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

Narayan Family
Although the afflicted girls we supposedly struck to the ground when Susannah Martin looked at them, she strongly denied all charges against her. Reproduced by permission of Archive Photos, Inc.

indictment: formal accusation on the witnesses by giving them the "evil eye." (Believers in the supernatural thought a witch was capable of inflicting harm with a single glance.)

During the interview with the magistrate Martin engaged in extensive word play, evading his questions and leaving his statements open to interpretation. Their exchange is an example of the Puritan belief that witches could make evil spirits invade the body of a human being. For instance, the magistrate referred to "their Master" (the devil), "Black Art" (witchcraft), and Martin's "Appearance" (the form she took as a witch).

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