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Their Witch Hunt Is a Just Cause

--While hunting up their ancestors, Howard Hay and Wayne Higley discovered that they are direct descendants, respectively, of Susanna Martin and Rebecca Nurse, two women accused of being witches during the Salem, Mass., witch trials of 1692. The pair recently formed Sons and Daughters of the Victims of Colonial Witch Trials, which has 45 members, all direct descendants of the people tried as witches. “Until now, there hasn’t been anything to really remember them by,” Hay said. " . . . We want people to know the real story. These people were human beings who were unjustly accused.” The witch scare, which lasted about a year, caused the executions of 20 people and the imprisonment of about 150. Hay and Higley say that, statistically, the victims could have as many as 20 million offspring. Gary Boyd Roberts of the New England Genealogical Society said one of the more famous, a descendant of accused witch Mary Esty, is Joan Kennedy, ex-wife of Sen. Edward M. Kennedy (D-Mass.). But she is not a member of Hay and Higley’s group. The two men have overseen design of a bronze statue of three accused witches--Nurse, Esty and their sister, Sarah Cloyce--but Salem has not approved their proposed site on the Old Burying Ground, not far from the grave of Magistrate John Hathorne, who sentenced Esty and Nurse to death.

--Singer John Denver says he will miss a December, 1989, flight on the Soviet space station Mir because he wants to spend time with his wife, Cassandra, who is pregnant with their first child. Denver had been given until Tuesday to resolve differences with the Soviets over the cost of the flight and training after he balked at their demand for $10 million, but his statement to the Houston Chronicle on Friday beat the deadline. Denver, of Aspen, Colo., said he will continue discussions with the Soviets, with whom he was negotiating after the National Aeronautics and Space Administration rejected his request to fly on the U.S. space shuttle.

--More than 100 people in Milwaukee paid their respects at a funeral for Carrie Munson, 62, who had only a fourth-grade education and had been a heroin addict for 25 years until she went back to school in her 40s. She attended the funeral. “You can’t communicate with your friends and tell them how you feel inside a box,” said Munson, who is dying of pancreatic cancer. Munson graduated from the University of Wisconsin in 1975. She planned the funeral in advance as a fitting ending to an autobiography she is writing, titled “Bury Me in My Cap and Gown.” She wore them to the funeral.


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