The Last Witch Trial Happened in Kalamazoo in 1929
Did you know that a Kalamazoo resident was accused of being a witch and murdered by her neighbors?
Before we get into the story of this senseless and brutal murder that took place in 1929, it's important to put this witch hunt in perspective. The very famous Salem Witch trials ended in 1692 according to the Library of Congress. The last known witch trial in America took place in 1878 in Massachusetts according to Historic Ipswich. The fact that a Kalamazoo family accused a neighbor of being a witch only to kill her over 200 years after the Salem Witch Trial is mind-boggling.
Etta Fairchild was a 75-year-old widow at the time of her brutal murder. Etta's neighbors, Eugene and Pearl Burgess invited her over for dinner. What Etta did not know when she accepted the invite, is that the family planned to end her life. Pearl Burgess claimed that many of her family members that passed away in the previous 2 years were a result of an evil spell that Fairchild cast onto the family. The Burgess family then sneak attacked the elderly woman at the dinner table according to the Detroit Free Press article published in July of 1929,
They clubbed her to death with a pipe and hammer which crushed her skull, shattered both arms, and broke 9 ribs. They rolled her up in a rug and dumped her in the backyard cistern thinking they had rid the neighborhood of a terrible witch who could cast spells on people.
Tyson Kemp, a TikTok content creator that covers spooky stories gives many of the shocking details along with mugshots in a recent video that you can view below.
The Burgess family was reportedly proud of what they did. They claimed they saved the residents of Kalamazoo from having spells cast on them that could've led to their deaths. Charges were dropped against the two Burgess children, however, the parents, Eugene and Pearl were charged with the horrific murder of a 75-year-old widow. Eugene, the person who reportedly performed the vicious beating on Fairchild, hung himself in his jail cell before trial and left his wife Pearl to face judgment alone. Pearl was found guilty.
According to FindaGrave.com Etta Fairchild is buried at the Riverside Cemetery on the corner of Gull Rd and Riverview Drive in Kalamazoo.