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Friday, October 11, 2013

Mass Hysteria - Salem

It's Halloween, go ahead - Google "Salem, Massachusetts".  

You will be bombarded with haunted attractions, kitchy-witch themed tours, restaurant and hotel information.  After living in Gloucester, Massachusetts for almost a decade, I traveled down to Salem on the cusp on Halloween one year and was shocked - and disappointed -  at the level of commercialism now attached to this place. 


After visiting Salem on a few occasions during off peak season - visiting the Essex Peabody Museum (recommended), Pickering Wharf (Friendship), to name a few -  I guess I had the romantic notion that I would be able to peacefully walk around to absorb the ghostly vibe and experience the pagan movement which is attached to Salem.  


Unfortunately, the throngs of people, traffic and pseudo-pagan shopping turned me off.  I was most disappointed with Official Witch Shoppe, much of which [in my opinion] was highly over-priced,  plastic or resin, made in a third world, cheap crap.  Nothing in that store felt authentic and I was offended at its profit orientation. I digress....


Originally, Salem was one of the most significant seaports in early America.  "The "City of Peace," holds the proud distinction of being not only the second oldest settlement in New England, but also the second incorporated city in Massachusetts. Salem was first settled in 1626 by Roger Conant and his associates who came from a fishing settlement at Cape Ann, four years before the settlement of Boston.



The first colony of settlers arrived in 1628 under the leadership of Captain John Endicott. The Indian name for the locality was Naumkeag. Salem has played a prominent part in our country's history. In fact, during Revolutionary times, the first armed resistance in this-country to British authority, was made by a party of Salem patriots at the North Bridge in this city on Feb. 26, 1775. By raising the draw bridge, they prevented Col. Leslie and his British troops from seizing patriot army stores and ammunition, hidden in North Salem.  

Commercially, Salem's name has been known to the whole world, holding almost supremacy in commerce during the early part of the 19th century. Her ships were pioneers in the India trade and opened up commerce with Africa, China, Russia, Japan, and Australia. Salem can boast of more noted men among her earlier residents than among any other American City." - salem.com

Of course, The Witch Trials in 1692, is the most associated event with Salem: 

Below are some actual and original excerpts from the Salem Witch Trials & general information about some of the unfortunates.  (The complete historical trial can be found online).  This gives you an idea about the temperature of those times. 
UNCONSCIONABLE.  SENSELESS.

Bridget Bishop,  Executed June 10, 1692 -

Death by Hanging

Bridget Bishop was the first person to be hanged at the Salem Witch Trials. By all accounts Bridget Bishop of Salem led an active, controversial life. She kept a house for travelers to stay over and offered refreshment and even shuffle board for her guests. She was known for her showy clothing considering the austere Puritan times. Her unwillingness to conform to the conventional manner of behaving and her outspokenness brought her criticism in the general community. She was a spirited lusty woman who ran a public house where drinking and flouting of Puritan morals was happily permitted. She was born in England in 1640. She was married and widowed three times. Her second husband, Thomas Oliver, was a widower with three children by his first marriage. Together Thomas and Bridget had a daughter. Their marriage had its own difficulties, they fought often. Thomas dies in 1679, and in 1680 Bridget was accused of witchcraft. She was found innocent and in 1687 she married Edward Bishop. Bridget was not yet 60 when on April 19, 1692 she was accused of witchcraft for the second time. She was hanged on June 10, 1692.


The Examination of Bridget Byshop at Salem Village 19. Apr. 1692
By John Hauthorn & Jonath: Corwin Esq'rs- Original witchcraft papers:


Sam: Braybrook affirmed that she told him to day that she had
been accounted a Witch these 10 years, but she was no Witch, the
Devil cannot hurt her.


I am no witch

Why if you have not wrote in the book, yet tell me how far you
have gone? Have you not to do with familiar Spirits? 


I have no familiarity with the devil.

How is it then, that your appearance doth hurt these? 

I am innocent.

Why you seem to act witchcraft before us, by the motion of your
body, which seems to have influence upon the afflicted. 


I know nothing of it. I am innocent to a Witch. I know not what
a Witch is

How do you know then that you are not a witch 

I do not know what you say.

How can you know, you are no Witch, & yet not know what a
Witch is. 


