Tituba confesses

According to records, Tituba had been severely beaten by Parris for several days before her appearance in court on March 1, 1693, and scholars conclude that he gave her instructions about what to say. When it was her turn to speak she told the audience exactly what they wanted to hear, but only after provocation (deliberately causing anger in someone) from Hathorne. The proceedings began with Hathorne's trademark style of questioning, which was relentless and emotional. He asked Tituba about...

From The Testimony of Ann Putnam Sr

The deposition of Ann Putnam, the wife of Thomas Putnam, aged about 30 years, who testifieth and saith that on the 18th March 1692, I being wearied out in helping to tend my poor afflicted child Ann jr. and maid, about the middle of the afternoon I lay me down to bed to take a little rest and immediately I was almost pressed and choked to death, that, had it not been for the mercy of a gracious God and the help of those that were with me, I could not have lived many moments and presently I saw...

Stories and case studies

The picture of witchcraft in the colonial period is as complex and varied as the imaginations of the people who lived during that time. Witchcraft was a real and frightening Some pagan rituals, such as skipping around the May pole, were no longer looked upon as harmless or acceptable. Reproduced by permission of the Corbis Corporation (Bellevue). force to the colonists, partly because people believed in its power to harm them and also because it served as a binding force in troubled...

Forced out of Salem

Most of the people who had been ruined by Parris refused to attend his services during the trials, and they were determined not to return to church after the trials were over. Continuing to withhold all financial and public support from him, in 1695 they went before the governing council to seek formal conflict resolution with Parris. In diplomatic terms the council recommended that if Parris could not resolve his differences with the village he should leave, implying that he would not be...

John Proctor and Salem Village

John Proctor was born in England, and at an early age he emigrated to Ipswich, Massachusetts, with his family. In 1666 he moved to the outskirts of Salem Village, settling on a large tract of land he inherited (received ownership of) from his father and becoming one of the wealthiest property owners in the village. He and his wife Elizabeth also ran a tavern in Salem Town (the Salem community consisted of the larger, more urban Salem Town and the smaller, more rural Salem Village). As a...

Enters the troubled world of Salem Village

Little is known about Samuel Parris's early life in England. Historians do know, however, that at some point during adolescence he moved with his family to Barbados, an island in the West Indies, where his father owned a successful sugar trading company. Parris was sent to Harvard College to study theology (religion), but he never completed his degree. When his father died in 1678 he moved back to Barbados to take over the family business, and two years later he married Elizabeth Elridge....

M

Magic, 3, 5, 84, 150 Magnalia Christi Americana, 189 Malleus Maleficarum (Hammer of Witches), 13, 93-98, 94 (ill.) witches, 14, 16 conclusion of, 95-96 dangerous aspects of, 96 excerpt from, 96-97 first part of, 93 Innocent VIII (pope), 93, 96 Kramer, Heinrich, 93, 98 manual of persecution, 98 popularity of, 98 second part of, 94-95 Sprenger, Jakob, 93, 98 Martin, Susannah, 59 (ill.), 60, 105-108, 106 (ill.) Massachusetts Bay Colony Representatives, 144 Mather, Cotton, 185-192, 186 (ill.)...

What happened next

The Council of America Witches disbanded in 1974. The following year the Covenant of the Goddess (CoG) was formed to incorporate hundreds of separate Wiccan covens and was officially recognized as a church in the United States. The CoG is the largest Wiccan organization, representing a variety of belief systems and practices. At the end of the twentieth century Wicca was the eighth largest religion in the United States, ranking with Christianity, Buddhism, Islam, and other established faiths....

Salem Witch Trials and Executions

The pre-trial hearings in the cases of Sarah Good, Sarah Osborne, and Tituba set the stage for the social strife that would soon rip Salem apart. (See Chapter 3 for information on the circumstances that led to the arrests of these three women on witchcraft charges also see Tituba's biography entry.) At first no one suspected that Tituba, Elizabeth (Betty) Parris, Abigail Williams, and the other young girls could be lying. After all there was damning evidence Tituba had confessed to practicing...

