Robert Calef, More Wonders of the Invisible World
In Salem Witchcraft Trials it was usual for the Accusers to tell of the black Man, or of a Spectre, as being then on the table.
G.L. Lincoln, ed., Narratives of the Witchcraft Case, New York, 1914.
Eustis Street Burying Ground, Roxbury (located at the intersection of Eustis and Washington Streets in Roxbury).
Grave of Robert Calef, Roxbury (Plate 37). His original tombstone no longer marks his grave but has been replaced by a more modern version. The original epitaph, which was written in Latin and was not placed on this latest stone, read in part:
- Whom have we lost STOUGHTON!
- Alas! I have said sufficient,
- \Tears press, I keep silence.
- He lived Seventy Years; On the Seventh of July,
- in the Year of Safety I701, He died. Alas! Alas! What Grief!
Indeed, history remembers all too well "What Grief" he brought to those accused in 1692. Robert Calef, author of More Wonders of the Invisible World, is buried here beneath a small gravestone (Plate 37) carved by a member of the Foster family of Dorchester. The inscription reads: "Here lyes Buried the Body of Mr. Robert Calef Aged Seventy one years Died April The Thirteenth 1719." Calef wrote his More Wonders, he tells us, as a rebuke to those who still believed in the methods used in the 1692 witch hunt. He feared the witch hunt "should be Acted over again inforced by their Example, rather than that it should Remain as a Warning to Posterity." It is widely believed that Calef received much of his material for the book from Thomas Brattle. The book's attacks on Reverend Cotton Mather were so harsh that no Boston printer would accept it, so Calef was forced to send it to England for publication. Calef himself was a cloth merchant and served Roxbury as a selectman until his death.
A Delusion of Satan : The Full Story of the Salem Witch Trials by Frances Hill, Karen Armstrong (Introduction). Paperback (October 1997)
Witchcraft Delusion in Colonial Connecticut, 1647-97 by J. J Taylor
An Impartial Account of the most Memorable Matters of Fact, touching the supposed Witchcraft in New England.
Mr. Parris had been some years a minister in Salem-Village, when this sad Calamity (as a deluge) overflowed them, spreading it self far and near:
He was a Gentleman of Liberal Education,
and not meeting with any great encouragement, or advantage in Merchandizing, to which for some time he apply'd himself,
betook himself to the work of the Ministry; this village being then vacant, he met with so much Encouragement, as to settle in that capacity among them.
After he had been there about two years, he obtained a grant from a part of the Town,
that the House and land he Occupied, and which had been Allotted by the whole People to the Ministry,
should be and remain to him, etc. as his own Estate in Fee Simple.
This occasioned great divisions both between the Inhabitants themselves, and between a considerable part of them and their said minister,
which Divisions were but as a beginning or Praeludium to what immediately followed.
It was the latter end of February 1691, when divers young persons belonging to Mr. Parris's Family, and one or more of the Neighborhood, began to Act, after a strange and unusual manner, viz. as by getting into Holes, and creeping under chairs and stools, and to use sundry odd Postures and Antick gestures, uttering foolish, ridiculous speeches, which neither they themselves nor any others could make sense of; the Physicians that were called could assign no reason for all this;
but it seems one of the, having recourse to the old shift, told them he was afraid they were bewitched: upon such suggestions, they that were concerned applied themselves to fasting and Prayer, which was attended not only in their own Private Families, but with calling in the help of others.
March the 11th. Mr. Parris invited several neighboring Ministers to join with him in keeping a Solemn day of Prayer at his own House; the time of the exercise those Persons were for the most part Silent, but after any one prayer was ended, they would Act and Speak strangely and ridiculously, yet were such as had been well educated and of good behavior, the one, a Girl of 11 or 12 years old, would sometimes seem to be in a Convulsion fit, her limbs being twisted several ways, and very stiff, but presently her fit would be over.
A few days before this Solemn day of Prayer, Mr. Parris's Indian man and woman made a cake of Rye meal, with the Childrens water, and baked it in he ashes, and as is said, gave it to a Dog;
this was done as a means to discover Witchcraft; soon after which those ill affected or afflicted Persons named several that they said they saw, when in their fits, afflicting of them.
The first complained of, was the said Indian Woman, named Tituba. She confessed that the Devil urged her to sign a Book, which he presented to her, and also to work mischief among the children, etc. She was afterwards committed to Prison, and lay there till Sold for her Fees. The account she since gives of it is, that her Master did beat her and otherways abuse her, to make her confess and accuss (such as he call'd) her Sister-Witches, and that whatsoever she said by way of confessing or accusing others, was the effect of such usage; her Master refused to pay her Fees, unless she would stand to what she had said.
Tituba, the woman from the West Indies who helped to start the hysteria, was promised by Parris that she would be freed for her cooperative testimony. He didn't follow through with his promise. She recanted her story, saying that Samuel Parris had beaten her into confessing herself a witch. She said that everything she'd confessed or said to accuse others was a direct result of those beatings. In May of 1693, Tituba was sold to someone else; she would never see the Parris family again.
The Children complained likewise of two other women, to be the authors of their hurt, viz. Sarah Good, who had long been counted a melancholy and distracted woman, and one Osburn, an old Bed-Rid Woman; which two were persons so ill thought of, that the accusation was more readily believed; and after examination before two Salem Magistrates, were committed:
March the 19th, Mr. (Deodat) Lawson (who had formerly been a preacher at the said Village) came thither, and hath since set forth in Print an account of what then passed, about which time, as he saith, they complained of Goodwife Cory, and Goodwife Nurse, Members of the Churches at the Village and at Salem, many others being by that time accused.
March the 21st. Goodwife Cory was examined before the Magistrates of Salem, at the Meeting House at the Village, a throng of spectators being present to see the novelty. Mr. Noyes, one of the Ministers of Salem, began with prayer, after which the Prisoner being called, in order to answer to what should be alleged against her, she desired that she might go to Prayer, ad was answered by the Magistrates, that they did not come to hear her pray, but to examine her.
The number of the Afflicted were at that time about ten, viz.
- Mrs. Pope,
- Mrs. Putnam,
- Goodwife Bibber, and
- Goodwife Goodall,
- Mary Wolcott,
- Mercy Lewes (at Thomas Putnams) and
- Dr. Grigg's Maid,
- and three girls, viz.
