University of Virginia Library





How The Wonders of the Invisible World came to be written we have already seen.[99] Its author had “a talent for sudden composures.” We have seen what a scrap-bag was his Memorable Providences; and the pigeon-holes of his desk must for months have been gathering materials that could now be put to use. What these materials were is suggested by his title-page; but the title-page description is not exact. There is first an essay, entitled “Enchantments Encountered,” on New England as a home of the saints and the plot of the Devil against her, especially as revealed by the witches now confessing; next an abstract of the rules of Perkins, Gaule, and Bernard for the detection of witches. Then follows “A Discourse on the Wonders of the Invisible World, uttered (in part) on Aug. 4, 1692.” It is a sermon on Rev. xii. 12, depicting in apocalyptic phrase the Devil's wrath and its present manifestation. Next comes “An Hortatory and Necessary Address, to a Country now extraordinarily alarum'd by the Wrath of the Devil” — this, too, doubtless written for a sermon. “Having thus discoursed on the Wonders of the Invisible World,” says then the author, “I shall now, with God's help, go on to relate some Remarkable and Memorable Instances of Wonders which that World has given to ourselves.” Yet he still inserts “A Narrative of an Apparition which a Gentleman in Boston had of his Brother,” before proceeding to those Salem trials, the kernel of his book, which are reprinted below.

Doubtless these were meant, as the title-page suggests, to form a part of the “Enchantments Encountered,” but failed


to arrive in time. Mather had long been begging them from Stephen Sewall (brother of Judge Sewall), the clerk of the court; but the clerk was then very busy. On September 20 Mather wrote: “That I may be the more capable to assist in lifting up a standard against the infernal enemy, I must renew my most importunate request.” What he asks is “a narrative of the evidence given in at the trials of half a dozen, or if you please, a dozen, of the principal witches that have been condemned.” He pleads not only Sewall's promise, but that “his Excellency, the Governor, laid his positive commands upon me to desire this favor of you”; “and the truth is,” he adds, “there are some of his circumstances with reference to this affair, which I need not mention, that call for the expediting of your kindness.” He wants also some of the clerk's “observations about the confessors, and the credibility of what they assert, or about things evidently preternatural in the witchcrafts”; but, “assure yourself,” he concludes, “I shall not wittingly make what you write prejudicial to any worthy design which those two excellent persons, Mr. Hale and Mr. Noyes, may have in hand.” But the clerk took counsel before he acted. His brother's Diary records, on Thursday, September 22, that “William Stoughton, Esqr., John Hathorne, Esqr., Mr. Cotton Mather, and Capt. John Higginson, with my brother St., were at our house, speaking about publishing some Trials of the Witches.” These had been received and utilized by early October (see p. 247), and the book, thus far complete, could before October 11 be laid before the judges (see p. 251) and by the 12th could furnish material for the governor's letter (see p. 195).

Before the book was out of press there was time to add the narrative of the Swedish witches and the sermon on “the Devil discovered”; but these could not seriously have delayed the printing, for the book, complete and printed, must have gone to London by the same ship which in mid-October took


Sir William's letter. A copy of the book was doubtless sent, with this letter, to the home government; and it was perhaps precisely for this use that the volume had been hurried into existence and into print. What is certain is that such a copy had before December 24 reached the hands of John Dunton, the London publisher; for on that day he announced its speedy publication, and by December 29 it was already in print, though with “1693” on its title-page.[100] A “second edition,” much abridged (though not by the omission of the Salem trials), he issued in February 1693, and reprinted it as a “third” in June.

The news-letter, with imprint of 1692, calling itself A True Account of the Tryals... at Salem, in New England... in a Letter to a Friend in London and signed at end “C. M.” is only a bookseller's fraud, compiled from the Wonders by some hack (who has not even taken the trouble to imitate its style) and printed in 1693.

The Wonders was reprinted at Salem in 1861 (with Calef's More Wonders), by Mr. S. P. Fowler, in a volume called Salem Witchcraft; but, alas, from the abridged “third edition” and with serious further abridgment. In 1862 the first London edition was embodied in a volume of John Russell Smith's Library of Old Authors (cf. p. 149, note 1); and in 1866 the work was again reprinted, and with much more exactness,[101] as


no. V. of the Historical Series of W. Elliot Woodward (Roxbury, Mass.), being again coupled with Calef's More Wonders (forming nos. VI., VII., of the same series) under a common title, The Witchcraft Delusion in New England, and a common editor, S. G. Drake, who contributes elaborate introductions and notes. An alleged reprint by J. Smith, London, 1834 (and again by H. Howell in 1840), as an addition to Baxter's, Certainty of the World of Spirits is not Mather's Wonders at all, but only the witchcraft pages of his Magnalia.