I am clear: if I were any such person you should know it.
You may threaten, but you can do no more than you are per-
mitted .

I am innocent of a witch.

What do you say of those murders you are charged with? 

I hope, I am not guilty of Murder

Then she turned up her eyes, the eyes of the afflicted were
turned up

It may be you do not know, that any have confessed to day, who
have been examined before you, that they are Witches. 


No. I know nothing of it.

John Hutchinson & John Lewis in open Court affirmed that they
had told her

Why look you, you are taken now in a flat lye. 

I did not hear them.


George Burroughs, Executed August 19, 1692

The only Puritan minister to be indicted and executed in the witch trials, Burrough was accused by Andover and Salem Village residents of being a ringleader and priest of the devil in the witch coven. Part of the evidence against Burrough was his exceptional physical strength, which was viewed as a sign of satanic assistance. Puritan inquisitor Rev. Cotton Mather, who suspected Burrough of being a Baptist and deviating from Puritan practices, attended his trial and urged the jury to convict him, which it did. When Burrough was on the ladder to the scaffold, he gave an impassioned speech protesting his innocence, and concluded by reciting the Lord’s Prayer—which, supposedly, witches were unable to do. His conspicuous religious fervency prompted some of the onlookers to shed tears and wonder if a terrible mistake had been made.

 Martha CarrierExecuted August 19, 1692

This victim of the witch hunt is best remembered, perhaps, for being denounced by one of the inquisitors, Rev. Cotton Mather, as a “rampant hag.” The daughter of one of the founding families of Andover, MA, Carrier was married to a servant and the mother of four children.  She was an independent, strong-willed person who didn’t like to defer to those who imagined themselves as her betters, and their dislike may have led to her becoming a target of the accusations. Carrier was fearless enough to denounce her youthful accusers. “It is a shameful thing that you should mind these folks that are out of their wits,” she admonished the court.  Unfortunately, that didn’t save her from execution.


Giles Corey, Pressed to Death September 16, 1692

The naked 80-year-old was laid down and covered with a board, then stones were heaped on top until the life was crushed out of him.  Corey was the one and only man in Massachusetts to be killed in this way.  So what was his heinous crime? His wife was awaiting trial for witchcraft and he’d had the audacity to speak out against his wife’s incarceration and the nonsense going on.
Of course, the harpie-like accusors then mendaciously turned on him accusing him of being a wizard. Naturally he knew he had no hope of being acquitted, so he chose to refuse to stand trial for crimes he had not committed.The punishment for contempt of court was death by pressing, a slow, painful death.

(Letter from Thomas Putnam to Judge Samuel Sewall -- Extract)
The Last Night my Daughter Ann was grievously Tormented by Witches, Threatning that she should be Pressed to Death, before Giles Cory . But thro' the Goodness of a Gracious God, she had at last a
little Respite. Whereupon there appeared unto her (she said) a man in a Winding Sheet; who told her that Giles Cory had Murdered him, by Pressing him to Death with his Feet; but that the Devil there
appeared unto him, and Covenented with him, and promised him, He should not be Hanged. The Apparition said, God Hardened his Heart, that he should not hearken to the Advice of the Court, and so
Dy an easy Death; because as it said, “It must be done to him as he has done to me.” The Apparition also said, That Giles Cory was Carry'd to the Court for this, and that the Jury had found the
Murder, and that her Father knew the man, and the thing was done before she was born. Now Sir, This is not a little strange to us; that no body should Remember these things, all the while that Giles Cory was in Prison, and so often before the Court. For all people now Remember very well, (and the Records of the Court also mention it,) That about Seventeen Years ago, Giles Cory kept a man
in his House, that was almost a Natural Fool: which Man Dy'd suddenly. A Jury was Impannel'd upon him, among whom was Dr. Zorobbabel Endicot ; who found the man bruised to Death, and
having clodders of Blood about his Heart. The Jury, whereof several are yet alive, brought in the man Murdered; but as if some Enchantment had hindred the Prosecution of the Matter, the Court
Proceeded not against Giles Cory , tho' it cost him a great deal of Mony to get off.

Martha Corey, Wife of Giles Corey ~ 

Executed September 22, 1692

Another respected church member who was among the second wave of suspects accused by the children.  She was hanged in September 1692.


