historical Society’s series, meanwhile, kicks off this weekend. Here’s the schedule for the month ahead:

Friday, Oct. 4 — “Witch Andover? Which Andover?:” This evening lecture explores the consequences of the witch trials and the damaged psyche in the aftermath of the hysteria of 1692 that contributed to the eventual split of Andover into North and South Parishes, and Andover as we know it today. Charlotte Lyons and Graham Long, historians at South Church in Andover, lead the program. Fee $5, members free.

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