Tensions in Salem Village

The Putnam family had been responsible for hiring Parris, and had done so in hopes of establishing a parish that was completely separate from that of nearby Salem Town. (Salem Village, near the Atlantic coast, was a bustling, densely-populated city. Salem Town, farther inland, was in a poorer, predominately agricultural area.) Many people in the Salem Village congregation were either Putnams or supporters of the Putnam effort to keep the village parish separate from the town. When Parris moved...

Prejudice and other challenges

The resurgence of Wicca has revived fears and superstitions about witchcraft that have lingered since the witchhunts of past centuries. Despite greater access to information and education in the modern era, many people believe Wiccans are Satan worshipers, child abusers, and sexual deviants. Frequently encountering harassment and discrimination, Neo-Paganists sought protection through the Civil Rights Act of 1964. The law states To be a bona fide legally authentic or sincere religious belief...

Parris controversy fuels trials

Samuel Parris was born in London, England, and made his first attempt at a career as a sugar merchant in Barbados, an island in the West Indies in the Caribbean. When a hurricane wrecked his business he moved to Boston, Mass-achussetts, with his family and tried to start over. After failing again as a merchant, Parris decided to become a minister. He moved to Salem Village in 1688, bringing with him his wife, three children, a niece, and two slaves. He was hired by the Putnam family to take...

Things to remember while reading Interrogation of Susannah Martin

Susannah Martin was a sixty-seven-year-old widow who freely spoke her mind and denied all charges against her. Note that, in the opening of this excerpt, Mather and Cheever had already concluded Martin was a witch. They saw spectral (ghostly) evidence in her behavior The cast of Martin's eye struck people to the ground, whether they saw that cast or not. In other words, she had put a spell Although the afflicted girls we supposedly struck to the ground when Susannah Martin looked at them, she...

For Further Study

Drawing Down the Moon Witches, Druids, Goddess-Worshippers, and Other Pagans in America Today. Boston, Massachusetts Beacon Press, 1986. Barstow, Anne Llewellyn. Witchcraze A New History of the European Witch Hunts. San Francisco, California Harper, 1999. Buckland, Ray. Witchcraft From the Inside. St. Paul, Minnesota Llewelynn Publications, 1995. Guiley, Rosemary Ellen. The Encyclopedia of Witches and Witchcraft, 2nd ed. New York Checkmark Books, 1999. Witches must follow the...

Accused of witchcraft

During her later years Clinton was poor and completely alienated from the Ipswich community. Her lofty beginnings as a member of one of the area's wealthiest family had long before set the stage for resentment. When she plummeted into poverty and despair her neighbors ignored her sudden needi-ness and neglect at the hands of her husband and family. Viewed as an outcast and a burden, over time Clinton became a perfect target for accusations of witchcraft. Although records do not show the...

Wiccans focus on nature

In an attempt to reunite humans with nature, Neo-Paganists revived the gods and goddesses of ancient religions, such as Mother Earth, Father Sky, the goddess of fertility, and the horned god Pan (see Chapter 1). Wiccans provide the best example of Neo-Pagan practices. Wiccan covens focus on one deity (a god) as a symbolic, unifying force in their rituals contrary to popular belief, however, Wiccans do not worship the devil, who did not exist before the advent of Christianity (see Chapter 1)....

Witchcraft in America

DETROIT SAN FRANCISCO LONDON BOSTON WOODBRIDCE, CT Elizabeth M. Shaw, U*X*L Associate Editor Allison McNeill, Bernard Grunow, Contributing Editors Carol DeKane Nagel, U*X*L Managing Editor Thomas L. Romig, U*X*L Publisher Erin Bealmear, Permissions Associate (Pictures) Kelly A. Quin, Imaging and Multimedia Content Editor Evi Seoud, Assistant Manager, Composition Purchasing and Electronic Prepress Dorothy Maki, Manufacturing Manager Mary Beth Trimper, Production Director Michelle DiMercurio,...