She denyeth any hand in it

Why did you say if you were a Witch you should have
no pardon. 


Because I am a Woman

Lynda Dustin, Died in Prison March 10, 1693 - Unable to pay her jail fees.
 
Mary Easty, Executed September 22, 1692

Some historians’ accounts alternately spell her name as Easty or Eastey. The sister of fellow defendant Rebecca Nurse, Esty insisted in court that “I am clear of this sin” and that she had prayed against the devil “all my days.” Her demeanor was so convincing that even her questioner, magistrate John Hawthorne, was moved to turn to Esty’s accusers and ask, “Are you certain this is the woman?” They responded by writhing and screaming in feigned demonic possession, but nevertheless, Esty was released from jail.  In the days that followed, however, one of her accusers appeared to fall ill, and two of the others claimed that they had seen Esty’s specter tormenting her. Esty was arrested once again, and this time she was convicted and hanged.


Confess if you be guilty. 

I will say it, if it was my last time, I am clear of this sin.
Of what sin?

Of witchcraft. 

Are you certain this is the woman?

[Never a one could speak for fits.]

Sara Good, Executed July 19, 1692 - Good was pregnant at the time of her conviction, and officials stayed her execution until she could give birth. The infant died in prison, and Good was hanged in  July 1692.
"I am no more a witch than you are a wizard. If you take my life away, God will give you blood to drink."
Sarah Good was the daughter of John Solart, a prosperous innkeeper in Wenham, Massachusetts. Solart committed suicide in 1672, when Sarah was 17. Sarah’s mother remarried and her new husband took control of her inherited estate, so the daughters received little or nothing of what their father had left them. Sarah married and moved to Salem Village. Her husband soon died leaving her only debts. Sarah and her second husband, William Good, were obligated to repay the debts. Some of their land was sold, and they had to sell off the rest. At the time of the Witch Trials they were destitute and left with no recourse but to beg of Salem Village was a homeless woman who survived by begging in the streets and going door-to-door for handouts. Sarah was known to mumble things under her breath when people turned her away empty handed. Many citizens of Salem thought these mumbled utterances were curses aimed at them. Some attributed the death of their livestock to Sarah’s visits. On July 19, 1692, when she was hanged the Reverend Nicholas Noyes asked her to confess to being a witch. Her now famous response was, “I am no more a witch than you are a wizard. If you take away my life God will give you blood to drink." Twenty five years later Noyes died of a hemorrhage choking on his own blood.

Summary of Evidence v. Sarah Good:

Saw Good [ther] practice witchcraft.

Saw Good have a Catt besides the bird & a thing all over hair [ther]

Sarah Good appeared like a wolfe to Hubbard going to proctors & saw it sent by Good to Hubbard

Good [ther] hurt the Children again & the Children affirme the same Hubbard knew th[em] not being blinded by them & was once or twice taken dumb herslefe i:e: Titabe

Good caused her to pinch the Children all in their own persons

Saw Goods name in the booke, & the devell told her they made these marks & said to her she made ther marke & it was the same day she went to prison

Good [ther] came to ride abroad with her & the man shewed her Goods mark in the book

Good [ther] pinched her on the leggs & being searched found it soe after confession

Nota S. G. mumbled when she went away from Mr Parriss & the children after hurt.

Dorothy Goods Charge ag't. her mother Sarah Good . That she had three birds one black, one yellow & that these birds hurt the Children & afflicted persons.
her own Confession

Nota None here sees the witches but the afflicted & themselves Charges Sarah Osburne with hurting the Children -- looking upon them at the same time & not being afflicted must consequently be a Witch
Deliverance Hobs Confession being at a meeting of the witches in Mr: parisses feild when Mr. Burroughs preached & administred the sacram't to them saw Good amongst the rest & this fully agrees with what the afflicted persons relate. 22th. Apr (92)

Abigaile Hobbs' Confessionwas in Company with Sarah Good & knowes her to be a witch & afterwards was taken deafe & Mary walcott [ther] saw Good & osburn run their fingers into this d[pbar ]oits ears a little after she spoke & s'd Good told her she sh'd not speake

Mary Warren's Confession
That Sarah Good is a Witch & brought her the booke to signe to.

