What happened next

By September 1693 many intellectuals and ministers started to question the use of spectral evidence in the witch trials. The belief that accused witches were possessed by the devil, rather than acting freely as a follower of the devil, started to take hold. Once people started to feel that the accused were really victims, the basis for the trials started to crumble. Mather, who had originally been against the use of spectral evidence but had pushed for the prosecution of some of the accused solely on that charge, worked to distance himself from the shame of the outcome of more than a year of trials and executions.

In 1700 Robert Calef published More Wonders of the Invisible World, a book mostly devoted to mocking Mather's book (see biography and primary source entries). Although Mather defended his views on witchcraft for the rest of his life, he was mostly ignored. He is still considered to be at fault for a great deal of the witchcraft hysteria.

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