University of Virginia Library

Chapter II.

I. In the latter end of the year 1691,[386] Mr. Samuel Paris, Pastor of the Church in Salem-Village, had a Daughter of Nine, and a Neice of about Eleven years of Age, sadly Afflicted of they knew not what Distempers; and he made his application to Physitians, yet still they grew worse: And at length one Physitian gave his opinion, that they were under an Evil Hand. This the Neighbours quickly took up, and concluded they were bewitched. He had also an Indian Man servant, and his Wife who afterwards confessed, that without the knowledge of their Master or Mistress, they had taken some of the Afflicted persons Urine, and mixing it with meal had made a Cake, and baked it, to find out the Witch, as they said. After this, the Afflicted persons cryed out of the Indian Woman, named Tituba, that she did pinch, prick, and griev-ously torment them, and that they saw her here and there, where no body else could. Yea they could tell where she was, and what she did, when out of their humane sight. These Children were bitten and pinched by invisible agents; their arms, necks, and backs turned this way and that way, and returned back again, so as it was impossible for them to do of themselves, and beyond the power of any Epileptick Fits, or natural Disease to effect. Sometimes they were taken dumb, their mouths stopped, their throats choaked, their limbs wracked and tormented so as might move an heart of stone, to sympathize with them, with bowels of compassion for them. I will not enlarge in the description of their cruel Sufferings, because they were in all things afflicted as bad as John Good-wins Children at Boston, in the year 1689. So that he that


will read Mr. Mathers Book of Memorable Providences, page 3, etc., may Read part of what these Children, and afterwards sundry grown persons suffered by the hand of Satan, at Salem Village, and parts adjacent, Anno 1691, 2. Yet there was more in these Sufferings, than in those at Boston, by pins in-visibly stuck into their flesh, pricking with Irons, (As in part published in a Book Printed 1693, viz. The Wanders of the Invisible World).[387] Mr. Paris seeing the distressed condition of his Family, desired the presence of some Worthy Gentle-men of Salem, and some Neighbour Ministers to consult to-gether at his House; who when they came, and had enquired diligently into the Sufferings of the Afflicted, concluded they were preternatural, and feared the hand of Satan was in them.

II. The advice given to Mr. Paris by them was, that he should sit still and wait upon the Providence of God to see what time might discover; and to be much in prayer for the discovery of what was yet secret. They also Examined Tituba, who confessed the making a Cake, as is above mentioned, and said her Mistress in her own Country was a Witch, and had taught her some means to be used for the discovery of a Witch and for the prevention of being bewitched, etc. But said that she her self was not a Witch.

III. Soon after this, there were two or three private Fasts at the Ministers House, one of which was kept by sundry Neighbour Ministers, and after this, another in Publick at the Village, and several days afterwards of publick Humiliation, during these molestations, not only there, but in other Con-gregations for them. And one General Fast by Order of the General Court, observed throughout the Colony to seek the Lord that he would rebuke Satan, and be a light unto his people in this day of darkness.[388]

But I return to the History of these troubles. In a short time after other persons who were of age to be witnesses, were molested by Satan, and in their fits cryed out upon Tituba and Goody O. and S. G.[389] that they or Specters in their Shapes did grievously torment them; hereupon some of their Village


Neighbours complained to the Magistrates at Salem, desiring they would come and examine the afflicted and accused to-gether; the which they did: the effect of which examination was, that Tituba confessed she was a Witch, and that she with the two others accused did torment and bewitch the com-plainers, and that these with two others whose names she knew not, had their Witch-meeting together; relating the times when and places where they met, with many other cir-cumstances to be seen at large. Upon this the said Tituba and O. and S. G. were committed to Prison upon suspicion of acting Witchcraft. After this the said Tituba was again ex-amined in Prison, and owned her first confession in all points, and then was her self afflicted and complained of her fellow Witches tormenting of her, for her confession, and accusing them, and being searched by a Woman, she was found to have upon her body the marks of the Devils wounding of her.