Elizabeth Hubbard
Mary Walcott
Ann puttnam
Mercy Lewis
Sarah Vibber
Abigail Williams aflicted by S. Good & saw her shape.
Richard Patch
W'm Allen that she app'rd to him when abed
W'm Good . that she hath a strange Tett or wort
John Hughes that he saw strange sights.
Sam; Braybrooke that she said she would not confess unless proved ag't her & that ther was but One Evidence & that an Indian & ther for did not fear

Elizabeth How, Executed July 19, 1692

The Ipswich woman was a kind soul who tenderly took care of her husband John How, who was blind. Nevertheless, something about her aroused others’ ire. Neighbors accused her of causing both their cows and their young daughter to die after they quarreled with her, and when she sought to become a member of a local church congregation, neighbors and kin opposed her. They subsequently experienced a spate of injured animals and other bad luck, which they interpreted as supernatural acts of revenge. In court, her own brother-in-law, Captain John How, accused her of killing his sow and inflicting upon him a painful numbness in his hand that made it impossible for him to work. She was also accused of sending her spectral form to attack a young girl and attempt to drag her into Salem pond. “God knows, I am innocent of anything of this nature,” she testified. But even though other witnesses vouched for her character, she was convicted and executed.

 George Jacobs Sr., Executed August 19, 1692


A twice-married father of three in his early seventies, Jacobs was accused by one of his servants, Sarah Churchill, and by his own granddaughter, Margaret.  Both of them had been fingered as witches and may have been trying to save their necks by implicating others.  Others, however, soon came forward to join them, including women who claimed that Jacobs’ spectral projection had beaten them with a walking stick.  But the most damning evidence, in the minds of his inquisitors, was a slight protuberance on his right shoulder that they believed to be the “witch’s teat” that the devil gave to those who’d made a covenant with him. Jacobs offered an unusual defense, arguing that although he was innocent, the devil may have taken his form to commit mischief. The court, however, decided that such shape-shifting could only have occurred with his consent, and he was condemned to death and executed.



The Examination of Geo: Jacobs Sen'r 10 May. 1692

Here are them that accuse you of acts of witchcraft 

Well, let us hear who are they, and what are they.

[Abigail Williams - Jacobs laught.]

Because I am falsely accused. -- Your worships all of you do you think this is true?

Nay, what do you think? 

I never did it.

who did it? 

Dont ask me.

Why should we not ask you? Sarah Churchwell accuseth you, there she is.
I am as innocent as the Child born to night, I have lived. 33. years here in Salem.
What then? 

If you can prove that I am guilty, I will lye under it, Sarah Churchwell said last night I was afflicted at Deacon Ingersolls , and Mary Walcot said it was a man with 2 staves, it was my master.
Pray do not accuse me, I am as clear as your worships; you must do right judgments.

What book did he bring you Sarah?

The same that the other woman brought.  The Devill can go in any shape.

Did he not [be] appear on the other side of the river and hurt you, did not you see him. 

Yes he did.

Look there, she accuseth you to your face, she chargeth you that you hurt her twise. Is it not true? 

What would you have me say? I never wronged no man in word nor deed.

Here are 3 evidences.
You tax me for a wizard, you may as well tax me for a buzard I have done no harm.
Is it no harm to afflict these?
I never did it.
But how comes it to be in your appearance?
The Devil can taken any likeness.
Not without their consent.


Susannah Martin, Executed July 19, 1692
From The Examination of Susan: Martin. 2. May 1692 

A widow in her late sixties, Martin was the wife of a blacksmith and the mother of eight. In the 1670s, she previously was accused of witchcraft and infanticide, but her husband had successfully countered the charges by suing her accusers for slander.  By 1692, however, he had died, and when 15 of her neighbors accused her of bewitching them or causing their farm animals to die, she had to confront the charges alone. Some historians have speculated that the accusations against Martin were linked to an inheritance dispute in which she was involved. Deeply religious, she comforted herself by reading “her worn old Bible” in jail as she awaited execution.

"Amen Amen A false tongue will never make a guilty person". 