The Principles of Wiccan Belief

The Council of American Witches finds it necessary to define modern Witchcraft in terms of the American experience and needs. We are not bound by traditions from other times and other cultures, and owe no allegiance to any person or power greater than the Divinity manifest through our own being. As American Witches we welcome and respect all Life Affirming teachings and traditions, and seek to learn from all and to share our learning within our Council. It is in this spirit of welcome and...

The Towne Putnam feud

An angry Parris immediately accused Cloyce of being yet another witch spreading evil among the good Christians of Salem. Her defenders asserted, however, she had taken ill suddenly and that a gust of wind had slammed the door as she left in haste. Historians note that Parris clearly had a political motivation for calling Cloyce a witch she was the sister of Rebecca Nurse. The women were members of the Towne family, longtime enemies of the powerful Putnam clan, who had started the Salem Village...

Neo Paganism

As a result of the Enlightenment, a period of intellectual rationalism (reasoning) that started in seventeenth-century Europe and came to the United States in the eighteenth century, (see Chapter 5), cultural, social, economic, and technological changes continued to push fears of witches into the background. Nevertheless, belief in witchcraft still flourished, particularly among peasant societies in isolated areas of Europe. In the nineteenth century an organized revival of witchcraft, called...

Becomes Massachusetts judge

Samuel Sewall was born in Hampshire, England, on March 28, 1652, the son of Henry and Jane (Dummer) Sewall. When he was nine years old his parents moved to Newbury, Massachusetts, where he was educated at a private school. In Samuel Sewall was the only judge from the Salem trials to offer an apology for his actions. Reproduced by permission of Archive Photos, Inc. Samuel Sewall was the only judge from the Salem trials to offer an apology for his actions. Reproduced by permission of Archive...

Neo Panganism and environmentalism

The twentieth century was a time of great resurgence of pagan-inspired faiths throughout North America. Although many observers have described this movement as a revival of In 1999, three hundred years after the resolution of the Salem witch trials, a controversy arose at Fort Hood, Texas, a U.S. Army base known for tolerance of Wiccan soldiers. The controversy started when the press covered a Wiccan vernal equinox celebration in March 1999 and hate mail began flooding into the camp. Wiccans...

Malleus becomes basis for laws

Another cruel aspect of the witch-hunts was that relatives of the accused were charged money for all manner of details involved in the trial of their loved ones. Not only did they pay the salary of the judge torturer, they also bore the cost of food and lodging for the accused in prison. In addition, relatives were charged for the wood and straw used for kindling the execution fire, and they were billed for the lavish banquets typically held for officials before mass executions. In the case of...

Increase Mather

Reprinted in Major Problems in American Colonial History in 1993 Edited by Karen O. Kupperman In 1684 the prominent Boston minister Increase Mather (1639-1723) wrote An Essay for the Recording of Illustrious Providences, the first work published in the American colonies on the subject of witchcraft. Most commonly referred to as Remarkable Providences, it was also the document that helped spark the witch-hunts in New England. Mather was the son of Richard Mather, an English Puritan minister who...

Heinrich Kramer and Jakob Sprenger

From Malleus Maleficarum Hammer of Witches Published in 1486 Reprinted in The Malleus Maleficarum of Heinrich Kramer and James Sprenger in 1971 Edited by Montague Summers The Malleus Maleficarum Hammer of Witches was the official handbook for detecting, capturing, torturing, and killing witches see Chapter 1 . It was written in 1486 by Austrian priest Heinrich Kramer also spelled Kraemer and German priest Jakob Sprenger, at the request of Pope Innocent VIII, the head of the Roman Catholic...

Girls target Tituba and others

With the Parrises frequently away from home, Tituba spent most of her time alone with the children. After long, tedious days they would often gather by the hearth to relax and tell stories. Tituba was a fascinating storyteller, and the children were fascinated by her tales of Barbados. The only other stories they ever read or heard were from the Bible the Christian holy book , so these sessions by the fire were especially unique experiences for them. By late February 1693 several girls were...

