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Zachary Levi is shocked to learn that ancestor witch narrowly escaped being killed on trial

Feather Who Do You Think You Are? sunday night, Shazam! Star Zachary Levy was shocked to learn that his 10-time great-grandmother, Elizabeth Clausen, had been accused of being a witch in the year 1692, the same year as the Salem Witch Trials.

Ann Little, a professor of history at Colorado State, said, “It’s the year of the Salem Witch Trials. There’s an outbreak in Salem. There’s only one other outbreak of witchcraft, and it’s here. So it’s a dangerous time for your family.” ” university.

While Clausen lived in Fairfield, Connecticut, not Salem, Massachusetts, Clausen was still sent to trial, where he would likely be executed if convicted. At the time, during the witch trials, women who were accused of witchcraft were ducked – hands and feet tied and put in water – as a way of establishing whether the suspect was a witch. . It was believed that “a pure, good-hearted Christian would drown,” so when she swam, they thought she was a witch.

“To find out that my 10-time great-grandmother was accused of essentially being a witch is just so mind blowing and at the same time, upset and sad and surreal. Trying and putting yourself in someone else’s shoes It’s always difficult to keep up, but 1692, my 10-time great-grandmother is thrown into this pond, her arms and legs tied together. She knows the gravity of the situation. She understands that with that person What happens to someone who is accused of being a witch. I mean, that’s death. I think she was scared and angry and confused. I can imagine being in this place, from a bunch of people like that Surrounded by those you thought were your friends,” shared a heartbroken Levi, as he stood by the pond he was cast in.

However, after digging further into its history, Little and Levi discover a petition written by Clausen’s husband, Stephen Clausen, and signed by 76 people defending Clausen against charges of witchcraft.

“The community, in supporting Elizabeth Clausen, was taking some risk because of fear of guilt by the association to protect an accused witch,” Little explained. “And Stephen was certainly taking a risk seeking support for his wife. We have seen in both England and New England when husbands were accused of witchcraft while trying to protect their wives from charges of witchcraft. So he did something very unusual and very brave.” This was a relief to Levi, who learned of his paternal lineage before learning that all the men in his maternal ancestry were abusive and drunken. Fortunately, Levy got some better news when he learned that Elizabeth Clausen was ultimately found not guilty.

Finally, Levy shared about his journey: “You learn a lot about yourself by learning about your family, about your past, because that is you. You are the product of that long line. It’s so uplifting for a man of my lineage, my 10-time great-grandfather, who had that kind of courage and the love of his wife, and quite, you know, prepared to inevitably die, if that. So it’s empowering, and I’m grateful to know that my DNA lives within me. And then hearing that, finally, Elizabeth Clausen was not convicted and was set free, it feels great.”

Who Do You Think You Are? airs Sundays at 7 pm NBC,

Watch ‘Mom’ star Allison Janney fly away after learning of her ancestor’s arrival on the Mayflower in 1620:

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