See pp. 194-195.


That this London edition was printed, not from a manuscript copy, but from the printed Boston edition, broken up for the compositors, is clear to any printer who compares the two. See, for details, a paragraph in the N. Y. Nation for November 5, 1908 (LXXXVII. 435), or the descriptive note of G. F. Black in the New York Library's List of Works relating to Witchcraft in the United States (Bulletin, 1908, XII. 666). All extant copies of the Boston edition seem to have the title-page date “1693” (an alleged exception proves to be a myth); and this probably means that till January, at least, the book was withheld from circulation. As to all the early editions, see Moore, Notes on the Bibliography of Witchcraft in Massachusetts (American Antiquarian Society, Proceedings, n. s., V.), and the New York Library's List, as above.


The type being set from the first London edition, but the proofs read by the Boston one. (See Drake's preface, p. vii, and his postscript, p. 247.)



The Wonders of the Invisible World. Observations As well Historical as Theological, upon the Nature, the Number, and the Operations of the Devils. Accompany'd with

  • I. Some Accounts of the Grievous Molestations, by Dœmons and Witchcrafts, which have lately annoy'd the Countrey; and the Trials of some eminent Malefactors Executed upon occasion thereof: with several Remarkable Curiosities therein occurring.
  • II. Some Counsils, Directing a due Improvement of the terrible things, lately done, by the Unusual and Amazing Range of Evil Spirits, in Our Neighbourhood: and the methods to prevent the Wrongs which those Evil Angels may intend against all sorts of people among us; especially in Accusations of the Innocent.
  • III. Some Conjectures upon the great Events, likely to befall the World in General, and New-England in Particular; as also upon the Advances of the time, when we shall see Better Dayes.
  • IV. A short Narrative of a late Outrage committed by a knot of Witches in Swedeland, very much Resembling, and so far Explaining, That under which our parts of America have laboured!
  • V. The Devil Discovered: In a Brief Discourse upon those Temptations, which are the more Ordinary Devices of the Wicked One.

By Cotton Mather.

Boston, Printed, by Benjamin Harris for Sam. Phillips 1693.[102]

Published by the Special Command of His Excellency, the Governour of the Province of the Massachusetts-Bay in New-England.[103]



Title-page of original.


Reverse of title-page. Governor Sir William Phips. We have just read, indeed, his own assertion (p. 197, above) that he had “put a stop to the printing of any discourses one way or other,” and this may explain why, though this book was complete in October, it was not published before January, as well as why, when it did appear, it thus bore the express sanction of the governor. As to the suggestion of Upham and Moore that not Phips but Stoughton may be here meant, see p. 194, note 6.


The Author's Defence.

'Tis, as I remember, the Learned Scribonius,[104] who Reports, that One of his Acquaintance, devoutly making his Prayers on the behalf of a Person molested by Evil Spirits, received from those Evil Spirits an horrible Blow over the Face: And I may my self Expect not few or small Buffetings from Evil Spirits, for the Endeavours wherewith I am now going to Encounter them. I am far from Insensible, That at this Extraordinary Time of the Devils Coming down in Great Wrath upon us, there are too many Tongues and Hearts thereby Set on Fire of Hell; that the various Opinions about the Witchcrafts which of Later Time have Troubled us, are maintained by some with so much Cloudy Fury, as if they could never be sufficiently Stated, unless written in the Liquor wherewith Witches use to write their Covenants; and that he who becomes an Author at such a Time, had need be Fenced with Iron, and the Staff of a Spear. The unaccountable Frowardness, Asperity, Untreatableness, and Inconsistency of many persons, every Day gives a Visible Exposition of that passage, An Evil Spirit from the Lord came upon Saul; and Illustration of that Story, There met him two Possessed with Devils, exceeding Fierce, so that no man might pass by that way. To send abroad a Book, among such Readers, were a very unadvised Thing, if a man had not such Reasons to give, as I can bring, for such an Undertaking. Briefly, I hope it cannot be said, They are all so; No, I hope the Body of this People, are yet in such a Temper, as to be capable of Applying their Thoughts, to make a Right Use of the Stupendous and prodigious Things that are happening among us: and because I


was concern'd, when I saw that no Abler Hand Emitted any Essayes to Engage the Minds of this People in such Holy, Pious, Fruitful Improvements, as God would have to be made of His Amazing Dispensations now upon us, Therefore it is, that One of the Least among the Children of New-England, has here done, what is done. None, but the Father, who sees in Secret, knows the Heart-breaking Exercises, wherewith I have Composed what is now going to be Exposed, Lest I should in any One Thing miss of Doing my Designed Service for His Glory, and for His People; But I am now somewhat comfortably Assured of His favourable Acceptance; and, I will not Fear; what can a Satan do unto me!

