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Publisher's Summary

A detailed account of one of the strangest and most shocking episodes in American history, written by the author of "The Lottery".

Stories of magic, superstition, and witchcraft were strictly forbidden in the little town of Salem Village. But a group of young girls ignored those rules, spellbound by the tales told by a woman named Tituba. When questioned about their activities, the terrified girls set off a whirlwind of controversy as they accused townsperson after townsperson of being witches. Author Shirley Jackson examines in careful detail this horrifying true story of accusations, trials, and executions that shook a community to its foundations.

©1956 Shirley Jackson (P)2014 Blackstone Audio, Inc.

Featured Article: The Haunting of Hill House—Book vs. Show


Shirley Jackson was inspired to write the novel after reading about a group of psychic researchers who spent time in a house believed to be haunted. In an essay, Jackson explained that she was less interested in the investigation itself and more intrigued by what could be learned about the people conducting the investigation. If you're a fan of the super creepy Netflix series, here's the lowdown on how the two chilling incarnations stack up.

What listeners say about The Witchcraft of Salem Village

Average Customer Ratings
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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

A true historical horror

This audiobook was just what I wanted to start a few weeks of creepy, Halloween-themed reading. The true story of the witch hunts of Salem Village is more horrifying and fascinating than any fiction. What caused a group of pre-teen girls to accuse their neighbors of witchcraft? What made Salem's adults accept their claims so readily, with no solid evidence? Shirley Jackson's book is a great introduction to those questions and has definitely inspired me to read more about Salem.

Gabrielle de Cuir's expressive narration enveloped me in the narrative. She was especially good at portraying the women accused of being witches - whether they defied the authorities, laughed at the charges or eagerly implicated others

12 people found this helpful

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Lying little brats

The Crucible is my favorite play and I love listening to history. I really enjoyed this in-depth account of the Salem Witch trials. I learned some new things.

I had no idea that a 5 year old girl was accused and arrested. She also talks about the rich families that escaped Salem and fled to New York. People in other towns knew the trials were ridiculous and out of control. I also learned about spectral evidence.

I just can't believe they let these over theatrical children control their court for so long.

5 out of 5 Lying Children

8 people found this helpful

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well done

very well done! love her voice and telling! finished over 2 days. great way to start of my October book listening. its very sad what happened to the accused but I admit I've always found this story fascinating.

4 people found this helpful

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Disturbing

A wonderfully disturbing search into the Salem witch trails. Jackson writes directly and insightfully concerning this strange and horrific time of our history. Makes me wonder if she missed her calling as a writer of history.

3 people found this helpful

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Reading all the Shirley Jackson

As masterful as Shirley Jackson is, this might be her scariest book. It’s really disturbing.

3 people found this helpful

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Just read The Crucible instead

This is dry non fiction. If you're expecting Shirley Jackson horror, you're in the wrong place. There's not much new here except in the final two chapters. I'd rather have read The Crucible again.

2 people found this helpful

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Great Listen, Interesting

I’ve read a decent amount of books on Salem over the years, both fact and fiction. This was very good and even had a few historical points that I had never come across. The narrator was simple and elegant, very enjoyable.

2 people found this helpful

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awsome listen

I really like this one. I was picturing everything going on it was crazy insane. this is something I could listen. to again

1 person found this helpful

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good read

I found out while listening to this book that my kids read it in school. we need to learn from our mistakes, very informative.

1 person found this helpful

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Historical Horror Story

Story – 5/5
Narration- 4.5/5

“The Witchcraft of Salem Village” by Shirley Jackson is a historical retelling of the Salem witch trials of 1692. History is changeable data, so I don’t know if this is 100% fact, but it rings true, and it is a compelling story.

As I was listening to the story, I realized that this is a crime tale, a history lesson, and a horror story.

The narration was straight forward and pleasant.

Recommendation – not scary because it’s History, but still well worth reading or listening to,

1 person found this helpful

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  • EGM
  • 01-03-18

A chilling, fascinating non-fictionalised account.

This book is perfect for anyone wishing to know a bit more about the infamous Salem witch trials, namely: how horrific the ordeal actually was, the extremes that those people got to, and the repressive, hypocritical society they lived in. For the most part, the author draws from extant trial records and correspondence, and lets the picture of mass hysteria speak for itself. Very well narrated, too.

7 people found this helpful

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  • Emily B.
  • 03-19-22

fascinating historical account

Admirably succinct without compromising detail or colour. A must read for those interested in the history of witchcraft or miscarriages of justice.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 03-02-22

a good portrayal

a very good account of the situation
of the witch trials etc.
narrator was also very good.

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  • James Moynihan
  • 02-25-22

A very fascinating and detailed account!

I really enjoyed this book. it gives a detailed account into the nightmare of the Salam witch trials that kept me interested throughout.

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  • Dream Reader
  • 11-28-21

Fascinating

so interesting I loved listening to it . I would recommend it to anyone. It walks us through a virtual untouched area of history.

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  • sarah w.
  • 11-02-21

definitely recommend

interesting book about Salem witch trials. Great to listen to, I'd defo listen again as loved hearing the history of the witch trials

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  • ch3ls3a
  • 10-20-21

Very interesting

A very interesting look into the witch trials. I didn’t know what to expect when I started this but I found it very interesting.

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  • D. T. Grassian
  • 10-17-21

very enjoyable

I was surprised how interesting this book was, telling a story I thought I knew but that was, in the end, very different. My one issue with the book was it ignored the many ways race played into this story -- with numerous slaved accused, and the repeated reference to a Black man who was coming from Boston, etc. I greatly enjoyed the narrator, though her voices weren't always good.

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  • A.J.F
  • 08-02-21

Amazing and harrowing account.

Fantastically told account of a difficult subject matter- a great meditatation on the dangers of mass hysteria and the hive mind, also an intriguing lesson in history- well worth a listen, wonderfully narrated aswell- just wish it'd been longer!

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  • Anonymous User
  • 02-14-22

loved it.

really got into this book i liked all the Salem witch books or tv shows.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 12-15-21

Wonderful

Wonderful writing and a powerful story. Read incredibly well too. Thank you! I so enjoyed this.