Rebecca Nurse, Executed July 19, 1692

An elderly woman in ill health and a respected member of the church, Nurse was among the second wave of suspects accused by the children.  In her initial court hearing, Nurse protested her innocence, but when her youthful accusers cried out in fake pain and performed contortions to suggest that they were being tormented by her, prosecutors took her impassive reaction as a sign of guilt. She was bound over for trial and executed.
 You do not know my heart

You would do well if you are guilty to confess & give Glory to God

I am as clear as the child unborn

Sarah Osborne, Died in Prison May 10, 1692 
 
Alice Parker, Executed September 22, 1692

The wife of John Parker of Salem, she was arrested in May 1692 after being accused by the same servant who fingered John Proctor and his wife. Accused of “sundry acts of witchcraft, she was tried in September 1692, and convicted and hanged shortly afterward.


The Inditement of Alice Parker:
In the yeare aforesaid and divers other days and times as well before as after Certaine detestable arts called Witchcraft and Sorceries Wickedly Mallitiouslynd felloniously hath used practised and Exercised At and in the Towne of Salem in the County of Essex -- aforesaid in upon and against one Mary Walcot -- of Salem Village in-the-County -- aforesaid Single-Woman -- by which said Wicked acts the said Mary Walcott the day & Yeare aforesaid and divers other days & Times both before and after was and is Tortured aflicted Consumed Pined Wasted & Tormented and also for sundry other acts of Witchcraft by the said Allice Parker Committed and done before and since that time against the peace of our Sov'r Lord and Lady the King and Queen theire Crowne and Dignity and the form of the Stattute in that case made and Provided
Witnesses
Ann Putman
Mary Warren
Eliz: Hubard

Mary Parker, Executed September 22, 1692

 A wealthy widow from Andover, she apparently was unrelated to Alice Parker but was related to one of the other suspects, Frances Hutchins. Parker and her daughter Sarah were arrested and accused of witchcraft as well. When she entered the courtroom at her trial in September 1692, several of the young female accusers fell into writhing spells, even before her name was announced. Once witness testified that she had seen Mary Parker’s spirit, perched high on a beam above the court, at one of the hearings in Salem.  Parker was convicted and hanged shortly afterward.



Elizabeth Proctor, Wife of John Proctor - Burned at the Stake, August 19, 1692

John Proctor, Executed August 19, 1692


After inheriting a substantial fortune from his father,  Proctor went on to become a successful farmer, entrepreneur, and tavern keeper.  Unfortunately for him, he made the mistake of criticizing the young girls who were accusing witches, saying that if they were to be believed, “we should all be devils and witches quickly,” and recommended that they be whipped or even hung for their lies. After being falsely accused by their servant Mary Warren, Proctor and his wife were arrested in 1692. The sheriff went to their house and seized their goods and provisions, and sold off his cattle, leaving the Proctors’ children without a means of support.   Proctor petitioned the court to move his trial to Boston, or at the very least, to change the magistrates, because the locals “have already undone us in our estates, and that will not serve their turns without our innocent blood.”  It was to no avail. Proctor was convicted and executed in August 1692. His wife was spared because she was pregnant.

Ann Pudeator, Executed September 22, 1692

The twice-widowed mother of six, who worked as a midwife and nurse, inherited property from her second husband. In male-dominated colonial New England society, a self-sufficient professional woman was contrary to what was perceived as the rightful order of things, and that may have made her a target for witchcraft allegations.  The testimony of witnesses—including a girl who claimed Pudeator had tortured her by impaling a voodoo doll, and another who accused her of shape-shifting into a bird—was augmented by a constable’s discovery of “curious containers of various ointments” in her home.  (The latter, apparently, were either foot oil or grease that Pudeator used to make soap.) Despite her protestations of innocence, she was condemned to death and hanged.