- Elizabeth Parris, daughter to the minister,
- Abigail Williams his neice, and
- Ann Putman,
which last three were not only the beginners but were also chief among these accusations.
These ten were most of them present at the examination, and did vehemently accuse her of Afflicting them, by biting, pinching, strangling, etc. And they said, they did in their fits see her likeness coming to them, and bringing a book for them to sign; Mr Hathorn, a Magistrate of Salem, asked her, why she afflicted those children? she said, she did not afflict them; he asked her, who did then? she said, I do not know? how should I know? she said, they were poor distracted creatures, and no heed to be given to what they said;
Mr. Hathorn and Mr. Noyes replied that it was the judgment of all that were there present, that they were bewitched, and only she (the Accused) said they were Distracted: she was Accused by them, that the Black Men whispered to her in her ear now (while she was upon examination) and that she had a Yellow Bird, that did use to Suck between her Fingers, and that the said bird did Suck now in the Assembly; order being given to look in that place to see if their were any sign, the Girl that pretended to see it said, that it was too late now, for she had removed a Pin and put it on her head, it was upon search found, that a Pin was there sticking upright.
When the Accused had any motion of their Body, hands or mouth, the Accusers would cry out, as when she bit her lip, they would cry out of being bitten, if she grasped one hand with the other, they would cry out of being Pinched by her, and would produce marks, so of the other motions of her Body, as complaining of being prest, ad when she lean'd to the seat next her, if she stirred her feet, they would stamp and cry out of pain there.
After the hearing the said Cory was committed to Salem Prison, and then their crying out of her abated.
March the 24th, Goodwife Nurse was brought before Mr. Hathorn and Mr. Curwin (Magistrates) in the Meeting House. Mr. Hale, minister of Beverly, began with Prayer, after which she being accused of much the same Crimes made the like answers, asserting her own Innocence with earnestness. The accusers were mostly the same, Tho. Putnam's wife, etc. complaining much. The dreadful shrieking from her and others, was very amazing, which was heard at a great distance; she was also Committed to Prison.
A child of Sarah Goods was also apprehended, being between four and five years old. The Accuser said this child bit them, and would shew such like marks; as those of a small set of teeth upon their Arms; as many of the Afflicted as the child cast its eye upon, would complain they were in Torment, which Child they also committed.
Concerning those that had been hitherto Examined and committed, it is among other things observed by Mr. Lawson that they were by the Accusers charged to belong to a company that did muster in Arms, and were reported to keep Days of Fast, Thanksgiving and Sacraments; and that those Afflicted (or Accusers) did in the assembly cure each others, even with a touch of their Hand, when strangled and otherwise tortured, and would endeavor to go to the Afflicted to relieve them thereby (for hitherto they had not used the experiment of bringing the Accused to touch the Afflicted, in order to their Cure) and could foretell one anothers Fits to be coming, and would say, look to such a one, she will have a Fit presently and so it happened, and that at the same time when the Accused person was present, the afflicted said they saw her spectre or likeness in other places at the Meeting House suckling of their Familiars.
The said Mr. Lawson being to preach at the village, after the Psalm was sung, Abigail Williams said, 'Now stand up and name your text'; after it was read, she said 'It is a long text.' Mrs. Pope in the beginning of the Sermon said to him 'Now their is enough of that.' In Sermon, he referring to his doctrine, Abigail Williams said to him, 'I know no doctrine you had, if you did name one I have forgot it.'
Ann Putman, an afflicted Girl, said, there was a Yellow Bird sate on the Hat as it hung on the Pin in the Pulpit. March 31, 1692. Was set apart as a day of Solemn Humiliation at Salem, upon the Account of the Business, on which day Abigail Williams said, That she saw a great number of Persons in the Village at the Administration of a Mock Sacrament, where they had Bread as red as raw Flesh, and red Drink.
April 1. Mercy Lewis affirmed, that she saw a man in white, with whom she went into a Glorious Place, viz. In her fits, where was no light of the Sun, much less of candles, yet was full of light and Brightness, with a great multitude in White Glittering Robes, who Sang the Song in 5 rev. 9. and the 110 and 149 Psalms; and was grieved that she might tarry no longer in this place. This White Man is said to have appeared several times to the others of them, and to have given then notice how long it should be before they should have another Fit.
April the 3d. Being Sacrament Day at the village, Sarah Cloys, Sister to Goodwife Nurse, a member of one of the churches, was (though' it seems with difficulty prevailed with to be) present;
but being entered the place, and Mr. Parris naming his text, 6 John 70. Have I not chosen you twelve and one of you is a Devil (for what may cause rest as a doubt whether upon account of her Sisters being Committed, or because of the choice of that text)
she rose up, and went out, the Wind shutting the door forcibly, gave occasion to some to suppose she went out in Anger, a might occasion a suspicion of her; however she was soon after complained of, examin'd and Committed.
April the 11th. By this time the number of the Accused and Accusers being much increased, was a Publick Examination at Salem, Six of the Magistrates with several ministers being present; ther appeared several who complained against others with hideous clamors and Screechings. Goodwife Proctor was brought thither, being accused or cryed out against; her husband coming to attend and assist her, as there might be need, the Accusers cryed out of him also, and that with so much earnestness, that he was Committed with his wife.
About this time besides the Experiment of the Afflicted falling at the sight, etc., they put the Accused upon saying the Lords Prayer, which one among them performed, except in that petition, deliver us from evil, she exprest it thus, deliver us from all evil.
This was looked upon as if she prayed against what she was now justly under, and being put upon it again, repeated those words, Hallowed be thy name, she expressed it Hollowed be they name, this was counted a depraving the words, as signifying to make void, and so a Curse rather then a Prayer, upon the whole it was concluded that she also could not say it, etc. Proceeding in this work of examination and commitment, many were sent to Prison. As an instance, see the following mittimus:
To their majesties Goal-keeper in Salem:
You are in Their Majesties name hereby required to take into your care, and safe custody, the Bodies of William Hobs, and Deborah his Wife, Mary Easty, the Wife of Isaac Easty, and Sarah Wild, the Wife of John Wild, all of Topsfield; and Edward Bishop of Salem-Village, Husbandman, and Sarah his wife, and Mary Black, a negro of Lieutenant Nathaniel Putmans of Salem-Village; also Mary English the wife of Philip English...
who stand charged with High Suspicion of Sundry Acts of Witchcraft, done or committed by them lately upon the bodies of Ann Putman, Mercy Lewis, and Abigail Williams, of Salem Village, whereby great damage hath been done to the Bodies of the said persons, as according to the complaint of Thomas Putman and John Buxton of Salem-Village...