Having Performed Something of what God Required, in labouring to suit His Words unto His Works, at this Day among us, and therewithal handled a Theme that has been sometimes counted not unworthy the Pen, even of a King, it will easily be perceived, that some subordinate Ends have been considered in these Endeavours.

I have indeed set my self to Countermine the whole Plot of the Devil against New-England,[105] in every Branch of it, as far as one of my Darkness can comprehend such a Work of Darkness. I may add, that I have herein also aimed at the Information and Satisfaction of Good men in another Countrey, a Thousand Leagues off, where I have, it may be, More, or however, more Considerable Friends, than in My Own;[106] And I do what I can to have that Countrey, now as well as alwayes, in the best Terms with My Own. But while I am


doing these things, I have been driven a little to do something likewise for My self; I mean, by taking off the false Reports and hard Censures about my Opinion in these matters, the Parters Portion, which my pursuit of Peace has procured me among the Keen. My hitherto Unvaried Thoughts are here Published; and, I believe, they will be owned by most of the Ministers of God in these Colonies; nor can amends be well made me, for the wrong done me, by other sorts of Representations.

In fine, For the Dogmatical part of my Discourse, I want no Defence; for the Historical part of it, I have a very Great One. The Lieutenant-Governour of New-England, having perused it, has done me the Honour of giving me a Shield,[107] under the Umbrage whereof I now dare to walk Abroad.


Reverend and Dear Sir,

You Very much Gratify'd me, as well as put a kind Respect upon me, when you put into my hands, Your Elaborate and most seasonable Discourse, entituled, The Wonders of the Invisible World. And having now Perused so fruitful and happy a Composure, upon such a Subject, at this Juncture of Time, and considering the Place that I Hold in the Court of Oyer and Terminer, still Labouring and Proceeding in the Trial of the persons Accused and Convicted for Witchcraft, I find that I am more nearly and highly concerned than as a meer Ordinary Reader, to Express my Obligation and Thankfulness to you for so great Pains; and cannot but hold my self many ways bound, even to the utmost of what is proper for me, in my present Publick Capacity, to declare my Singular Approbation thereof. Such is Your Design, most plainly expressed throughout the whole; such Your Zeal for God, Your Enmity to Satan and his Kingdom, Your Faithfulness and Compassion to this poor people; Such the Vigour, but yet great Temper of your Spirit; Such your Instruction and Counsel, your Care of Truth, Your Wisdom and Dexterity in allaying and moderating that among us, which needs it; Such your Clear Discerning of Divine Providences and Periods, now running on apace towards their Glorious Issues in the World; and finally, Such your Good News of The Shortness of the Devils Time, That all Good Men must needs Desire the making of this your Dis


course Publick to the World; and will greatly Rejoyce that the Spirit of the Lord has thus Enabled you to Lift up a Standard against the Infernal Enemy, that hath been Coming in like a Flood upon us. I do therefore make it my particular and Earnest Request unto you, that as soon as may be, you will Commit the same unto the Press accordingly. I am,

Your Assured Friend,
William Stoughton.

I Live by Neighbours that force me to produce these Undeserved Lines. But now, as when Mr. Wilson,[108] beholding a great Muster of Souldiers, had it by a Gentleman then present said unto him, “Sir, I'l tell you a great Thing: here is a mighty Body of People; and there is not Seven of them all but what Loves Mr. Wilson;” that Gracious Man presently and pleasantly Reply'd, “Sir, I'll tell you as good a thing as that; here is a mighty Body of People, and there is not so much as One among them all, but Mr. Wilson Loves him.” Somewhat so: 'Tis possible that among this Body of People there may be few that Love the Writer of this Book; but give me leave to boast so far, there is not one among all this Body of People, whom this Mather would not Study to Serve, as well as to Love. With such a Spirit of Love, is the Book now before us written: I appeal to all this World; and if this World will deny me the Right of acknowledging so much, I Appeal to the Other, that it is Not written with an Evil Spirit: for which cause I shall not wonder, if Evil Spirits be Exasperated by what is Written, as the Sadducees doubtless were with what was Discoursed in the Days of our Saviour. I only Demand the Justice, that others Read it, with the same Spirit where-with I writ it.[109]

But I shall no longer detain my Reader, from His expected entertainment, in a Brief Account of the Trials which have passed upon some of the Malefactors Lately Executed at Salem, for the Witchcrafts whereof they stood Convicted.


