Nighttime in the past was different than today-far darker and more hazardous. In the Middle Ages night was seen as a sort of anti-time, the very negative of day, when all things bad happened and only people with evil intent were found on the street.
All this began to change in the 18th century. Street lighting in big cities became more common and medieval curfews were abandoned. Less a source of fear than in the past people were more likely to see beauty in a starry sky and to seek out nightly entertainment instead of hiding behind locked doors. Yet the 18th century was still very much a period of transition.
Witchcraft was decriminalized in 1736, but the lynching of suspected witches continued until the end of the century. Perhaps most importantly, night continued to be a haven for criminals and the scene of random acts of violence until the establishment of professional police forces.
Learn what role ghosts, specters, apparitions, criminals and other denizens of the night played in the lives of people in the 18th century at “When Things Go Bump in the Night Learn How to Bump Back – Scary Creatures from the 18th Century are Still Out There”, a talk at New Windsor Cantonment, on Saturday, April 18, 2015 at 7 pm.
Reservations are required. Call (845) 561-1765 X22 for more information. New Windsor Cantonment is located at 374 Temple Hill Road (Route 300) in New Windsor, New York three miles southeast of the intersection of I-87 and I-84.
Illustration of highwaymen robbing a carriage provided.