- John Hathorn
- Jona. Curwin Salem April 22, 1692 ...
Thomas Putnam and his wife, Ann, died within 15 days of each other. Thomas died on May 24, 1699, at age 47, and Ann died on June 8 at the age of 38. Their daughter, Ann Putnam, Jr., had been the leading instigator of the trials. There is some indication that the Putnams regretted their participation in the affair.
Or another quote: "In 1699, both of Ann's parents died within two weeks of each other. Ann, 19, was left to raise her nine orphaned brothers and sisters, ranging in age from 7 months to 18 years. Ann never married. She devoted her life to raising her siblings. She died in 1716 at the age of 37.
The occasion of Bishops being accused of was, he being at an examination in Salem, when at an Inn the afflicted Indian, was very unruly, whom he undertook, and so managed him, that he was very orderly, after which in riding home, in company of him and other Accusers, the Indian fell into a Fit, and clapping hold with his teeth on the back of the man that rode before him, thereby held himself upon the horse, but said Bishop striking him with his stick, the Indian soon recovered, and promised he would do so no more, to which Bishop replied, that he doubted not, but he could cure them all, with more to the same effect; immediately after he was parted of them, he was cried out, etc.
May 14, 1692. Sir William Phips arrived with Commission from Their Majesties to be Governor, pursuant to the New-Charter; which he now brought with him; the ancient charter having been vacated by King Charles, and King James (by which they had a power not only to make their own laws; but also to chuse their own Governor and Officers.) and the Country for some years was put under an absolute Commission-Government, till the Revolution, at which time, though' more than two thirds of the People were for reassuming their ancient Government, (to which they had encouragement by his then Royal Highnesses Proclamation) yet some that might have been better imployed (in another Station) made it their business (by printing, as well as speaking) to their utmost to divert them from such a settlement; and so far prevailed, that for about seven Weeks after the Revolution, here was not so much as a face of any Government; but some few Men upon their own nomination would be called a Committee of Safety; but at length the Assembly prevailed with those that had been of the Government, to promise that the would reassume; and accordingly a Proclamation was drawn, but before publishing it, it was underwritten, that they would not have it understood that they would resume Charter Government: so that between Government and no Government, this Country remaind till Sir William arrived; agents being in this time impowered in England, which no doubt did not all of them act according to the minds and interests of those that Impowered them, which is manifest in their not acting jointly in what was done; so that this place is perhaps a single instance (even in the best of Reigns) of a Charter not restored after so happy a revolution. The settlement by Mr. Phips, his being come Governor, put an end to all disputes of these things, and being arrived and having read his commission, the first thing he exerted his power in, was said to be giving Orders that irons should be put upon those in prison; for though' for some time after these were committed, the Accusers ceased to cry out of them, yet know the cry against them was renewed, which Occasioned such Order, and though' there was partiality in the executing it (some having taken them off almost as soon as put on) yet the cry of these Accusers against such ceased after this order.
May 24th. Mrs. Cary of Charlestown, was Examined and Committed. Her husband, Mr. Nathaniel Cary, has given account thereof, as also of her escape, to this effect:
"I having heard, some days, that my wife was accused of witchcraft, being much disturbed at it, by advice we went to Salem Village, to see if the afflicted knew her; we arrived there 24th May; it happened to be a day appointed for examination; accordingly, soon after our arrival, Mr. Hathorn and Mr. Curwin, etc., went to the meeting-house, which was the place appointed for that work; the minister began with prayer; and having taken care to get a convenient place, I observed that the afflicted were two girls of about ten years old, and about two or three others, of about eighteen; one of the girls talked most, and could discern more than the rest. The prisoners were called in one by one, and as they came in were cried out of, etc. The prisoners were placed about seven or eight foot from the justices, and the accusers between the justices and them; the prisoners were ordered to stand right before the justices, with an officer appointed to hold each hand, lest they should therewith afflict them; and the prisoners' eyes must be constantly on the justices; for if they looked on the afflicted they would either fall into their fits, or cry out of being hurt by them. After examination of the prisoners, who it was afflicted these girls, etc., they were put upon saying the Lord's prayer, as a trial of their guilt. After the afflicted seemed to be out of their fits, they would look steadfastly on some one person, and frequently not speak; and then the justices said they were struck dumb, and after a little time would speak again; then the justices said to the accusers, 'Which of you will go and touch the prisoner at the bar ? ' Then the most courageous would adventure, but before they had made three steps would ordinarily fall down as in a fit The justices ordered that they should be taken up and carried to the prisoner, that she might touch them; and as soon as they were touched by the accused, the justices would say, 'they are well,'before I could discern any alteration; by which I observed that the justices understood the manner of it. Thus far I was only as a spectator; my wife also was there part of the time, but no notice taken of her by the afflicted, except once or twice they came to her and asked her name.
"But I having an opportunityto discourse Mr. Hale (with whom I had formerly acquaintance) I took his advice what I had best to do, and desired of him that I might have an opportunity to speak with her that accused my wife; which he promised should be, I acquainting him that I reposed my trust in him. Accordingly he came to me after the examination was over, and told me I had now an opportunity to speak with the said accuser, viz, Abigail Williams, a girl of I I or 12 years old; but that we could not be in private at Mr. Parris's house, as he had promised me; we went therefore into the ale-house, where an Indian man attended us, who it seems was one of the afflicted: to him we gave some cider: he shewed several scars, that seemed as if they had been long there, and shewed them as done by witchcraft, and acquainted us that his wife, who also was a slave, was imprisoned for witchcraft. And now, instead of one accuser, they all came in, who began to tumble down like swine; and the three women were called to attend them. We in the room were all at a stand, to see who they would cry out of; but in a short time they cried out, 'Cary '; and immediately after a warrant was sent from the justices to bring my wife before them, who were sitting in a chamber near by, waiting for this.