For my own part, I was not Present at any of Them;[110] nor ever Had I any personal prejudice at the persons thus brought upon the Stage; much less at the Surviving Relations of those persons, with and for whom I would be as Hearty a mourner as any man Living in the World: The Lord Comfort them! But having Received a Command so to do,[111] I can do no other than shortly Relate the Chief Matters of fact, which occurr'd in the Trials of some that were Executed, in an Abridgment collected out of the Court-Papers, on this occasion put into my Hands.[112] You are to take the Truth, just as it was; and the Truth will hurt no good man. There might have been more of these, if my Book would not thereby have been swollen too big; and if some other worthy hands did not perhaps intend something further in these Collections;[113] for which cause I have only singled out Four or Five, which may serve to Illustrate the way of dealing, wherein Witchcrafts use to be concerned; and I Report matters not as an Advocate but as an Historian.

They were some of the Gracious Words inserted in the Advice, which many of the Neighbouring Ministers did this Summer humbly lay before our Honorable Judges, “We cannot but with all thankfulness acknowledge the success which the Merciful God has given unto the Sedulous and Assiduous endeavours of Our Honourable Rulers, to detect the abominable Witchcrafts which have been committed in the Country; Humbly Praying that the discovery of those mysterious and mischievous wickednesses, may be perfected.”[114] If in the midst of the many Dissatisfactions among us, the publication of these Trials may promote such a pious Thankfulness unto God, for Justice being so far executed among us, I shall Re


joyce that God is Glorified; and pray that no wrong steps of ours may ever sully any of His Glorious Works.[115]



Wilhelm Adolf Scribonius, a Hessian scholar, is best known in the literature of witchcraft as the chief advocate of the water ordeal (see p. 21, above) for the detection of witches. This story is told on ff. 82-83 of his Physiologia Sagarum (Marburg, 1588 — the full title is De Sagarum Natura et Potestate, deque his recte cognoscendis et puniendis Physiologia), and in English by Baxter, Worlds of Spirits, p. 104.


As to this “plot of the Devil,” see Mather's own words (Wonders, pp. 16-19, 25, not here reprinted): “we have been advised... that a Malefactor, accused of Witchcraft as well as Murder, and Executed in this place more than Forty Years ago, did then give Notice of An Horrible Plot against the Country by Witchcraft, and a Foundation of Witchcraft then laid, which if it were not seasonably discovered would probably Blow up, and pull down all the Churches in the Country.” “We have now with Horror,” he adds, “seen the Discovery of such a Witchcraft!” and from the confessions at Salem he learns that “at prodigious Witch-Meetings the Wretches have proceeded so far as to Concert and Consult the Methods of Rooting out the Christian Religion from this Country” and setting up instead of it a “Diabolism.” Not even this is all: “it may be fear'd that, in the Horrible Tempest which is now upon ourselves, the design of the Devil is to sink that Happy Settlement of Government wherewith Almighty God has graciously enclined Their Majesties to favour us.”


It is of England, of course, that he speaks.


As to Lieutenant-Governor Stoughton, head of the court which had tried the witch cases, see above, p. 183 and note 2, and pp. 196-201. His “shield” means the following letter.


Doubtless the Rev. John Wilson (d. 1667), the first minister of Boston.


There now follow the miscellaneous matters described in the introduction, making up more than half of his volume.


He must at least have been present at some of the examinations (like those described by Lawson) preceding the trials; for in his Diary (I. 151), commending the judges, he adds, “and my Compassion, upon the Sight of their Difficulties, raised by my Journeyes to Salem, the chief Seat of these diabolical Vexations, caused mee yett more to do so.” From attending the trials he had excused himself (see the letter mentioned on p. 194, note 5) on the score of ill health.


From the governor; see above, p. 194, and p. 250.


See introduction.


Meaning, doubtless, Hale and Noyes. See p. 206, above.


This is the second paragraph in the reply of the ministers of Boston, June 15, 1692, to the request of the governor and Council for advice. (See p. 194, above.) It was drawn up by Cotton Mather himself.


