Something that I learned a long time ago is you must be careful what history books you read. I learned this while I was homeschooled. There are history books that are filled with lies, and there are ones that have only a few lies in them. As a teenager and now, as an adult, I’m careful what history books I read and as always, I seek the truth in all things.
Now, with that being said, the Salem Witch Trials have always interested me. I’ve read so much about them and even went to Salem, Massachusetts when I was 17. While in Salem, I went on different tours and that includes the tour at the Salem Witch Museum, where they told the history of Salem.
During their presentation of Salem’s history, they talked of Tituba, who as you know, is part of Salem’s history. She was a slave and accused of being a witch because she practiced witchcraft (which in history books now, say that she practiced voodoo) and taught this to the children. Tituba taught the children fortune-telling games. The game she taught was how to use egg whites to tell who your future husband would be. This has been described as voodoo. However, it is actually European in its origin. There are a few different games in which young girls played to find out who their future husbands would be.
And as for the museum, as well as a number of books I’ve read (plus articles online), describe the game as being a part of voodoo practices. And Tituba is always described as African. Even when I was at the Salem Witch Museum, they said that Tituba was an African woman and everything that I’ve read about Salem said this as well. I never questioned this when I was a teenager, as I knew that Africans were slaves in those times. What was never taught in my school books is that many Natives and Whites were slaves as well.
And even though I know that now from my own studying, I never thought that Tituba might not be African.
The other night I was looking through lists on Goodreads for books about Salems, fiction and non-fictions, one I hadn’t read yet. There were only a few lists on Goodreads for books about Salem, so I went to Amazon and looked through their lists which users made.
I found a book called Tituba, Reluctant Witch of Salem: Devilish Indians and Puritan Fantasies. I clicked on the book to read its description and upon reading its description, I find out that Tituba is Native!
I quickly did a google search and while there were some sites that describe her as African, others say she is Indian, not African like it was commonly believed. And through my research, I find out that even in documents by the Puritans, they say she is Indian. However, it seems, over time she went from being Indian to African and the European fortune-telling games became connected to voodoo somehow.
While I was happy to find out this new piece of information, I couldn’t help, but feel disappointment as well. I’m disappointed in this and everything else that is taught as history, but isn’t true. Why lie about history? Why not tell the truth that Tituba was Native? That the fortune-telling games are actually European in origin? Why not say that Natives and Whites were slaves as well? I don’t see the harm in any of this because knowing the truth is important.
I am also disappointed that the Salem Witch Museum even teaches people that Tituba was African. Shouldn’t they know Salem’s true history?
I thought I would share this as I think people should know the truth. And I shall end this by saying, when studying any history, really do your research and always seek the truth.