'Being brought before the justices, her chief accusers were two girls. My wife declared to the justices, that she never had any knowledge of them before that day. She was forced to stand with her arms stretched out. I did request that I might hold one of her hands, but it was denied me; then she desired me to wipe the tears from her eyes, and the sweat from her face, which I did; then she desired she might lean herself on me, saying she should faint.
"Justice Hathorn replied, she had strength enough to torment those persons, and she should have strength enough to stand. I speaking something against their cruel proceedings, they commanded me to be silent, or else I should be turned out of the room. The Indian before mentioned was also brought in, to be one of her accusers: being come in he now (when before the justices) fell down and tumbled about like a hog, but said nothing. The justices asked the girls who afflicted the Indian; they answered, she (meaning my wife), and [that she] now lay upon him; the justices ordered her to touch him, in order to his cure, but her head rnust be turned another way, lest, instead of curing, she should make him worse, by her looking on him, her hand being guided to take hold of his; but the Indian took hold on her hand, and pulled her down on the floor, in a barbarous manner; then his hand was taken off, and her hand put on his, and the cure was quickly wrought. I, being extremely troubled at their inhuman dealings, uttered a hasty speech, ' That God would take vengeance on them, and desired that God would deliver us out of the hands of unmerciful men.' Then her mittimus was writ. I did with difficulty and charge obtain the liberty of a room, but no beds in it; if there had, could have taken but little rest that night. She was committed to Boston prison; but I obtained a habeas corpus to remove her to Cambridge prison, which is in our county of Middlesex. Having been there one night, next morning the jailer put irons on her legs (having received such a command ); the weight of them was about eight pounds: these with her other afflictions soon brought her into convulsion fits, so that I thought she would have died that night. I sent to entreat that the irons might be taken o~; but all entreaties were in vain, if it would have saved her life, so that in this condition she must continue. The trials at Salem coming on, I went thither, to see how things were managed; and finding that the spectre evidence was there received, together with idle, if not malicious stories, against people's lives, I did easily see which way it would go; for the same evidence that served for one, would serve for all the rest. I acquainted her with her danger; and that if she were carried to Salem to be tried, I feared she would never return. I did my utmost that she might have her trial in our own county, I with several others petitioning the judge for it, and were put in hopes of it; but I soon saw so much, that I understood thereby it was not intended, which put me upon consulting the means of her escape; which through the goodness of God was effected, and she got to Rhode-Island, but soon found herself not safe when there, by reason of the pursuit after her; from thence she went to New York, along with some others that had escaped their cruel hands; where we found his excellency Benjamin Fletcher, Esq, governor, who was very courteous to us. After this, some of my goods were seized in a friend's hands, with whom I had left them, and myself imprisoned by the sheriff, and kept in custody half a day, and then dismissed; but to speak of their usage of the prisoners, and their inhumanity shewn to them at the time of their execution, no sober Christian could bear. They had also trials of cruel mockings; which is the more, considering what a people for religion, I mean the profession of it, we have been; those that suffered being many of them church members, and most of them unspotted in their conversation, till their adversary the devil took up this method for accusing them."
May 31st. Captain John Aldin (Indian fighter, naval commander, now at seventy a man of wealth, was one of the leading figures of New England) was examined at Salem, and Committed to Boston Prison. The Prison-Keeper seeing such a Man Committed, of whom he had good esteem, was after this the more Compassionate to those who were in Prison on the like account; and did refrain from such hard things to the Prisoners, as before he had used. Mr. Aldin himself has given an account of his examination, in these words...
An Account of John Aldin, Senior, was dealth with at Salem-Village.
John Aldin, senior, of Boston, in the County of Suffolk, Mariner, on the 28th day of May, 1692, was sent for by the Magistates of Salem, in the County of Essex, upon the Accusation of a company of poor distracted or possessed creatures or Withes; and being sent by Mr. Stroughton, arrived there the 31st of May and appeared at Salem-Village before Mr. Gidney, Mr. Hathorn, and Mr. Curwin.
Those Wenches being present who plaid their juggling tricks, falling down, crying out, and staring in Peoples faces; the Magistrates demanded of them several times, who it was of all the People in the Room that hurt them? One of these accusers pointed several times at one Capt. Hill, there present but spake nothing; the same accuser had a Man standing at her back to hold her up; he stooped down to her ear, then she cried out, Aldin, Aldin afflicted her; one of the Magistrates asked her if she had ever seen Aldin, she answered no, he asked her how she knew it was Aldin' she said the Man told her so.
Then all were ordered to go down into the street, where a Ring was made; and the same Accuser cried out, 'there stands Aldin, a bold fellow with his hat on before the Judges, he sells powder and shot to the Indians and the French, and lies with the Indian Squaws and has Indian Papooses.' Then was Aldin committed to the Marshall's Custody, and his sword taken from him; for they said he afflicted them with his sword. After ome hours Aldin was sent for to the Meeting-House in the Village before the Magistrates; who required Aldin to stand upon the Chair, in the sight of all the People. The Accusers cried out that Aldin did pinch them, then, when he stood upon the Chair, in the sight of all the people, a good way distant from them, one of the Magistrates bid the Marshall to hold open Aldin's hands, that he might not pinch those Creatures. Aldin asked then why they should think, that he should come to that Village to afflict those persons that he never knew or saw before? Mr. Gidney bid Aldin confess, and give glory to God; Aldin said he hoped he should give glory to God, and hoped he should never gratifie the Devil; but appealed to all that ever knew him to be such a person, and challenged any one, that could bring in any being such a one. Mr. Gidney said he had known Aldin many years, and had been at sea with him, and always look'd upon him to be an honest man, but now he did see cause to alter his judgment: Aldin answered he was sorry for that, but he hoped God would clear up his Innocency, that he would recall that judgment again, and he hoped that he should with Job, maintain his integrity until he died. They bid Aldin look upon his accusers, which he did and then they fell down. Aldin asked Mr. Gidney, what reason there could be given, why Aldin's looking upon him did not strike him down as well; but no reason was given tat I heard. But the accusers were brought to Aldin to touch them, and this touch they said made them well. Aldin began to speak of the Providence of God in suffering these creatures to accuse Innocent persons. Mr. Noyes asked Aldin why he would offer to speak of the Providence of God. God y his providence (said Mr. Noyes) governs the world, and keeps it in peace; and so went on with Discourse, and stop'd Aldin's mouth as to that. Aldin told Mr. Gidney, that he could assure them, there was a lying Spirit in them, for I can assure you that there is not one word of truth in all these say of me. But Aldin was again committed to the Marshall, and his Mittimus written...
