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The Last Salem 'Witch' Has Been Pardoned & It Only Took 329 Years For Kids To Sort It Out

A bunch of eighth graders got the job done. 🧹

Global Staff Writer
North Andover Middle School. Right: Salem Witch Museum in Massachusetts.

North Andover Middle School. Right: Salem Witch Museum in Massachusetts.

The last Salem "witch" was finally exonerated 329 years after being wrongly convicted of witchcraft, and it's all thanks to an eighth-grade class from Massachusetts.

Elizabeth Johnson Jr. was a 22-year-old woman from Massachusetts who was accused and convicted of witchcraft during the peak of the Salem Witch Trials in 1693, reported ABC affiliate WFAA. She was even sentenced to death for it.

Although Johnson didn't end up getting executed, she was never pardoned for the alleged crime. That's because unlike most of the other accused Salem witches, she didn't have any descendants to fight for her.

That is, until a group of eighth graders stepped in.

An eighth-grade class from North Andover Middle School took it upon themselves to clear her name, researching all the legislative steps necessary to get her officially pardoned.

The class brought her case to lawmakers, who looked into it and finally pardoned her after legislation was introduced and approved for the case.

The Witches of Massachusetts Bay, an organization dedicated to the history of the famous witch trials, confirmed that Johnson is the last accused witch to have her name cleared of the crime.

"On 26 May 2022, the Massachusetts State Senate passed Amendment 842, making Elizabeth Johnson Jr. the last convicted witch to get her name cleared."

"We will never be able to change what happened to victims like Elizabeth but at the very least can set the record straight,"
state Sen. Diana DiZoglio said.

"Elizabeth's story and struggle continue to greatly resonate today," said DiZoglio. "While we've come a long way since the horrors of the witch trials, women today still all too often find their rights challenged and concerns dismissed."

The teacher of the eighth-grade class, Carrie LaPierre, proudly acknowledged her students' efforts to combat "the long-overlooked issue of justice for this wrongly convicted woman."

"Passing this legislation will be incredibly impactful on their understanding of how important it is to stand up for people who cannot advocate for themselves and how strong of a voice they actually have," said LaPierre.

Dozens of so-called witches have been acquitted of witchcraft over the years, including Johnson's mother.

Now, no one will ever ask which Johnson was a witch because the answer is neither!

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