Attacking Martha Corey

Martha Corey also spelled Cory was eighty-one years old and the third wife of Giles Corey, a wealthy landowner whose property straddled the line between Salem Village and Salem Town. Though a faithful church member, she was known for being opinionated. She had also created a ripple of controversy early in her adult life by giving birth to an illegitimate mulatto of mixed racial descent child. These factors combined against Martha Corey when, on March 19, Edward Putnam, a member of the powerful...

The first witch trials in the New World

Modern historians have noted a repeated pattern throughout New England in the early 1600s community conflict or stress had a direct relationship to accusations of witchcraft. In the first half of the century, Puritans worked hard to establish settlements under extremely adverse conditions in the wilderness of New England. The challenges of daily existence forced them to cooperate with one another. Yet at the same time they were exposed to constant tension and fear, which caused them to lash out...

Evil witch replaced by pitiful hag

New Englanders continued to target the same kind of person as a witch an elderly, reclusive woman remained under An episode that occurred in 1720 in Littleton, Massachusetts, was eerily similar to the event that started the Salem witch trials. It began when eleven-year-old Elizabeth Blanchard had visions, went into trances, and acted as if she were possessed.' She tore at her clothing, disfigured herself, and bit other people. She also reported sensations of being strangled and pricked by...

Girls turn on one of their own

On April 11 the group of afflicted girls suddenly turned against Mary Warren, one of their own friends. Warren was the house servant of John and Elizabeth Proctor. On this day, just before Elizabeth Proctor was to appear in court, the girls went into fits in front of a large crowd when Warren approached them. As they fell into their typical fits, Warren also had a particularly violent and bizarre series of seizures. Some of the girls called out that Warren was about to confess to being a witch...

Cotton Mather

Born 1663 Boston, Massachusetts Died 1728 Boston, Massachusetts Puritan minister Cotton Mather was instrumental in escalating the witch-hunts in New England during the late 1600s. Along with his father, Increase Mather 1639-1723 see primary source entry , who was also a prominent minister, he published works providing evidence that witchcraft was being practiced in Massachusetts communities. In 1693, after the start of the Salem trials, Cotton Mather wrote The Wonders of the Invisible World, in...

Grand Druid Council

Natural disasters, 31-32 Neo-Paganism, 81-89 black magic, 84 and Environmentalism, 88-89 focus on nature, 85 May Pole dance, 152 ill. and Murray, Margaret, 84 principles of Wiccan belief, 149, 151-152 as recognized religion, 83 Noyes, Nicholas, 61 Nurse, Rebecca, 109-114 arrest of, 204 and deafness, 113 declared not guilty, 59 defense of, 113 examination of, 111-113 excommunicated, 60 excommunication revoked, 74 hanged, 113 house of, 114 ill. grave, 113-114 trial of, 50-52 Oliver, Thomas, 159...

Salem Witch Trials Victims

Patrick, 104 Salem, Massachusetts, 19, 33 Salem Town, 34-35, 195 Salem Village, 34-35, 37 ill. , 195 Salem Village Meetinghouse, 51 ill. , 116 ill. Salem Witch Museum, 196 ill. Salem Witchcraft Trials, aftermath of, 69 Age of Reason, 75 Andros, Sir Edmund, 33, 35 ill. , apologies for, 70-71, 135-136, 141-144 background on, 34-36 Bishop, Bridget, 56-58, 57 ill. Booth, Elizabeth, 74 Bradbury, Mary, 64 Burroughs, George, 63 Calef, Robert, 72 Carrier, Martha, 63-64 Case of Conscience Concerning...

The Haffield family fortune

Rachel Clinton was born Rachel Haffield, the daughter of Richard and Martha Haffield, in Suffolk County, England, in 1629. Her father had a considerable amount of wealth and property but married below his social station when he took Martha as his second wife. Martha came from a poor family and apparently resented the higher social standing of Richard's first wife, and let it be known it in many ways, including showing great animosity toward the two children from his previous marriage. This...