To Boston Aldin was carried by a Constable, no Bail would be taken for him; but was delivered to the Prison-keeper, where he remained fifteen weeks; and then observing the manner of Tryals, and Evidence then taken, was at length prevailed to make his escape, and being returned, was bound over to answer at the Superior Court at Boston, the last Tuesday in April, 1693. And was there cleared by Proclamation, none appearing against him. per John Aldin.
At Examination, and at other times, it was usual for the Accusers to tell of the black Man, or of a Spectre, as being then on the table, etc. The people about would strike with Swords, or sticks at those places. One Justice broke his cane at this exercise, and sometimes the Accusers would say, they struck the Spectre, and it is reported several of the accused were hurt and wounded thereby, though at home at the same time.
The Justices proceeding in the works of Examination, and Commitment, to the end of May, there was by that time about a Hundred persons Imprisoned upon that Account. June 2. A special Commission of Oyer and Terminer having been issued out, to Mr. Stoughton, the New Lieutenant Governor, Major Saltonstall, Major Richards, Major Gidney, Mr. Wait Winthrop, Captain Sewall, and Mr. Sergeant, These (a Quorum of them) sat at Salem this day; where the most that was done this week, was the Tryal of one Bishop, alias Oliver, of Salem; who having long undergone the repute of a Witch, occasioned by the Accusations of one Samuel Gray: He was about 20 years since, having charged her with such crimes, and though upon his death-bead he testified his sorrow and repentance for such accusations, as being wholly groundless; yet the report taken up by his means continued, and she being accused by those afflicted, and upon search a Tet, as they call it, being found, she was brought in guilty by the Jury; she received her sentence of death, and was Executed, June 10, but made not the least confession of anything related to Witchcraft...
The 30th of June, the Court according to Adjournment again sat; five more were tried, viz. Sarah Good and Rebecca Nurse, of Salem-Village; Susanna Martin of Amsbury; Elizabeth How of Ipswich; Sarah Wildes of Topsfield; these were all condemned that Sessions, and were all Executed on the 19th of July.
At the Tryal of Sarah Good, one of the afflicted fell in a Fit, and after coming out of it, she cried out of the prisoner, for stabbing her in the breast with a knife, and that she had broken the knife in the stabbing of her, accordingly a piece of the blade of a knife was found about her. Immediately information being given to the Court, a young Man was called, who produced a Haft and part of the Blade, which the Court having viewed and compared, saw it to be the same. And upon inquiry the young Man affirmed, that yesterday he happened to break that knife, and that he cast away the upper part, this afflicted person being then present. The Young Man was dismist, and she was bidden by the Court not to tell lyes and was improved ( after as she had been before) to give Evidence against the prisoners.
At Execution, Mr. Noyes urged Sarah Good to Confess, and told her she was a Witch, and she knew she was a Witch, to which she replied, I am no more a witch than you are a wizard, and if you take away my life, God will give you blood to drink.'
At the trial of Rebecca Nurse, this was remarkable that the Jury brought in their verdict not Guilty, immediately all the accusers in the Court, and suddenly after all the afflicted out of the Court, made a hideous out-cry, to the amazement, not only of the spectators, but the Court also seemed strangely surprised; one of the Judges expressed himself not satisfied, another of them as he was going off the bench, said they would have her indicted anew. The chief Judge said he would not impose upon the jury; but intimated, as if they had not well considered one Expression of the prisoners, when she was upon Tryal, viz, That when one Hoods, who had confessed herself to be a witch, was brought into the Court to witness against her, the Prisoner turning her head to her said, 'What, do you bring her? she is one of us,' or to that effect; this together with the clamours of the accusers, induced the Jury to go out again, after their Verdict, Not Guilty. But not agreeing, they came into the Court, and she being then at the bar, her words were repeated to her, in order to have had her explanation of them, they found the Bill and brought her in guilty; these words being the inducement to it, as the Foreman has signified in writing, as Follows:
July 4, 1692. I Thomas Fisk, the Subscriber hereof, being one of them that were of the Jury the last week at Salem-Court, upon the tryal of Rebecca Nurse, etc., being desired by some of the relations to give a Reason why the Jury brought her in Guilty, after her verdict not Guilty; I do hereby give my reasons to be as follows, viz., When the Verdict not Guilty was, the honoured Court was pleased to object against it, saying to them, that they think that they let slip the words, which the Prisoner at the bar spoke against herself, which were spooked in reply to Goodwife Hobs and her daughter, who had been faulty in setting their hands to the Devil's book, as they have confessed formerly; the words were, 'What, do these persons give in Evidence against me now, they used to come among us.' After the honoured Court had manifested their dissatisfaction of the Verdict, several of the Jury declared themselves desirable to go out again, and thereupon the desired court gave leave; but when we came to consider the case, I could not tell how to take her words, as an Evidence against her, till she had a further opportunity to put her sense upon them, if she would take it; and then going into Court, I mentioned the words aforesaid, which by one of the court were affirmed to have been spoken by her, she being then at the bar, but made no reply, nor interpretation of them; whereupon these words were to me a principle evidence against her. Thomas Fisk
When Goodwife Nurse was informed what use was made of these words, she put in this following Declaration into the Court.
These presents do humbly shew, to the honoured Court and Jury, that I being informed, that the Jury brought me in guilty, upon my saying that Goodwife Hobbs and her daughter were of our Company; but I intended no otherwise, then as they were Prisoners with us, and therefore did then, and yet do judge them not legal evidence against their fellow prisoners. And I being something hard of hearing, and full of grief, none informing me how the Court took up my words, and therefore had not opportunity to declare what I intended, when they said they were of our Company.
After her Condemnation she was by one of the ministers of Salem excommunicated; yet the Governor saw cause to grant a reprieve, which when known (and some say immediately upon granting) the Accusers renewed their dismal outcries against her, insomuch that the Governor was by some Salem Gentlemen prevailed with to recall the reprieve, and she was executed with the rest.