What next follows, very cleverly ensuring a friendly attitude toward the Salem court, is an account of the English witch-trial of 1664 before Sir Matthew Hale. It is abridged from the well-known booklet (A Tryal of Witches at the Assizes held at Bury St. Edmonds, etc.) published at London in 1682, which had been a guide to the Salem judges (see p. 416, below).

I. The Tryal of G. B.[116] At a Court of Oyer and Terminer, Held in Salem, 1692.

Glad should I have been, if I had never known the Name of this man; or never had this occasion to mention so much as the first Letters of his Name.[117] But the Government requiring some Account of his Trial to be Inserted in this Book, it becomes me with all Obedience to submit unto the Order.

I. This G. B. was indicted for Witch-crafts, and in the Prosecution of the Charge against him, he was Accused by five or six of the Bewitched, as the Author of their Miseries; he was Accused by eight of the Confessing Witches, as being an Head Actor at some of their Hellish Randezvouzes, and one


who had the promise of being a King in Satans Kingdom, now going to be Erected: he was Accused by nine persons for extraordinary Lifting, and such Feats of Strength, as could not be done without a Diabolical Assistance. And for other such Things he was Accused, until about Thirty Testimonies were brought in against him; nor were these judg'd the half of what might have been considered for his Conviction: however they were enough to fix the Character of a Witch upon him according to the Rules of Reasoning, by the Judicious Gaule,[118] in that Case directed.

II. The Court being sensible, that the Testimonies of the Parties Bewitched use to have a Room among the Suspicions or Presumptions, brought in against one Indicted for Witchcraft, there were now heard the Testimonies of several Persons, who were most notoriously Bewitched, and every day Tortured by Invisible Hands, and these now all charged the Spectres of G. B. to have a share in their Torments. At the Examination of this G. B. the Bewitched People were grievously harassed with Preternatural Mischiefs, which could not possibly be Dissembled; and they still ascribed it unto the Endeavours of G. B. to kill them. And now upon his Trial, one of the Bewitched Persons testify'd, That in her Agonies, a little Black hair'd man came to her, saying his Name was B. and bidding her set her hand unto a Book which he show'd unto her; and bragging that he was a Conjurer, above the ordinary Rank of Witches; That he often persecuted her with the offer of that Book, saying, She should be well, and need fear no body, if she would but Sign it; but he inflicted cruel Pains and Hurts upon her, because of her Denying so to do. The Testimonies of the other Sufferers concurred with these; and it was Remarkable, that whereas Biting was one of the ways which the Witches used for the vexing of the Sufferers, when they cry'd out of G. B. biting them, the print of the Teeth would be seen on the Flesh of the Complainers, and just


such a sett of Teeth as G. B's would then appear upon them, which could be distinguished from those of some other mens. Others of them testify'd, That in their Torments, G. B. tempted them to go unto a Sacrament, unto which they perceived him with a sound of Trumpet Summoning of other Witches, who quickly after the Sound would come from all Quarters unto the Rendezvouz. One of them falling into a kind of Trance, afterwards affirmed, That G. B. had carried her into a very high Mountain, where he show'd her mighty and glorious Kingdoms, and said, He would give them all to her, if she would write in his Book; but she told him, They were none of his to give; and refused the motions, enduring of much misery for that Refusal.

It cost the Court a wonderful deal of Trouble, to hear the Testimonies of the Sufferers; for when they were going to give in their Depositions, they would for a long time be taken with fitts, that made them uncapable of saying any thing. The Chief Judge asked the prisoner, who he thought hindred these witnesses from giving their testimonies? and he answered, He supposed it was the Divel. That Honourable person then reply'd, How comes the Divel so loathe to have any Testimony born against you? Which cast him into very great confusion.

III. It has been a frequent thing for the Bewitched people to be entertained with Apparitions of Ghosts of murdered people, at the same time that the Spectres of the witches trouble them. These Ghosts do always affright the Beholders more than all the other spectral Representations; and when they exhibit themselves, they cry out, of being Murdered by the witchcrafts or other violences of the persons who are then in spectre present. It is further considerable, that once or twice, these Apparitions have been seen by others at the very same time that they have shewn them selves to the Bewitched; and seldom have there been these Apparitions but when something unusual and suspected had attended the Death of the party thus Appearing. Some that have bin accused by these Apparitions, accosting of the Bewitched People, who had never heard a word of any such persons ever being in the world, have upon a fair examination freely and fully confessed the murders of those very persons, altho' these also did not know