Provides documentation of trials

Increase Mather, Cotton's father, collected copies of Calef's book and had them burned publicly in Harvard Square, the central courtyard at Harvard College, in Cambridge, Massachusetts. This act did not diminish the book's popularity, however, and Cotton Mather was immortalized as one of the main villains in the Salem trials. In an effort to defend Mather's reputation, several of his parishioners published a rebuttal to Calef's work titled Some Few Remarks upon a Scandalous Book 1701 , but it...

Timeline of Events in Witchcraft in America

Ancient peoples revere healers, known as witches, who practice magic. 600 a.d. Christian pope Gregory the Great proclaims all the gods of the heathens are demons. 1200s Christianity has replaced traditional religions, which Christians call paganism. 1300s Women are singled out as witches in Europe. 1484 Pope Innocent VIII issues an edict that calls for the eradication of witches and other heathens. The Dominicans, the Order of Preachers, is founded. Gutenberg prints the first Bible....

The Court of Oyer and Terminer

After a month of arrests William Phipps, the new Massachusetts governor, and Boston minister Increase Mather arrived from England with a new provincial charter for the colony see Chapter 3 . On June 2, 1692, Phipps created the Court of Oyer and Terminer an Old French language term for To hear and determine . This court was composed of Lieutenant Governor William Stoughton, Nathaniel Saltonstall, Bartholomew Gedney, Peter Sergeant, Samuel Sewall, Wait Still Winthrop, John Richards, John...

Tituba and the Parris Family

Little is known about Tituba's life aside from her connection to the Parris family, primarily because she was a slave but also because she came from far-away Barbados. It is believed that Parris bought Tituba and her husband John Indian while living in Barbados in the 1670s. He took them to Boston, Massachusetts, in 1680 after his failed business attempts in Barbados convinced him to seek a job as a pastor in New England. Eventually he was hired to start a church in Salem Village. Tituba and...

Tituba

Titubas Circle

Date of birth unknown Barbados, West Indies Date and place of death unknown Tituba was a female Carib Native South American slave in the household of Samuel Parris, the minister of Salem Village church see biography entry . She told voodoo stories to Parris's young daughter Elizabeth called Betty and his niece Abigail Williams. Betty and Abigail invited other local girls to join Tituba's storytelling circle, and before long all of the girls were lapsing into fits and accusing local residents of...

The trial of Rebecca Nurse

Samuel Parris

After Corey was found guilty accusations began flying anew across Salem Village and taking down other respected people. During Corey's trial, Reverend Lawson paid a visit to the home of Salem Village preacher Samuel Parris see biography entry , where Parris's neice Abigail Williams was living see Chapter 3 . Lawson witnessed Abigail undergoing a particularly severe fit. During the commotion she repeatedly Once the trials started, so many people wanted to come and watch that the hearings had to...

The beginning of the crisis

On January 20, 1692, the girls were experimenting with one of Tituba's voodoo fortune-telling tricks. They dropped an egg white into a glass of warm water, then waited for the egg to turn into the face of the man a certain girl would marry. But when Betty looked into the glass she saw the shape of a coffin instead of a man's face. She immediately flew into hysterics. She started ranting and raving, at times crouching on her hands and knees and barking like a dog. She also had severe convulsions...

From Diary Entries of Samuel Sewall

Went to Salem, where, in the meeting-house, the persons accused of witchcraft were examined was a very great assembly 'twas awful to see how the afflicted persons were agitated. Mr. Noyes pray'd at the beginning, and Mr. Higginson concluded. August 19, 1692. This day George Burroughs, John Willard, John Proctor, Martha Carrier and George Jacobs were executed at Salem, a very great number of spectators being present. Mr. Cotton Mather was there, Mr. Sims, Hale, Noyes, Chiever,...