The Testimonials of their Christian behavior, both in the course of her life, and at her Death, and her extraordinary care in educating her children, and setting them good Examples, etc., under the hands of so many, are so numerous, that for brevity they are here omitted.
It was at the Tryal of these that one of the Accusers cried out publickly of Mr. Williard Minister in Boston, as afflicting of her; she was sent out of the Court, and it was told about she was mistaken in the person.
August 5. The Court again sitting, six more were tried on the same account, viz. Mr. George Burroughs, sometime minister of Wells, John Procter, and Elizabeth Procter his wife, with John Willard of Salem-Village, George Jacobs Senior, of Salem, and Martha Carryer of Andover; these were all brought in Guilty and Condemned; and were all executed Aug 19, except Proctor's wife, who pleaded Pregnancy.
Mr. Burroughs was carried in a cart with the others, through the streets of Salem to execution; when he was upon the ladder, he made a speech for the clearing of his Innocency, with such Solemn and Serious expressions, as were to the Admiration of all present; his prayer (which he concluded by reading the Lords' prayer) was so well worded, and uttered with such composedness, and such (at least seeming) fervency of Spirit, as was very affecting, and drew tears from many (so that it seemed to some, that the Spectators would hinder the Execution).
The accusers said the black Man stood and dictated to him; as soon as he was turned off, Mr. Cotton Mather, being mounted upon a horse, addressed himself to the People, partly to declare, that he was no ordained minister, and partly to possess the people of his guilt; saying, that the Devil has often been transformed into the Angel of light; and this did somewhat appease the people, and the Executions went on; when he was cut down, he was dragged by the halter to a Hole, or grave, between the rocks, about two foot deep, his shirt and breeches being pulled off, and an old pair of trousers of one Executed, put on his lower parts, he was so put in, together with Willard and Carryer, one of his hands and his Chin, and a Foot of one of them being left uncovered.
John Willard had been imployed to fetch in several that were accused; but taking dissatisfaction from his being sent, to fetch up some that he had better thoughts of, he declined the Serve, and presently after he himself was accused of the same Crime, and that with such vehemence, that they sent after him to apprehend him; he had made his escape as far as Nashawag, about 40 miles from Salem; yet 'tis said those Accusers did then presently tell the exact time, saying, now Willard is taken. John Procter and his Wife being in Prison, the Sheriff came to his House and seized all the Goods, Provisions, and Cattle that he could come at, and sold some of the Cattle at half price, and killed others, and put them up for the West-Indies; threw out the Beer out of a Barrel, and carried away the Barrel; emptied a Pot of Broth, and took away the Pot, and left nothing in the House for the support of the Children: No part of the said Goods are known to be returned. Procter earnestly requested Mr. Noyes to pray with and for him but it was wholly denied, because he would not own himself to be a Witch. During his imprisonment he sent the following Letter, in behalf of himself and others.
SALEM-PRISION, July 23, 1692. Mr. Mather, Mr. Allen, Mr. Moody, Mr. Willard, and Mr. Bailey.
Reverend Gentlemen. The Innocency of our Case with the Enmity of our Accusers and our Judges, and Jury, whom nothing but our Innocent Blood will serve their turn, having Condemned us already before our Tryals, being so much incensed and engaged against us by the Devil, makes us bold to Beg and Implore you Favorable Assistance of this our Humble Petition to his Excellency, That if it be possible our Innocent Blood may be spared, which undoubtedly otherwise will be shed, if the Lord doth not mercifully step in. The Magistrates, Ministers, Jewried, and all the people in general, being so much enraged and incensed against us by the Delusion of the Devil, which we can term no other by reason we know in our own Consciences, we are all Innocent Persons. Here are five Persons who have lately confessed themselves to be Witches, and do accuse some of us, of being along with them at a Sacrament, since we were committed into close Prision, which we know to be Lies. Two of the 5 are (Carriers Sons) Young-men, who would not confess any thing till they tyed them Neck and Heels till the Blood was ready to come out of their Noses, and ëtis credibly believed and reported this was the occasion of making them confess that they never did, by reason they said one had been a Witch a Month, and another five weeks, and that their Mother had made them so, who has been confined here this nine Weeks. My son William Procter, when he was examined, because he would not confess that he was Guilty, when he was Innocent, they tyed him Neck and Heels till the Blood gushed out at his Nose, and would have kept him so 24 hours, if one more Merciful than the rest, had not taken pity on him, and caused him to be unbound. These actions are very like the Popish Cruelties. They have already undone us in our Estates, and that will not serve their turns, without our Innocent Bloods. If it cannot be granted that we can have our Trials at Boston, we humbly beg that you would endeavor to have these Magistrates changed, and others in their rooms, begging also and beseeching you would be pleased to be here, if not all, some of you at our Trials, hoping thereby you may be the means of saving the shedding our Innocent Bloods, desiring your Prayers to the Lord in our behalf, we rest your Poor Afflicted Servants,
JOHN PROCTER, etc.
He pleaded very hard at Execution, for a little respite of time, saying that he was not fit to Die; but it was not granted. Old Jacobs being Condemned, the Sheriff and Officers came and seized all he had, his Wife had her Wedding Ring taken from her, but with great difficulty obtained it again. She was forced to buy Provisions of the Sheriff, such as he had taken, towards her own support, which not being sufficient, the Neighbours of Charity relieved her.
Margaret Jacobs being one that had confessed her own Guilt, and testified against her Grand-Father Jacobs, Mr. Burroughs, and John Willard, She the day before Execution, cam to Mr. Burroughs, acknowledging that she had belyed them, and begged Mr. Burroughs Forgiveness, who not only forgave her, but also Prayed with and for her. She wrote the following Letter to her Father.
From the Dungeon in Salem-Prison, August 20, 92.
