By Richard Godbeer

The Salem witch hunt of 1692 is without doubt one of the so much notorious occasions in early American heritage; although, it used to be now not the one such episode to happen in New England that yr. Escaping Salem reconstructs the "other witch hunt" of 1692 that happened in Stamford, Connecticut. Concise and available, the booklet takes scholars on a revealing trip into the psychological global of early the USA, shattering the stereotype of early New Englanders as quickly to accuse and condemn. Drawing on eyewitness testimony, Richard Godbeer tells the tale of Kate department, a seventeen-year-old troubled by means of unusual visions and given to blood-chilling wails of discomfort and fright. department accused a number of ladies of bewitching her, of whom have been wear trial for witchcraft. Escaping Salem takes us contained in the Connecticut court and into the minds of the unusually skeptical Stamford townspeople. have been the soreness and screaming because of ordinary or supernatural explanations? used to be department easily faking the indicators? And if she used to be certainly bewitched, why think her particular accusations, seeing that her info got here from demons who may well good be mendacity? For the judges, Godbeer indicates, the trial was once a criminal thicket. All agreed that witches posed a true and severe chance, yet proving witchcraft (an invisible crime) in court docket used to be one other subject. The court docket in Salem had turn into mired in controversy over its use of doubtful facts. In an exciting bankruptcy, Godbeer examines Justice of the Peace Jonathan Selleck's notes on the way to be sure the guilt of somebody accused of witchcraft, offering an illuminating examine what constituted evidence of witchcraft on the time. The stakes have been high--if chanced on in charge, the 2 accused girls will be hanged. within the afterword, Godbeer explains how he used the trial facts to construct his narrative, delivering an within viewpoint at the historian's craft. that includes maps, photographs, and a particular bibliography, Escaping Salem is perfect to be used in undergraduate U.S. survey classes. it will probably even be used for classes in colonial American heritage, tradition, and faith; witchcraft within the early sleek international; and crime and society in early the USA.

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Extra info for Escaping Salem: The Other Witch Hunt of 1692

Sample text

As Daniel Wescot reflected upon Kate’s fits, it seemed to him that the creatures she saw were more than likely witches in animal form, conspiring to lure his servant into their hellish band. He knew from the sermons he had heard on the subject that witches, the Devil’s disciples on earth, were always campaigning to augment their hateful fellowship. It would not be surprising if they tried to tempt Kate with “fine things” and splendid feasts. Anyone could fall prey to such temptations—such was the moral weakness of all men and women.

During the days that followed, the woman whom Kate named as Goodwife Clawson appeared to her over and over again. On one such occasion the afflicted servant declared, “Goody Clawson, let’s have a turn, heels over head. ” A brief silence followed. ” Having spoken • 36 • Who Is It That Torments Her? these words, Kate got up and looked around. “She’s gone,” she declared, and then fell into convulsions. On another occasion Kate described the woman’s attire in detail. Mister Wescot went outside immediately after Kate had spoken and saw Goodwife Clawson in the street, dressed exactly as Kate had described.

The torments had been repeated the following night, though not to such extremes. Then Elizabeth Clawson was finally removed from Stamford and sent away to be kept with Mercy Disborough at the jail in Fairfield, since when, Kate declared, she had been afflicted only by Goody Miller. Once Mister Selleck finished questioning Kate, she left the house, accompanied by his Indian servant. But a few minutes later the Indian reappeared: Kate had got some three hundred yards from the house when she suddenly fell down in a fit.

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