From Malleus Maleficarum

Malleus Maleficarum

The method by which they profess their sacrilege through an open pact of fidelity to devils varies according to the several practices to which different witches are addicted. And to understand this it first must be noted that there are, as was shown in The First Part of the treatise, three kinds of witches namely, those who injure but cannot cure those who cure but, through some strange pact with the devil, cannot injure and those who both injure and cure. And among those who injure, one class...

Hawthorne and the Salem trials

Hawthorne was deeply affected by the legacy of his ancestors and the shameful association of his family with the Salem witch trials. He was especially troubled by the deeds of John Hathorne. Hawthorne reportedly added a w to the fam- Nathaniel Hawthorne's first Puritan ancestor was major William Hathorne, who settled in Boston, Massachusetts, in the 1630s before moving on to Salem as one of the founders of the town. In the introduction to The Scarlet Letter Hawthorne described his ancestor as a...

Robert Calef

Witches Illustration Black White

From More Wonders of the Invisible World 1697 Reprinted in American Literature A Prentice Hall Anthology, Volume 1 in 1991 Edited by Emory Elliott and others Boston merchant Robert Calef see biography entry was one of the chief critics of the Salem witch trials. In 1697 he wrote More Wonders of the Invisible World in response to Wonders of the Invisible World, a justification of the trials written by Cotton Mather in 1693. Mather, in turn, had based his own evidence on works written by his...

Research and Activity Ideas

Activity 1 Living history witch hysteria in colonial America Assignment Your social studies class has been selected to create a living history presentation on witch hysteria in colonial America. Your presentation will be featured in a school program, that will be attended by fellow students, parents, and members of the community. You have been asked specifically not to re-enact the Salem witch trials because most people know about these events. Instead, your project is to depict life in...

From Interrogation of Susannah Martin

Susannah Martin pleaded Not Guilty to the indictment of witchcraft brought in against her. The evidence of many persons very sensibly and grievously bewitched was produced The cast of Martin's eye struck people to the ground, whether they saw that cast or not. These were among the passages between the Magistrates and the Accused MAGISTRATE Pray, what ails these people MAGISTRATE But what do you think ails them MARTIN I don't desire to spend my judgement upon it. MAGISTRATE Don't you think they...

Things to remember while reading The Apology of Ann Putnam Jr

Ann Putnam, Jr.'s mother believed in the occult, and convinced Ann at an early age that there was an evil, hidden world of demons, devils, and witches. Ann Putnam, Jr. had accused many people of practicing witchcraft eventually some were executed. Ann Putnam, Sr. also played a principle part in accusing people of witchcraft. Historians have concluded that one of the motivating factors of the trials was the boundary dispute the Putnams had been waging with their neighbors for...

Neo Paganism recognized as religion

Witches America

By the 1970s numerous covens and spiritual groups were independently reviving rituals and beliefs based on ancient documents or rein-terpretations of myths. Many Neo-Paganists called themselves Wiccans. In 1975 the Covenant of the Goddess CoG was formed to incorporate hundreds of separate Wiccan covens and was officially recognized as a church in the United States. The CoG is the largest Wiccan organization, representing a variety of belief systems and practices. Its acceptance by official...

The Apology of Samuel Sewall

Samuel Sewall, sensible of the reiterated strokes of God upon himself and his family and being sensible, that as to the guilt contracted, upon the opening of the late Commission of Oyer and Ter- Samuel Sewall regretted having ordered the executions of hardworking, good people such as Giles Corey. Reproduced by permission of Culver Pictures, Inc. court that conducted the witchcraft trials sovereignty supreme rule or excellence or an example of it vouchsafe to grant as a privilege or special...

Primary Sources

Heinrich Kramer and Jakob Sprenger Excerpts from Malleus Maleficarum Hammer of Witches, 1486 Increase Mather Excerpt from Remarkable Providences 1684 witch hysteria in the colonies 99 Cotton Mather and Ezekial Cheever The Salem Trials Interrogation of Susannah Martin who was later executed as a witch 105 Rebecca Nurse Examination of Rebecca Nurse 1691-92 testimony of a prominent community member who was later executed as a witch 109 Ann Putnam, Sr. The Testimony of Ann Putnam, Sr. against...