Honored Father, After my Humble Duty Remembered to you, hoping in he Lord of your good Health, as Blessed be God I enjoy, though in abundance of Affliction, being close confined here in a loathsome Dungeon, the Lord look down in mercy upon me, not knowing how soon I shall be put to Death, by means of the Afflicted Persons; my Grand-Father having Suffered already, and all his Estate Seized for the King. The reason of my Confinement is this, I having, through the Magistrates Threatnings, and my own Vile and Wretched Heart, confessed several things contrary to my Conscience and Knowledge, though to the Wounding of my own Soul, the Lord pardon me for it; but Oh! the terrors of a wounded Conscience who can bear. But blessed be the Lord, he would not let me go on in my Sins, but in mercy I hope so my Soul would not suffer me to keep it in any longer, but I was forced to confess the truth of all before the Magistrates, who would not believe me, but tis their pleasure to put me in here, and God knows how soon I shall be put to death. Dear Father, let me beg your Prayers to the Lord on my behalf, and send us a Joyful and Happy meeting in Heaven. My Mother poor Woman is very Crazey, and remembers her kind Love to you, and to Uncle, viz. D.A. So leaving you to the protection of the Lord, I rest your Dutiful Daughter,
At the time appointed for her Tryal, she had an imposthume in her head, which was her escape.
September 9. Six more were tried, and received Sentence of death, viz.Martha Cory of Salem-Village, Mary Easty of Topsfield, Alice Parker and Ann Pudeater of Salem, Dorcas Hoar of Beverly, and Mary Bradberry of Salisbury. September 10, Giles Cory was prest to death.
September 17 Nine more received Sentence of Death, viz. Margaret Scot of Rowly, Goodwife Redd of Marblehead, Samuel Wardwell, and Mary Parker of Andover, also Abigail Falkner of Andover, who pleaded pregnancy, Rebecka Eames of Boxford, Mary Lacy, and Ann Foster of Andover, and Abigail Hodges of Topsfield. Of these, eight were executed, September 22, viz. Martha Cory, Mary Easty, Alice Parker, Ann Pudeater, Margaret Scot, Willmet Redd, Samuel Wardwell, and Mary Parker.
Giles Cory pleaded not guilty to his indictment, but would not put himself on Tryal by the Jury (they having cleared none upon tryal) and knowing there would be the same witnesses against him, rather chose to undergo what death they would put him to. In pressing his tongue being forced out of his mouth, the Sheriff with his Cane forced it in again, when he was dying. He was the first in New England that was ever prest to death.
The Cart going up the Hill with these eight to Execution, was for some time at a sett; the afflicted and others said, that the devil hindered it, etc.
Martha Cory, Wife to Giles Cory, protesting her Innocency, concluded her Life with an Eminent prayer upon the ladder. Wardwell having formally confessed himself guilty, and after denied it, was Soon brought upon his Tryal; his former Confession and Spectre Testimony was all that appeared against him. At execution while he was speaking to the People, protesting his Innocency, the Executioner at the time being smoaking Tobacco, the smoak coming in his face, interrupted his Discourse, those Accusers said, the Devil hindered him with smoak.
Mary Easty, Sister also to Rebecka Nurse, when she took her last farewell of her husband, Children and Friends, was, as is reported by them present, as Serious, Religious, Distinct, and Affectionate as could well be exprest, drawing tears from the eyes of almost all present. It seems besides the Testimony of the Accusers and Confessors, another proof, as it was counted, appeared against her, it having been usual to search the accused for Tets; upon some parts of her body, not here to be named was found an Excresence, which they called a tet. Before her death she put up the following Petition:
"To the Honorable Judge and Bench now sitting in Judicature in Salem and the reverend Ministers, humbly sheweth, That whereas your humble poor Petitioner being Condemned to die, doth humbly beg of you, to take it into your Judicious and Pious Consideration, that your poor and humble petitioner, knowing my on Innocency (blessed be the Lord for it) and seeing plainly the Wiles and Subtilty of my Accusers, by my self, cannot but judge charitably of others, that are going the same way with myself, if the Lord step not mightily in. I was confined a whole month on the same account that I am now condemned for, and then cleared by the afflicted persons, as some of your honors know, and in two days time I was cried out upon by them, and have been confined, and now am condemned to die. The Lord above knows my Innocency then, and likewise doth now, as at the great day will be unknown to Men and Angels. I Petition your Honors not for my own life, for I know I must die, and my appointed time is set, but the Lord he knows it is; if it be possible, that no more Innocent blood be shed, which undoubtedly cannot be avoided in the way and course you go in. I question not, but your Honors do the utmost of your powers, in the discovery and detection of Witchcraft and Witches, and would not be guilty of Innocent blood for the world; but in my own Innocency I know you are in the wrong way. The Lord in his infinite mercy direct you in this great work, if it be his blessed will, that Innocent blood be not shed; I would humbly beg of you, that your honors would be pleased to Examine some of the confessing Witches, I being confident there are several of them have belyed themselves and others, as will appear, if not in this World, I am sure in the World to come, whither I am going; and I question not, but yourselves will see an alteration in these things: They say, myself and others have made a league with the Devil, we cannot confess. I know and the Lord knows (as will shortly appear) they belye me, and so I question not but they do others; the Lord alone, who is the searcher of all hearts, knows that as I shall answer it at the Tribunal Seat, that I know not the least thing of Witchcraft, therefore I cannot, I durst not belye my own soul. I beg your Honors not to deny this, my humble Petition, from a poor dying Innocent person, and I question not but the Lord will give a blessing to your Endeavors.
After execution, Mr. Noyes turning him to the bodies, said, what a sad thing it is to see Eight firebrands of Hell hanging there.
In October 1692, One of Whenham complained of Mrs. Hale, whose Husband, the Minister of Beverly, had been very forward in his prosecutions, but being fully satisfied of his wife's sincere Christianity, caused him to alter his Judgment; for it was come to a stated controversy, among the New England Divines, whether the Devil could afflict in a good man's shape; it seems nothing else could convince him: yet when it came so near to himself, he was soon convinc'd that the Devil might so Afflict. Which same reason did afterwards prevail among many others; and much influenced to the succeeding charge at Tryals. October 7th. (Edward Bishop and his wife having made their escape out of prison) this day Mr. Corwin the Sherriff, came and seized his goods, and Cattle, and had it not been for his second son (who borrowed ten pounds and gave it to him) they had been wholly lost, the receipt follows, but it seems they must be content with such a receipt as he would give them.
Received this 7th day of October 1692, of Samuel Bishop of the town of Salem, of the County of Essex , in New England, Cordwainer, in full satisfaction, a valuable Summ of Money, for the goods and the Chattels of Edward Bishop, Senior, of the Town and Country, aforementioned, Husbandman; which Goods and Chattels being seized, for that the said Edward Bishop, and Sarah his wife, having been committed for Witchcraft and Felony, have made their escape; and their goods and chattels were forfeited unto their Majesties, and now being in possession of the said Samuel Bishop; and in behalf of Their Majesties. I do hereby discharge the said Goods and Chattels, the day and year above written, as witness my hand.
