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Episode 3 - Fits

Episode 3 - Fits


During the extremely cold winter of 1692 an intense frustration has been building in Salem Village, a small farming community up the road from the more prosperous and worldly port city of Salem Town.  Many factors are coalescing into a perfect storm: the repressive nature of the Calvinistic Puritan church, the limited prospects for girls and young women, the village resistance to the conservative and overbearing minister Samuel Parris, and a terrifying new war that is breaking out with the French in Canada and their Native allies. During the months of January and February several young girls in the households of Minister Parris and his close ally Thomas Putnam begin to exhibit extremely wild and disturbing behavior. They contort their bodies, go mute and stiff, run about the house wildly, and scream obscenities. The girls are not the first to act in this way, just a few years before in nearby Boston the  children of the Goodwin household acted in the same manner, resulting in a neighboring Irish servant woman being put to death as an accused witch. The fits of the girls in Salem Village are determined to be the results of witchcraft and three women are accused, including Minister Parris's slave Tituba. All music written by Brian O'Connell except "Cambridge Short Tune - Psalm 70" adapted from the Bay Psalm Book, 1698.Episode 3 Parts: Part I - Village and TownPart II -  Fear of God (Cambridge Short Tune - Psalm 70)Part III - King William's WarPart IV - The FitsPart V - (Cambridge Short Tune reprise)Brian O'Connell - voice, piano, upright bass, acoustic 12-string guitar, electric guitar, bri-lo, drum, percussionRachel Koppelman - accordionMilo - screamingRecorded at Studio VinniechopsSources "Diares of Samuel Sewall" by Samuel Sewall, 1672-1729"More Wonders of the Invisible World: or the Wonders of the Invisible World Displayed in Five Parts" by Robert Calef, 1700 "A brief and true narrative of some remarkable passages relating to sundry persons afflicted by witchcraft, in Salem Village: which happened from the nineteenth of March, to the fifth of April, 1692"  by Deodat Lawson, 1692"A Modest Inquiry Into The Nature Of Witchcraft" by John Hale, 1702"Memorable Providences, Relating To Witchcrafts And Possessions" by Cotton Mather, 1689"A Storm of Witchcraft - The Salem Witch Trials and the American Experience“ by Emerson W. Baker, Oxford University Press, 2015"In the Devil's Snare - The Salem Witchcraft Crisis" by Mary Beth Norton, Vintage Books, 2002Support the show (
Samuel Parris takes on the job as minister to Salem Village, a marginalized farming community split by rivalry and controversy. Salem Village is overshadowed by the larger and much more prosperous Salem Town, one of the two largest towns in the Massachusetts Bay Colony. The colony is ruled by the Puritans, who have broken away from the Church of England and colonized New England in hopes of creating a model Christian society, a "City on a Hill”. Crisis evolves as newer generations lack the religious enthusiasm of the founders. Hardship presses down on the colony on many fronts: war with Native tribes,  disease epidemics, religious controversy, political and economic crisis. The entry of Parris into the powder keg that is Salem Village sets off a firestorm of persecution and retribution. All music written by Brian O'Connell, except "Second Meter - Psalm 119", adapted from The Bay Psalm Book, 1698. Episode II Parts: Part I - The Parsonage - Parris, with his family and Tituba, come to Salem Village Part II - The City on the Hill - the story of the Puritans and New England (Second Meter - Psalm 119) Part III - The Great Migration (w/ some lyrics borrowed from Michael Wigglesworth’s poem: “God’s Controversy with New England”, 1662) Part IV - Village vs. Town Part V - The Parsonage Reprise (w/ text taken from the sermon book of Samuel Parris, 1690-1691)  The Great Migration We have crossed the ocean of rebirthPlanted seeds in this God given earth Behold the pleasures of the fruitful fieldsFlowing full of all good things that they yield Realize his will Let the world see the city on the hillHis word shall be fulfilled, his kingdom we shall build*Search your soul and pray for holy graceConfess your sins let the tears baptize your face Only a very few are chosen to be savedThe Devil takes the rest for his own to be enslaved By searching deep withinYou might find a clue and then beginTo see the holy truth, to realize your sin* We brought ourselves to plant on the western shoreWhere none but beasts and warriors did swarm One wave another follow and one disease beginsBefore another cease because we turn not from our sins Our fruitful seasons cast in doubtThrough great pain and dry and parching droughtDefenders in a route, our hopes are all dashed out*The clouds gather as if we finally will see rainBut for our sinfulness are scattered round again We pray and fast as if to take a turnBut we turn not and our fields and fruits will burn Oh sinful land don’t think it strangeIf judgement comes down on you unless you changeThe Devil in a rage, affairs must rearrangeBrian O'Connell - voice, bass guitar, fretless bass, 8-string bass, piccolo bass (solo on The Great Migration), 6 and 12-string acoustic guitars, keyboards, moog synthesizers, bass drum Mike Harmon - drums, cymbals, percussion Recorded at Studio Vinniechops and Wachusett Recording Sources"A Storm of Witchcraft - The Salem Witch Trials and the American Experience“ by Emerson W. Baker, Oxford University Press, 2015 "Salem Possessed - The Social Origins of Witchcraft“ by Paul Boyer and Stephen Nissenbaum, Harvard University Press, 1974 "The Puritans in America - Narrative Anthology”edited by Alan Heimert and Andrew Delbanco, Harvard University Press, 1985Support the show (
This is the story of an Arawak woman called Tituba: how she was kidnapped by the English from South America when she was just a young girl and enslaved. Growing up on a plantation in Barbados, she absorbed multiple cultural influences from her fellow enslaved Africans and her English mistress. Her inner world becomes a confluence of Arawak, West African, and English myths and magic. We follow her as she is taken by a frustrated and angry young Puritan man named Samuel Parris to a new life in Massachusetts. They arrive first in Boston and then move to Salem Village, a small frontier community infested with jealousy and rivalry, and haunted by fear and suspicion. All music written by Brian O'Connell except "Old Oxford Tune (Psalm 4)" adapted from the Bay Psalm Book, 1698.Episode 1 Parts: Part I - Witch Hunt ThemePart II - Oxford Tune Part III - Captured and EnslavedPart IV - The Cunning TraditionPart V - Parris, Boston, and SalemPart VI - Witch Hunt Theme (reprise)Variation on the Oxford Tune (Music adapted from The Bay Psalm Book, published in Boston in 1698)Do you know of the coming storm?The people gone astrayTheir sins break free Satan from his chainsStars fall, moon turns to bloodFear, greed, and gossip rule the dayOld rivalries rebornBlame cast upon thy neighbor’s homeThe Beast is free to roamBrian O'Connell - voice, bass guitar, fretless bass, touch guitar, 12-string acoustic guitar, keyboards, synthesizers, sintir, percussionMike Harmon - drums, cymbals, percussionRecorded at Studio Vinniechops and Wachusett Recording.History Book Sources"Tituba - Reluctant Witch of Salem - Devilish Indians and Puritan Fantasies" by Elaine G. Breslaw, New York University Press, 1996"The Devil's Dominion - Magic and Religion in Early New England" by Richard Godbeer, Cambridge University Press, 1992          Support the show (
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