IV. Here were these things rendred her confession credi-ble. (1.) That at this examination she answered every ques-tion just as she did at the first. And it was thought that if she had feigned her confession, she could not have remembred her answers so exactly. A lyar we say, had need of a good memory, but truth being always consistent with it self is the same to day as it was yesterday. (2.) She seemed very peni-tent for her Sin in covenanting with the Devil. (3.) She be-came a sufferer her self and as she said for her confession. (4.) Her confession agreed exactly (which was afterwards veri-fied in the other confessors) with the accusations of the afflicted. Soon after these afflicted persons complained of other persons afflicting of them in their fits, and the number of the afflicted and accused began to increase. And the success of Tituba's confession encouraged those in Authority to examine others that were suspected, and the event was, that more confessed themselves guilty of the Crimes they were suspected for. And thus was this matter driven on.

V. I observed in the prosecution of these affairs, that there was in the Justices, Judges and others concerned, a con-scientious endeavour to do the thing that was right. And to that end they consulted the Presidents[390] of former times and precepts laid down by Learned Writers about Witchcraft.


As Keeble on the Common Law, Chapt. Conjuration, (an Author approved by the Twelve Judges of our Nation.)[391] Also Sir Mathew Hales Tryal of Witches, Printed Anno 1682.[392] Glan-vils Collection of sundry tryals in England and Ireland, in the years 1658, 61, 63, 64, and 81.[393] Bernards Guide to Jurymen,[394] Baxter and R. Burton, their Histories about Witches and their discoveries.[395] Cotton Mather's Memorable Providences relating to Witchcrafts, Printed Anno 1689.

VI. But that which chiefly carried on this matter to such an height, was the increasing of confessors till they amounted to near about Fifty: and four or six of them upon their tryals owned their guilt of this crime, and were condemned for the same, but not Executed. And many of the confessors con-firmed their confessions with very strong circumstances: As their exact agreement with the accusations of the afflicted; their punctual agreement with their fellow confessors; their relating the times when they covenanted with Satan, and the reasons that moved them thereunto; their Witch meetings, and that they had their mock Sacraments of Baptism and the Supper, in some of them; their signing the Devils book: and some shewed the Scars of the wounds which they said were made to fetch blood with, to sign the Devils book; and some


said they had Imps to suck them, and shewed Sores raw where they said they were sucked by them.

VII. I shall give the Reader a tast of these things in a few Instances. The Afflicted complained that the Spectres which vexed them, urged them to set their Hands to a Book represented to them (as to them it seemed) with threatnings of great torments, if they signed not, and promises of ease if they obeyed.

Among these D. H.[396] did as she said (which sundry others confessed afterwards) being overcome by the extremity of her pains, sign the Book presented, and had the promised ease; and immediately upon it a Spectre in her Shape afflicted another person, and said, I have signed the Book and have ease, now do you sign, and so shall you have ease. And one day this afflicted person pointed at a certain place in the room, and said, there is D. H., upon which a man with his Rapier struck at the place, though he saw no Shape; and the Afflicted called out, saying, you have wounded her side, and soon after the afflicted person pointed at another place, saying, there she is; whereupon a man struck at the place, and the afflicted said, you have given her a small prick about the eye. Soon after this, the said D. H. confessed her self to be made a Witch by signing the Devils Book as above said; and declared that she had afflicted the Maid that complained of her, and in doing of it had received two wounds by a Sword or Rapier, a small one about the eye, which she shewed to the Magistrates, and a bigger on the side of which she was searched by a discreet woman, who reported, that D. H. had on her side the sign of a wound newly healed.

This D. H. confessed that she was at a Witch Meeting at Salem Village, where were many persons that she named, some of whom were in Prison then or soon after upon suspicion of Witchcraft: And the said G. B.[397] preached to them, and such a Woman was their Deacon, and there they had a Sacra-ment.

VIII. Several others after this confessed the same things


with D. H. In particular Goody F.[398] said (Inter alia[399]) that she with two others (one of whom acknowledged the same) Rode from Andover to the same Village Witch meeting upon a stick above ground, and that in the way the stick brake, and gave the said F. a fall: whereupon, said she, I got a fall and hurt of which I am still sore. I happened to be present in Prison when this F. owned again her former confession to the Magistrates. And then I moved she might be further ques-tioned about some particulars: It was answered, the Magis-trates had not time to stay longer; but I should have liberty to Examine her farther by my self; The which thing I did; and I asked her if she rode to the Meeting on a Stick; she said, yea. I enquired what she did for Victuals; she answered that she carried Bread and Cheese in her pocket, and that she and the Andover Company came to the Village before the Meeting began, and sat down together under a tree and eat their food, and that she drank water out of a Brook to quench her thirst. And that the Meeting was upon a plain grassy place, by which was a Cart path, and sandy ground in the path, in which were the tracks of Horses feet. And she also told me how long they were going and returning. And some time after told me, she had some trouble upon her spirit, and when I enquired what? she said, she was in fear that G. B. and M. C.[400] would kill her; for they appeared unto her (in Spectre, for their persons were kept in other Rooms in the Prison) and brought a sharp pointed iron like a spindle, but four square, and threatned to stab her to death with it; because she had confessed her Witchcraft, and told of them, that they were with her, and that M. C. above named was the person that made her a Witch. About a month after the said F. took occasion to tell me the same Story of her fears that G. B. and E. C.[401] would kill her, and that the thing was much upon her Spirits.

