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Kids Choose History Over Video to Learn About Salem Witchcraft Trials

July 30, 1991

HAGERSTOWN, Md. (AP) _ Bradley Blickenstaff chose history over video games, learning how kids in the 17th century provoked the Salem witchcraft trials.

″I had a choice,″ said the 11-year-old, ″this or Nintendo.″

Twenty people were killed in the 1690s after they were accused of being witches and wizards. The accusers were about the same age as Blickenstaff and 19 other middle- and high-school students who signed up for College for Kids, a $50, weeklong course.

″I’m not a Satanist or anything,″ said 12-year-old Andy Shelton, who also signed up. ″I’m just really interested in the Middle Ages - knights and stuff - and some religions and superstitions and stuff.″

Along with learning about the witchcraft trials, students will use computers to create their own newsletters; use camcorders to videotape a story about the college; learn about water; and study the concept of being a team player.

The course at Hagerstown Junior College, about 50 miles from Baltimore, attracts students from Maryland, Pennsylvania and West Virginia.

Rossana Cardinale told the students about how the trials began in Salem, Mass., in 1692 after a slave woman named Tituba put an egg white in a glass of water and told the fortunes of several school girls. The woman later was accused of bewitching the girls, who dropped to their knees and showed signs of hysteria.

Students said they would have been able to tell the girls were faking.

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