Warrant for Arrest of Ann Pudeator and Alice Parker 

To the Marshall of Essex or Constable in Salem

You are in theire Majes'ts names hereby required forthwith to apprehend and bring before us Alice parker the wife of John parker of Salem and Ann Pudeator of Salem Widdow who stand Charged with sundry acts of Witchcraft by them Committed this day Contrary to the Laws of our Sov'r Lord & Lady. faile not Dated Salem. May the. 12'th 1692

[pbar ] us *John Hathorne ] Assists
*Jonathan. Corwin ] Assists

May 12'th -- 1692 I have apprehended the a bove named persons and Brought them att the place apointed by your honors
[Pbar ]r mee *George Herrick Marshall of Essex

Wilmott Reed, Executed September 22, 1692

 Also known as Wilmet Reed, she was the only Marblehead resident to be condemned for witchcraft.  Known locally as “Mammy,” Redd was an eccentric with a volatile temper, and liked to argue with her neighbors. Among other crimes, she was accused of sending her spectral doppelganger to Salem to torment one of the young girls who instigated the witch hunt. She was arrested, brought to Salem for trial, and then hanged in September 1692, in the final wave of executions.

(Examination of Wilmott Reed )

The examination of Wilmot Redd wife of Sam'll Red of marble hed fisherman 31 May 1692 

When this examinant was brought in Mercy Lewes Mary Walcot & Abigail Williams fell into fits

Mercy Lewis said this Woman hath Pincht me a great many times. Mary Walcot sais this Woman brought the Book to her.

Ann Putman jun'r saith she never hurt her, but she hath seen her once upon Mercy Lewes & once upon Mary Walcot the last fast day.

Eliz: Hubbard said this Examinant had brought the book to her, & told her she would knock her in the head, if she would not write.

Ann Putman said she brought the Book to her just now

Eliz: Booth fell into a fit, & Mary Walcot & Ann Putman said it was this Woman afflicted her.

Susan: Sheldon was ordered to go to the examinant but was knock down before she came to her, & being so carryed to said Redd in a fit, was made well after said Redd had graspt her arm.

Eliz: Hubbard dealt with after the same manner

This examinant was bid by the Magistrates to Look upon Eliz: Hubbard, & upon the examinants casting her eye upon said Hubbard , she the said Hubbard was knockt down.

Abig: Williams & John Indian being carried to the examinant in a grevious fit were made Well by her grasping their arms.

This examinant being often urged what she thought these Persons ailed; would reply, I cannot tell. Then being askt if she did not think they were Bewitcht: she answered I cannot tell And being urged for her opinion in the case All she would say was my opinion is they are in a sad condition.

Margaret Scott, Executed September 22, 1692

Born in England in 1615, Scott moved to New England with her parents at a young age and married a struggling tenant farmer, Benjamin Scott. The couple had seven children, only three of whom lived to adulthood. After her husband died in 1670, Scott lived off his meager savings until they were exhausted. In her old age, she was forced to beg for support from her neighbors and passersby to survive, which made her a target of resentment and probably led to her arrest.  At Scott’s trial, witnesses testified that she had visited them in spectral form and choked and pinched them. She was found guilty and hanged in September 1692, in the final wave of executions.

( Frances Wycom v. Margaret Scott )

The deposistion of frances wycum who testifyeth and saith that quickly after the first court at [Salem] about wicthcraft margerit Scott whom I very well knew: or hir Apperance came to me and did most greviously torment me by choaking and almost presing me to death: and so she did continue affleting me by times tell the 5'th August 1692 being the day of hir examination allso during the time of hir examination margerit scott did most greviously afflect me: and also severall times sence: and I beleve in my heart that margerit Scott is a wicth and that she has often afflected me by acts of wicthcraft frances Wycum owned: to the grand Inquest: that the above written evidence: is the truth upon oath: Sept'r 15: 1692: Jurat in Curia.

Roger Toothaker, Died in Prison June 16, 1692

Roger Toothakercame to Billerica about 1660 and was granted liberty to settle on the lot of land given to him by his step-father Ralph Hill, Sr. The land was in the northern part of town, east of the Concord River and south of the ford way bridge. On June 9, 1665 he married Mary Allen, daughter of Andrew and Faith Allen of Andover and sister of Martha Carrier. Among the children born to them were: Martha, born July 23, 1668; Allen born July 17, 1670; Roger, born November 27, 1672; Andrew, born October 4, 1679; and Margaret, born January 31, 1682/3. Although there is no documented proof of education or formal training, Roger Toothaker was known to have practiced a natural form of medicine and was referred to as “Doctor”.  

