When people think of the Witch Trials of the late 17th Century, they immediately think of Salem. But as many in North Andover know, there were also witch hunts and witch trials in the Andover settlement now known as North Andover.
In fact, the maority of the people accused of witchcraft during that period were from Andover Village, much of which makes up present-day North Andover.
In May of 1692, after the witchcraft histeria had branched out of Salem into surrounding areas, people from Andover and Andover Village fell under suspicion and were accused of being witches. And often the accused, to spare their own lives, turned into accusers.
The witchcraft hysteria has produced a local urban legend involving albino twins.
On Barker Street near Bradford Street, there supposedly lived a couple who gave birth to albino twin boys. Because albino children were thought to be a product of witchcraft, the couple hid their children from the rest of society. When the boys were teenagers, they were discovered and exposed to the town. The boys were subject to tests to see if they were witches. The final test was having rocks tied to their feet and being thrown into Lake Cochichewick to see if they would sink (if someone sank, they were a witch). The boys sank and drowned, and the parents were then burned alive in their home.
To this day, that stretch of road where that family lived is nicknamed "Albino Road." And local urban legend has it that at night the ghosts of the albino twins and their parents can be seen.
Happy Halloween everyone.