JK Rowling Writes About Salem Witch Trials In Second ‘History of Magic’ Story

This week, the author publishes stories about the history of North American magic on Pottermore

“Harry Potter” author J.K. Rowling has released the second of four stories revealing the history of magic in North America; in it she discusses the effects of the Salem Witch Trials on the wizarding world.

In the story, Rowling writes that it was extremely harsh for witches and wizards to live in North America as opposed to the Old World of Europe, given the lack of available resources needed for potions and the No-Maj (American term for “muggle”) and Native Americans’ treatment of each other. However, the most important barrier was something called the Scourer.

“As the wizarding community in America was small, scattered and secretive, it had as yet no law enforcement mechanism of its own,” Rowling writes. “This left a vacuum that was filled by an unscrupulous band of wizarding mercenaries of many foreign nationalities, who formed a much-feared and brutal taskforce committed to hunting down not only known criminals, but anyone who might be worth some gold. As time went on, the Scourers became increasingly corrupt. Far away from the jurisdiction of their native magical governments, many indulged a love of authority and cruelty unjustified by their mission.”

This is why the Salem Witch Trials occurred, preventing many witches and wizards from migrating to North America and also leading to the creation of the Magic Congress of the United States of America, or MACUSA, an American version of the Ministry of Magic. Many Scourers were put on trial and executed.

Yesterday, Rowling covered the history of Native American magic; it was consequently condemned for cultural appropriation on social media.

The first installment, released on the web site Pottermore on Tuesday, explains the history of wizards and magic in the pre-colonial Americas. It weaves together aspects of Native American culture, such as “skin walkers” and medicine men, with the magical universe of the “Harry Potter” series.

For the next two days, Rowling will publish a new story on Pottermore every day at 9 a.m. PST. These stories are supposed to keep fans busy until “Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them” is released in theaters in November, while also giving them more of a backstory for the film.

Read her second story here.