In May of 1692, a complaint was filed against Dr. Toothaker and he was arrested and sent to prison in Boston. Later in the same month a complaint was filed against his wife Mary Toothaker and their youngest daughter Margaret. They were arrested and imprisoned in Salem. Dr. Roger Toothaker died in the Boston jail on June 16, 1692, before he could come to trial. A full inquiry into his death was conducted and although it was determined that he died of natural causes, his death was found to be suspicious. 

Samuel Wardwell, Executed September 22, 1692

Born in Boston, Wardell was a carpenter who followed his brother Benjamin to Salem to build houses.  He was one of the few, and perhaps the only, defendant who actually had dabbled in magic, when he occasionally amused his neighbors by playing at telling their fortunes, a practice that was outlawed as black magic by the Puritans. Nevertheless, Wardell’s bigger crime may have been marrying a younger widow, Sarah Hawkes, in 1673. Her sizable inheritance—combined with his carpentry work—made the couple conspicuously affluent in a society where petty resentments and envy often blossomed into suspicions that someone had satanic assistance. After his arrest in 1692, Wardell—perhaps in an effort to save himself—conceded that he had agreed to a contract with the devil, who had promised to make him wealthy, and even confessed to evil deeds that he hadn’t been accused of. He later tried to recant, but it was too late. In September 1692, he was hanged.


(Examination of Samuel Wardwell )

The Examination and Confession of Sam'll wardwell. taken Sept 1st 92. before John Higginson Esq one of theire majties Justices of peace for the County of Essex

After the returneing of negative answers to severall questions He said he was sensible he was in the snare of the devil, He used to be much discontented that he could get no more work done, and that he had been foolishly Led along with telling of fortunes, which sometymes came to pass, He used also when any creature came into his field to bid the devil take it, and it may be the devil took advantage of him by that Constable foster of Andover said that this wardwell told him once in the woods that when he was a young man he could make all his cattell come round about him when he pleased. The said wardwell being urged to tell o truth he proceeded thus, That being ones in a discontented frame he saw some catts together with the appearance of a man who called himself a prince of the aire & promised him he should live comfortably and be a captain and requyred said wardwell to honor him which he promised to doe, and it was about twenty yeares agoe. He said the reason of his discontent then was because he was in love with a maid named Barker who slighted his love, And the first Appearance of the catt then was behind Capt bradstreets house, about a week after that A black man appeared in the day tyme at the same place and called himself prince and lord and told him the said wardwell he must worship and believe him, and promised as above, with this addition that he should never want for any thing but that the black man had never performed any thing, And further that when he would goe to prayer in his family the devil wold begin to be angry He saith also that at that tyme when the devil appeared & told him he was prince of the aire that then he syned his book by makeing a mark like a square with a black pen and that the devil brought him the pen and Ink He saith further he Covenanted with the devil untill he should arryve to the age of sixty years and that he is now about the age of 46 years. And at that tyme the devil promeised on his part as is above exprest, he said it was about a 4tnight agoe since he began to afflict, and confesses that mary Lilly and Hannah Tayler of Ridding were of his company Further he saith that martha Sprague was the first he afflicted, that the devil put him upon it and threatned him there unto

And that he did it by pincheing his coat & buttons when he was discontented, and gave the devil a co[mbar ]ission so to doe, He sayes he was baptised by the black man at Shaw shin river alone and was dipt all over and beleeves he renounced his former baptisme.

*John Higginson
Sam'll Wardwell: owned: to the grand Inquest: that: the above written: Conffession: was; taken: from his mouth and that he had said it: but: he s'd he belyed: himselfe: he also s'd it was alone one: he: knew he should dye for it: whether: he ownd it or no
Sept'r 13'th 1692

Sarah Wilds, Executed July 19, 1692



As a young woman, Wildes was considered glamorous and forward, and rumor had it that she had once engaged in illicit sex.  The accusations of witchcraft against her actually began decades before the Salem witch trials, when she married a widower, John Wildes, which raised the ire of his first wife’s family. The sister of Wildes’ first wife, Mary Reddington, accused Sarah Wildes of bewitching her, prompting John Wildes to threaten a slander suit unless she stopped. When one of Sarah Wildes’ new stepchildren, Jonathan Wildes, began to behave strangely, some took it for demonic possession, and the suspicions against Sarah Wildes continued to simmer. In 1692, things finally boiled over. Wildes’ son Ephraim was a local constable in Topsfield, and protested her innocence when she was arrested by his superior, Marshal George Herrick. One witness fingered her as being part of a coven of specters who whispered at the foot of a dying child’s bed, while others accused her of telekinetically sabotaging their ox cart after they borrowed her plow without her permission. Yet another testified that after quarreling with Wildes, she felt an apparently spectral cat walk across her in the middle of the night. Bizarre as the case against her was, Wildes was convicted and executed.


