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Grace Sherwood: The History Behind the Legend of the Witch of Pungo

July 25 @ 12:00 pm - 1:00 pm


When Grace Sherwood was ducked in the Lynnhaven River during her trial for witchcraft in 1706, she became a foundational part of Virginia’s folklore and culture. People have been sharing stories about “the Witch of Pungo” for generations, and to many she remains “Virginia’s Witch.” Thanks to the popularity of these legends, the reality of Grace Sherwood’s life and trial is often told using a blend of fact and fiction. This lecture will reveal the history behind the legend. Using original colonial records, many of which have been previously undiscovered, it will describe the life of Grace Sherwood, her family, and her accusers. It will also embed her trial within the broader history of European and North American witch trials in an effort to uncover why so many people thought she was a witch.

Dr. Scott Moore is an associate professor of history at Eastern Connecticut State University. His research explores the development of identity and the way legends, folklore, and history shape that identity. He is a native of Virginia Beach and is the author of The Witch of Pungo: Grace Sherwood in Virginia History and Legend.


July 25
12:00 pm - 1:00 pm
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Virginia Museum of History Culture


Virginia Museum of History & Culture
428 North Arthur Ashe Boulevard
Richmond, 23220 United States
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