Ann Putnam Jr

Ann Putnam

The Apology of Ann Putnam, Jr. 1706 Reprinted in A Delusion of Satan The Full Story of the Salem Witch Trials in 1995 Written by Frances Hill Many of the young girls who made accusations in the Salem witch trials apparently moved away from Salem when they became adults. Records do not indicate, however, what happened to Abigail Williams, Elizabeth Hubbard, Susannah Sheldon, or Mary Warren. The most detailed story found by historians is that of Ann Putnam, Jr. see biography entry , who stayed in...

Carl L Weschke

Timothy Sullivan Photography Biography

The Principles of Wiccan Belief Reprinted in Drawing Down the Moon in 1979 Written by Margot Adler Neo-Paganism is a term applied to a number of related movements that have attempted to revive ancient polytheistic belief in more than one god religions of Europe and the Middle East during the twentieth century. This term is customarily used in place of such words as pagan and witch because of negative associations with the witch-hunts that took place during the Middle Ages in Europe and during...

The Apology of Ann Putnam Jr

I desire to be humbled before God for that sad and humbling providence that befell my father's family in the year about '92 that I, then being in my childhood, should, by such a providence of God, be made an instrument for the accusing of several persons of a grievous crime, whereby their lives were taken away from them, whom now I have just grounds and good reason to believe they were innocent persons and that it was a great delusion of Satan that deceived me in that sad time, whereby I justly...

Things to remember while reading The Deposition of Thomas Knowlton

At this time in history it was very difficult for women to own property. It had to be left to them by their husbands when they died, and even then the government often found ways of taking the property away and giving it to some male relative. Rachel Clinton was said to have been seen flying around the village at night with her familiar. Reproduced by permission of the Gamma Liaison Network. For women of this time, it was often the case that one would be declared incompetent unable to manage...

Ann Putnam Sr

Ann Putnam Witch Trials

The Testimony of Ann Putnam, Sr. against Martha Corey and Rebecca Nurse 1692 Reprinted in Major Problems in American Colonial History in 1993 Edited by Karen O. Kupperman As the New England winter tightened its icy grip, February 1692 drew to a close in Salem, Massachusetts. Two more girls Elizabeth Hubbard and Ann Putnam, Jr. joined Elizabeth Betty Parris and Abigail Williams in having fits and seeing visions. At the time of her bewitchment, Ann Putnam, Jr. was only twelve years old see her...

Cotton Mather and Ezekiel Cheever

The Salem Trials Interrogation of Susannah Martin Reprinted in Eyewitness to America in 1997 Edited by David Colbert Cotton Mather, a Boston minister and a strong supporter of witch-hunts, and Ezekial Cheever, a court clerk, wrote an account of the Salem trials of 1692-93. The following excerpt shows a typical exchange, in this case between a magistrate judge here unnamed and an accused witch, Susannah Martin. Mather and Cheever supposedly provided a report on the Salem trials, yet Mather in...

Rachel Clinton

Born c. 1629 Suffolk County, England Died c. 1695 Ipswich, Massachusetts Homemaker, care giver, and accused witch Rachel Clinton was one of many people accused in the New England witch-hunts who regained her freedom in 1693 after a court-ordered reprieve. Her story shows how a formerly wealthy and respected citizen could be reduced to poverty after being wrongly accused of practicing witchcraft. It also one of the few documented accounts of witch-hunts elsewhere in Massachusetts prior to the...

Calef blasts bigots

A few participants in the Salem story tried to explain the events in full-length books. For instance, in 1696 John Hale This wax statue is supposed to represent the torture and ridicule of a witch waiting for execution. Reproduced by permission of Corbis Corporation Bellevue . This wax statue is supposed to represent the torture and ridicule of a witch waiting for execution. Reproduced by permission of Corbis Corporation Bellevue . wrote A Modest Inquiry, in which he contended that the witches...