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The Nordic Heritage Club meets the second Friday of the month from September to May.

From 1692 to 1693, 200 people were accused of witchcraft in Massachusetts.

Twenty of the accused, who were mostly women, were executed. Many Christians and other religions believed the devil could give certain people, who were known as witches, the power to harm others.

The witch hunts were started by two girls, Betty Parris and Abigail Williams, who would have strange fits of twitching, screaming, and making animal noises. When they interrupted church services, people were sure it was of the devil. The girls blamed the condition on witchcraft and accused three women in town of casting spells on them.

From 1662 to 1663, a great witch hunt was happening in the northern town Vardo, Norway. This was one of the largest witch hunts in the Scandinavian countries. Thirty were accused, 18 burned alive at the stake, two were tortured to death and one was sent to the workhouse. "Black books" were discovered in Norway, which consisted of Christian and pagan writings.

As a child, Jeffrey Huset listened to his father and uncles hint that an ancestor had been tried for witchcraft in Norway. He quickly decided that his dad and uncles had been pulling his leg, as they often did.

But after delving into his Norwegian roots, he found a rowdy bunch of forefathers, including Doktor Ola, who was famous throughout Telemark for his healing practices and his svartebok — a collection of recipes, remedies, and magic.

On Friday, May 10, Jeffrey Huset will be sharing his fascinating story of Norwegian ancestors, witchcraft and the black book. The meeting will begin at 7 p.m. and the lecture at 7:30. This takes place at the Victoria Recreational Center, 8475 Kochia Lane, Victoria.

The Nordic Heritage Club meets the second Friday of the month from September to May.

Refreshments are served after the program. These meetings are open to everyone and is family friendly. For more information, write Carolyn Spargo at carolynspargo@gmail.com.

Carolyn Spargo lives on the border of Chaska and Victoria, and is active in all things Scandinavian, including the Nordic Heritage Club. Her column appears monthly in the newspaper.

Community Editor

Mark Olson, the Chaska and Chanhassen community editor who has worked in Carver County for 20 years, makes any excuse to write about local history. In his spare time, Mark enjoys perusing old books, watching blockbusters and taking Midwest road trips.

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