Culminating in the notorious Salem witch trials of 1692, a rising tide of witchcraft hysteria flooded the Puritan communities of 17th-century New England. This volume recaptures the voices from both sides of the controversy with 13 original narratives by judges, ministers, the accused, and others involved in the trials and persecution of the accused. Plenty of people in early New England were persecuted for witchcraft, and not just in Salem, Mass. Witches had troubled the European colonists from the get-go. In 1635, Plymouth Colony made it a crime to “form a solemn compact with the devil by way of witchcraft.” As late as the 19th century, women were persecuted for cursing butter churns, making animals sick and causing people to die.Salem’s witchcraft hysteria was just the most spectacular (and certainly the most memorable) of the witch trials. Two hundred people faced charges, and 20 died at the executioner’s hand. But Hartford had its own mini-witch hysteria, as did many towns scattered throughout New England.
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