Sarah Jessica Parker played one of film’s most famous and possibly ditziest witches ever when she took on the role of Sarah Sanderson, sister of Winifred and Mary Sanderson, in Hocus Pocus.
The fan favorite film told the story of the Sanderson sisters who were hanged for the crime of witchcraft in the 1600s and are subsequently resurrected in the 1990s. As they attempt to carry out their nefarious plans to gain immortality by stealing the lives of children, they meet their match in three kids, a rebellious zombie, and a talking cat.
It was after Parker played the role, however, that she found out she had actual ties to the terrifying Salem Witch Trials. It was during an appearance on Who Do You Think You Are?–a series that dives deep into the ancestry of celebrities–that the connection was made.
Parker’s tenth-great grandmother, Esther Dutch Elwell–along with Abigail Rowe and Rebecca Dike–was accused of “wickedly and feloniously sundry acts of witchcraft upon the body of Mrs. Mary Fiche of Gloucester” by Betty Hubbard who was 17 years old at the time. The accusation went before the court and a warrant was drawn up for the arrest of the three women.
Fortunately for them, the court was dissolved before Esther, Abigail, and Rebecca could be brought to trial. Esther went on to live a full live until well into the 1700s when she died at the approximate age of 82 years old.
The handwritten warrant still exists and Parker was able to view scans of the document during the episode.
It’s one of those strange, circular connections people just don’t expect to make, and it definitely falls on the spooky spectrum