(Reuters) - Between February of 1692 and May 1693, the village of Salem, Massachusetts and its surrounding environs were the site of one of the most tragic and terrifying events in Colonial US history: The Salem Witch Trials. Accusations of witchcraft in the sleepy Puritan area exploded in an orgy of fear and superstition, with neighbours accusing neighbours, young women falling prey to mysterious forces, and tales of covens of child-killing, man-seducing evil witches roaming the countryside. Hundreds were imprisoned, many more suspected, and nineteen souls were condemned to eternal damnation after sensational trials and executed, most by hanging (one unfortunate was crushed to death by stones). To this day, a blackness hangs over the good people of Salem, partly a result of the hysteria that gripped the citizens ... but partly because evil places begat evil. Long have legends been told of those that escaped the grasp of the authorities, those who continued to practice the black arts, and who spread evil far and wide. This is one such tale.
Among the accused of the Salem Witch Trials was one Prudence Goodwin, imprisoned 0n August 13, 1692 after being accused. However, Goodwin never stood trial; on October 31, 1692 an empty cell, broken shackles and a strange orange and black "P" symbol burned into the floor were all that remained of Goodwin's presence in Salem. Legends persisted that Goodwin escaped South towards Philadelphia, terrorizing the lands as "The Jersey Devil" before moving further afield. Family histories and ancient black magic ritual verses found near Sault Ste Marie, Michigan in 1763 reveal a coven celebrating their founder "Mother P", and subsequent rough diaries and land title documents from a Robert P. Goodwin were found in an abandoned hovel emblazoned with the same "P" of Prudence Goodwin's in a small settlement in present-day Manitoba in 1804. The diaries discuss the birth of Robert P. Goodwin's daughter Agnes, who married settler Joseph R. Clarke in 1861 and moved to Flin Flon, Manitoba.
On August 13, 1949, Robert Earle Clarke was born in Flin Flon, with the Philadelphia Flyers logo burned into his chest.