IX. It was not long before M. L.[402] Daughter of said F. confessed that she rode with her Mother to the said Witch


Meeting, and confirmed the substance of her Mothers Confes-sion. At another time, M. L. junior the Grand Daughter, aged about seventeen years, confesseth the substance of what her Grand mother and Mother had related, and declareth, that when they with E. C.[403] rode on a stick or pole in the Air, She the said Grand-Daughter with R. C.[404] Rode upon another; (and she said R. C. acknowledged the same) and that they sat their hands to the Devils Book. And (inter alia) said, “O Mother, why did you give me to the Devil?” twice or thrice over. The Mother said, she was sorry at the heart for it, it was through that wicked one. Her Daughter bid her repent and call upon God. And said, “Oh Mother, your wishes are now come to pass! for how often have you wished that the Devil would fetch me away alive?” And then said, “Oh! my heart will break within me”; Then she wept bitterly, crying out, “O Lord comfort me, and bring out all the Witches.” And she said to her Grandmother, “O Grandmother, why did you give me to the Devil? Why did you perswade me, O Grand-mother do not deny it.” Then the Grandmother gave account of several things about their confederates and acts of Witch-crafts too long to rehearse.



I. e., in February and March of the year we call 1692. As to all this story see above the parallel narratives of Lawson (pp. 147 ff.) and Calef (pp. 341 ff.).


See above, pp. 205 ff.


This fast, enacted on May 6, was celebrated on May 26, 1692 (Massachu-setts Acts and Resolves, VII. 459).


Sarah Osborn and Sarah Good.




See above, p. 163, note 2. “Conjuration” is the heading given by Keble to his section on witchcraft (pp. 217-220).


The account is not Sir Matthew's own, nor yet an official record, but one taken down “for his own satisfaction” “by a Person then Attending the Court,” and so did not till 1682 find its way into print. As we have seen (p. 215, note 1) it was embodied by Cotton Mather in his Wonders.


See above, pp. 5-6.


See above, p. 304, note 5.


Baxter's Certainty of the Worlds of Spirits (1691), really a collection of witch stories, has been earlier described (p. 98, note 2). The name of “R. Bur-ton,” or “R. B.,” the pseudonym under which the prolific London publisher Nathaniel Crouch concealed his identity, is attached to a multitude of chap-books; but that here in question was undoubtedly his The Kingdom of Darkness (London, 1688), a pictorial “history of dæmons, specters, witches, apparitions, possessions, disturbances, and other wonderful and supernatural delusions, mis-chievous feats, and malicious impostures of the Devil,” “together with a preface obviating the common objections and allegations of the Sadduces and Atheists of the age.” It is, in other words, a credulous hodge-podge of all the older witch and devil tales that could be packed into its duodecimo pages; tales made vivid by its startling frontispiece and the crude but awful woodcuts that adorn its text.


Deliverance Hobbs — called by error “Deborah” on p. 347. The court record of her examination may be found in Records of Salem Witchcraft, II. 186-192.


George Burroughs.


Ann Foster. See above, pp. 244, 366. As her son later alleged, she “suffered imprisonment twenty-one weeks and upon her Tryall was condemned for supposed witchcraft... and died in prison.”


“Among other things.”


Martha Carrier. See above, pp. 241-244.


Doubtless a printer's error for M. C. (Martha Carrier).


Mary Lacy. See pp. 244, 366. Though condemned, she escaped death.


Again a misprint for M. C. (see Mary Lacy's testimony in Records of Salem Witchcraft, II. 140: “her mother Foster, Goody Carrier and herself rid upon a pole to Salem Village meeting”).


Richard Carrier, son of Martha.