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Sun, Oct. 2 at 7pm - Lucy Worsley Investigates: The Witch Hunts

 Lucy stands at the Nether Keith Chapel ruins in East Lothian.
Courtesy of Mike Robinson/screengrab © BBC Studios 2021.
PBS Pressroom
Lucy stands at the Nether Keith Chapel ruins in East Lothian.

Popular British historian Lucy Worsley continues to explore some of British history’s most haunting mysteries in two new installments of LUCY WORSLEY INVESTIGATES. In each episode, Lucy uses historical and contemporary evidence and expert testimony to reframe the past and deepen her analysis. Lucy also reveals how the attitudes of the time towards gender politics and class often helped obscure the truth, uncovering new victors and victims, challenging perceptions, and providing fresh insights.

The Witch Hunts | Sun, Oct. 2 at 7pm
The series concludes with a harrowing look at the events that sparked a craze for witch hunts across Britain and America more than 400 years ago. Lucy uncovers the extraordinary story of one supposed witch, a midwife and folk healer from rural Scotland named Agnes Sampson, who was caught up in King James’ determination to prove himself a just and godly king and figurehead of the Reformation. While Christianity and a belief in the supernatural had co-existed for centuries, the new puritanical Christianity of Scotland’s John Knox began targeting women who had an exalted role in society. Agnes’s trial and execution lit the fuse for the state-sanctioned torture and murder of thousands more like her across Britain and in America’s Salem Witch Trials. Lucy examines how the upheaval of the Reformation, the ambitions of the King and a suspicion of women in authority and female sexuality set the stage for these brutal killings.

Tune in on the WSIU stations: WSIU 8.1, WUSI 16.1, WSEC 14.1, WQEC 27.1 and WMEC 22.2 or access the WSIU local broadcast livestream online at pbs.org or via the PBS Video app. Watch with WSIU Passport.

About the Program
For centuries, no one could be certain what caused the 1348 plague. Then, in the 1980s, a vast mass grave containing the skeletons of 600 victims was uncovered in London. Lucy learns how DNA extracted from the teeth of these skeletons enabled scientists to finally identify the cause of the Black Death, a bacteria called yersinia pestis — a pathogen to which the population had no immunity. Lucy then travels to a small Suffolk village where rare court rolls reveal how the plague affected the lives of ordinary people. These fragile documents provide a unique window into the epidemic’s social, political and psychological impacts, revealing how the enormous death toll transformed religious beliefs, class structure, work and women.

With over a decade of experience in public media, Stackhouse serves as the Assistant Director of Digital Services for WSIU Public Broadcasting. The Digital Service department supports the promotion of the station’s digital content and services including social media, web-based membership services and activities, and marketing and communications. Stackhouse's professional goals include creating an inclusive environment where media students at Southern Illinois University Carbondale can gain experience and professional development opportunities in various aspects of the broadcasting industry.
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