Charles Folkard, 1931
In Salem during 1692, one hundred forty-one people had legal action proceeded against them. Forty-seven confessed. Nineteen were convicted and executed by hanging. One was pressed to death under stones. Two died in prison
(Weisman, pgs. 208-218, Hoffer, pgs. 148-149).
(Kramer, pg. 1)
Panoramic View of Salem, Bert Poole, 1895, Peabody Essex Museum
Theologically, participation in witchcraft was most heinous because the witch stood in defiance of God.
Folk belief in witchcraft was an occasion to place responsibility for failure of business, crops, ability to procreate, etc., upon a personal adversary.
Theologically witchcraft was a sign of divine wrath
(Weisman, pg. 57-58).
cause (then) of this sharpe punishment, is the very making of a league
with the Devill...whereby they covenant to use his helpe for the working
To be afflicted
by a witch is to have lost control of thoughts and actions, and to be under
the influence of evil spirits.
those Judgments of God, which are a great Deep, I suppose few are more
unfathomable than this, That pious and holy men suffer sometimes by the
Force of horrid Witchcrafts, and hellish Witches are permitted to break
through the hedge which our Heavenly Father has made about them that seek
gracious Party thus accused and abused by a malicious Devil, Prayed earnestly
with and for the Possessed creature; after which she confessed that Satan
had deluded her...Yea, she said, that the Devil had himself in the likeness
and shape of divers tormented her..."
Mather and Cotton Mather wrote about possession cases where the victim
might bark like a dog, bang their head against the wall, burn themselves
in the fire and other acts of odd, unexplainable behavior
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