GEORGE CORWIN, Sheriff.
Sheriff George Corwin died in 1697 at age 31. Phillip English, who had lost a considerable amount of money by way of Corwin's collecting practices, put a lean on Corwin's corpse. The body was deposited on George Corwin's front lawn until his executors paid Phillip English 60 pounds and 3 shillings, almost all that was left of the estate.
But before this the said bishops Eldest Son, having married into that family of the Putmans, who were chief prosecutors in this business; he holding a cow to be branded lest it be seiz'd, and having a push or boyle upon his thigh, with his straining it broke; this is that that was pretended to be burnt with the same brand; and is one of the bones thrown to the Dogmatical to pick, in (Cotton Mather's) Wonders of the Invisible World. p.143. The other, of a Corner of a sheet, pretended to be taken from a Spectre, it is known that it was provided the day before, by that Afflicted person, and the third bone of a Spindle is almost as easily provided, as the piece of the Knife; so that Apollo needs not herein be consulted. (i.e. it needs no oracle to explain the matter)
Mr. Philip English, and his wife, having made their escape out of prison, Mr. Corwin, the sheriff, seized his estate, to the value of about fifteen hundred pound, which was wholly lost to him, except about three hundred pound value (Which was afterwards restored.)
After goodwife Hoar was condemned, her estate was seized, and was also bought again for eight pound.
George Jacobs, son to old Jacobs, being accused, he fled; then the officers came to his house; his wife was a woman crazy in her senses, and had been so several years. She it seems had been also accused. There were in the house with her only four small children, and one of them sucored her eldest daughter, being in prison: the officer persuaded her out of the house, to go along with him, telling her she should speedily return; the children ran a great way after her, crying.
When she came where the afflicted were, being asked, they said they did not know her; at length one said, " Don't you know Jacobs, the old witch?" and then they cried out of her, and fell down in their fits. She was sont to prison, and lay there ten months; the neighbours of pity took care of the children to preserve them from perishing
About this time a new scene was begun; one Joseph Ballard, of Ardover, whose wife was ill (and atter died of a fever), sent to Salem for some of those accusers, to tell him who afflicted his wife; others did the like: horse and mare were sent from severai places to fetch those accusers who had the spectral sight, that they might thereby tell who afilicted those that were any ways ill.
When these came into any place where such were, usuall they fall into a fit: after which, being asked who it was that affiicted thc person, they would, for the most part, name one whom thev said sat on the head, and another that sat on the lower parts, of the afflicted. Soon after Ballard's sending (as above) more than fifty of the people of Andover were complained of, some afflicting their neighbours. Here it was that many accused themselves of riding upon poles through the air; many parents believing their children to be witches, and many husbands their wives, etc. When these accusers came to the house of any upon such account, it was ordinary for other young people to be taken in fits, and to have the samc spectral sight.
Mr. Dudley Bradstreet, a justice of peace in Andover, having granted out warrants against and committed thirty or forty to prison, for the supposed witchcrafts, at length saw cause to forbear granting out any more warrants.
Soon after which, he and his wife were cried out of; himself was (by them) said to have killed nine persons by witchcraft, and found it his safest course to make his escape.
A worthy gentleman of Boston being about this time accused by those at Andover, he sent by some particular friends a writ to arrest those accusers in a thousand pound action for defamation, with instructions to them to inform themselves of the certainty of the proof, in doing which their business was perceived, and from thenceforward the accusations at Andover generally ceased.
In October some of these accusers were sent for to Gloucester, and occasioned four women to be sent to prison; but Salem prison being so full it could receive no more, two were sent to Ipswich prison. In November they were sent for again by Lieutenant Stephens, who was told that a sister of his was bewitched; in their way, passing over Ipswich bridge, they met with an old woman, and instantly fell into their fits. But by this time the validity of such accusations being much questioned, they found not that encouragement they had done elsewhere, and soon withdrew.
These accusers swore that they saw three persons sitting upon Leutenant Stephens's sister till she died; yet bond was accepted for those three.
And now, Nineteen persons having been hang'd, and one prest to death, and Eight more condemned, in all Twenty and Eight, of which above a third part were members of some of the Churches of New England, and more than half of them of a good Conversation in general, and not one clear'd;
about fifty having confess'd themselves to be witches, of which not one Executed; above an Hundred and Fifty in prison, and above two hundred more the accused; The special commission of Oyer and Terminer comes to a period, which has no other foundation that the Governor's Commission, and had proceeded in the manner of swearing witnesses, viz. By holding up the hand, (and by receiving Evidences in writing) according to the ancient Usage of this Country; as also having their Indictments in English. In the trials, when they were indicted for afflicting, Pining, and wasting the Bodies of particular persons by witchcraft, it was usual to hear evidence of matter foreign, and of perhaps twenty or thirty years standing, about over-setting carts, the death of Cattle, unkindness to relations, or unexpected Accidents befalling after some quarrel. Whether this was admitted by the law of England, or by what other law, wants to be determined; the Executions seem mixt, in pressing to death for not pleading, which most agrees with the Laws of England, and sentencing women to be hanged for witchcraft, according to the former practice of the country, and not by burning which is said to have Been the law of England. And though the confessing witches were many; yet not one of them that confessed their own guilt, and abode by their Confession were put to death.
Samuel Parris was finally ousted by the people of Salem Village in 1697. Because of his continuous refusal to take advice, the ministry lost all sympathy for him. At one point they had offered him a good job, if he would end his squabble with the village and leave gracefully. He refused so when he was finally ousted, the best jobs he could get were in impoverished conditions. His reputation followed him everywhere he went. Never again would he be in a position like the one he had attained at Salem Village. Little Elizabeth married Benjamin Barnes of Concord in 1710. Samuel Parris died in Sudbury on February 27, 1720.
Several prominent players in the tradgedy died shortly afterwards. Marshall Herrick died in 1695 (age 37). He was responsible for the arrests made, imprisonment, and examinations of the early victims. On Dec. 8th, 1692, he petioned the Court to give him recompense for the time taken away from his family and the loss of his house