The examination of Sarah Wilds At a Court held at Salem Village [torn] 1692  
by the wop:_ John Hathorn & Jonathan Corwin.

The Sufferers were siezed with sou[torn] the accused came into the Court

Hath this woman hurt you?

Oh she is upon the beam.

[Goody Bibber that never saw her before sayd she saw her now upon the beam, & then said Bibber fell into a fit]

What say you to this are you guilty or not?

I am not guilty Sir.

Is this the woman? speaking to the afflict[ed]

Thay all, or most, said yes, & then fell into fits.

What do you say, are you guil[ty]

I thank God I am free.

Here is a clear evidence that [you have] been not only a Tormenter [but that] you have caused one to sig[ne the] book, the night before last [What] you say to this?

[I n]ever saw the book in my life [and I never] [saw these per]sons before

[Some of the afflicted fell into fits

[Do] you deny this thing that is [torn]

All fell into fits, & con[firmed] that the accused hurt th[em]

Did you never consent that [these should] be hurt?

Never in my life.

She was charged by some [with] hurting John Herricks mo[ther]

The accused denyed it.

Capt How gave in a relation [and] confirmation of the charge before made.

She was ordered to be taken away, & they all cryed out she was upon the Beam, & fell into fits.

John Willard, Executed August 19, 1692


Willard, a sheriff’s officer who lived in Salem, was ordered to bring in several of the accused. He declined, apparently out of a belief that they were innocent. As a result, he was himself accused. After initially escaping arrest in Salem by fleeing to Nashawag, about 40 miles away, he was taken into custody and put on trial in August 1692. The girls who claimed to have been afflicted by witchcraft testified that a spectral being that they called “the shining man” had materialized and prevented Willard’s specter from cutting one of their throats. Willard was found guilty and hanged shortly afterward.

To the Hon'ble John Hathorne and Jonathan Corwin Esq'rs att Boston Humbly Thees Dated Salem Village May 17'th 1692

This day Goeing to Salem village by yo'r order I found all the five persons brought their which wee was in persute of we had no sooner secured them in the watch house but Counstable John Puttnam came i n with John Willard haveing seized him att Nashaway hee beeing att worke w'th a howe, he No sooner arrived butt the afflicted persons made such an out crye that I was forced to pinion him I have an accompt from thees whoos names are under written that on the 14'th day of Instant may Daniell Willkins about tenn of the clock in the morning was taken speechless and never spoak untell the 16'th day in the intervale of time wee often Endeavoured to make him take something in A spoon but what hee took in which was but little hee spitt it out in our faces w'th that wee sent to the french Doctor but hee sent word againe that it was not a naturall Cause but absolutly witchcraft to his Judgment that same day two of the afflicted persons came up to vissett to Daniell Willkins The last night beeing the 16'th day Marcy Lewis and Mary Wallkott beeing their both did see the s'd John Willard and Goodwife Buckly upon the s'd Daniell Willkins and said that they would Kill him and in three hours after the s'd Daniell Departed this life in a Most dolful and solome Condition Therefore wee humbley begg of Yo'r Honnors to Dispach A Returne for an Examination to prevent any farther murther in the afflicted creatours who Continue in a lemetable Condition and so wee Remaine yo'r Hon'rs most humble servants

*G Herrick
This breeiffe accompt was taken from Benj Willkins by the consent of wee whoos names are under written and sent by me Ezekiell Cheever
* Geo. Herrick Marshall
* Joseph Neale Cos'tt
* John Putnam Cos'tt
* Jonathan putnam Constable
* Nathaniel Putnam
* John putnam sen
* Jonathan Walcott
* Thomas Flint
* Edward Putnam
* John Buxton
* Thomas Putnam
Mr. pariss is gon to Salem