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A Third Curiositie.

III. If a Drop of Innocent Blood should be shed, in the Prosecution of the Witchcrafts among us, how unhappy are we! For which cause, I cannot express my self in better terms, than those of a most Worthy Person, who lives near the present Center of these things.[142] “The Mind of God in these matters, is to be carefully look'd into, with due Circumspection, that Satan deceive us not with his Devices, who transforms himself into an Angel of Light, and may pretend Justice and yet intend Mischief.” But on the other side, if the Storm of Justice do now fall only on the Heads of those Guilty Witches and Wretches which have defiled our Land, How Happy!

The Execution of some that have lately Dyed has been immediately attended with a strange Deliverance of some, that had lain for many years in a most sad Condition, under


they knew not whose Evil Hands. As I am abundantly satisfy'd, That many of the Self-Murders committed here, have been the effects of a Cruel and Bloody Witchcraft, letting fly Dæmons upon the miserable Seneca's;[143] thus, it has been admirable unto me to see, how a Devillish Witchcraft, sending Devils upon them, has driven many poor people to Despair, and persecuted their minds with such Buzzes[144] of Atheism and Blasphemy, as has made them even run Distracted with Terrors: and some long Bow'd down under such a Spirit of Infirmity, have been marvelously Recovered upon the Death of the Witches.

One Whetford particularly ten years ago, challenging of Bridget Bishop (whose Trial you have had) with Stealing of a Spoon, Bishop threatned her very direfully: presently after this was Whetford in the Night, and in her Bed, visited by Bishop, with one Parker, who making the Room Light at their coming in, there discoursed of several mischiefs they would inflict upon her. At last, they pull'd her out, and carried her unto the Sea-side, there to drown her; but she calling upon God, they left her, tho' not without Expressions of their Fury. From that very Time, this poor Whetford was utterly spoilt, and grew a Tempted, Froward, Crazed sort of a Woman; a vexation to her self, and all about her; and many ways unreasonable. In this Distraction she lay, till those women were Apprehended, by the Authority; then she began to mend; and upon their Execution, was presently and perfectly Recovered, from the ten years madness that had been upon her.



It has been suggested that this means the Rev. John Higginson, the venerable senior minister at Salem, whose hesitation as to the proceedings may be inferred from Brattle's words (p. 184, above) — and from all else we know. See below, p. 398.


The philosopher Seneca, it will be remembered, was an advocate of suicide and ended his own life thus.