how the Apparitions had complained of them. Accordingly several of the Bewitched had given in their Testimony, that they had been troubled with the Apparitions of two women, who said that they were G. B's two wives, and that he had been the Death of them; and that the Magistrates must be told of it, before whom if B. upon his trial deny'd it, they did not know but that they should appear again in the Court. Now, G. B. had been infamous for the Barbarous usage of his two successive wives, all the Country over. Moreover, It was testify'd, the spectre of G. B. threatning of the sufferers told them, he had killed (besides others) Mrs. Lawson and her Daughter Ann.[119] And it was noted, That these were the vertuous wife and Daughter of one at whom this G. B. might have a prejudice for his being serviceable at Salem-village, from whence himself had in Ill Terms removed some years before: and that when they dy'd, which was long since, there were some odd circumstances about them, which made some of the Attendents there suspect something of witchcraft, tho' none Imagined from what Quarter it should come.

Well, G. B. being now upon his Triall, one of the Bewitched persons was cast into Horror at the Ghosts of B's two deceased wives then appearing before him, and crying for Vengeance against him. Hereupon several of the Bewitched persons were successively called in, who all not knowing what the former had seen and said, concurred in their Horror of the Apparition, which they affirmed that he had before him. But he, tho' much appalled, utterly deny'd that he discerned any thing of it; nor was it any part of his Conviction.

IV. Judicious Writers have assigned it a great place in the Conviction of witches, when persons are Impeached by other Notorious witches, to be as Ill as themselves; especially, if the persons have been much noted for neglecting the Worship of God. Now, as there might have been Testimonies Enough of G. B's Antipathy to Prayer and the other Ordinances of God, tho' by his profession singularly obliged there-unto; so, there now came in against the prisoner the Testimonies of several persons, who confessed their own having been Horrible Witches, and ever since their confessions had been themselves terribly Tortured by the Devils and other


Witches, even like the other Sufferers; and therein undergone the pains of many Deaths for their Confessions.

These now Testify'd, that G. B. had been at Witch-meetings with them; and that he was the Person who had Seduc'd and Compell'd them into the snares of Witchcraft: That he promised them Fine Cloaths, for doing it; that he brought Poppets to them, and thorns to stick into those Poppets, for the afflicting of other People; And that he exhorted them, with the rest of the Crue, to bewitch all Salem-Village, but be sure to do it Gradually, if they would prevail in what they did.

When the Lancashire Witches[120] were condemn'd, I don't Remember that there was any considerable further Evidence, than that of the Bewitched, and then that of some that confessed. We see so much already against G. B. But this being indeed not Enough, there were other things to render what had already been produced credible.

V. A famous Divine[121] recites this among the Convictions of a Witch; The Testimony of the Party Bewitched, whether Pining or Dying; together with the Joint Oathes of Sufficient Persons that have seen certain Prodigious Pranks or Feats wrought by the party Accused. Now God had been pleased so to leave this G. B. that he had ensnared himself by several Instances, which he had formerly given of a Preternatural strength, and which were now produced against him. He was a very Puny man;[122] yet he had often done things beyond the strength of a Giant. A Gun of about seven foot barrel, and so heavy that strong men could not steadily hold it out with both hands; there were several Testimonies, given in by Persons of Credit and Honour, that he made nothing of taking up such a Gun behind the Lock, with but one hand, and holding it out like a Pistol, at Arms-end. G. B. in his Vindication was so foolish as to say, That an Indian was there, and held it out at the same time: Whereas, none of the Spectators ever saw


any such Indian; but they suppos'd the Black man (as the Witches call the Devil; and they generally say he resembles an Indian) might give him that Assistence. There was Evidence likewise brought in, that he made nothing of Taking up whole Barrels fill'd with Malasses or Cider, in very Disadvantagious Postures, and Carrying of them through the Difficultest Places out of a Canoo to the Shore.

Yea, there were Two Testimonies that G. B. with only putting the Fore-Finger of his Right hand into the Muzzel of an heavy Gun, a Fowling-piece of about six or seven foot Barrel, did Lift up the Gun, and hold it out at Arms end; a Gun which the Deponents though strong men could not with both hands Lift up, and hold out at the Butt end, as is usual. Indeed, one of these Witnesses was over perswaded by some persons to be out of the way upon G. B's Trial; but he came afterwards with sorrow for his withdraw, and gave in his Testimony: Nor were either of these Witnesses made use of as evidences in the Trial.

VI. There came in several Testimonies relating to the Domestick Affayrs of G. B. which had a very hard Aspect upon him; and not only prov'd him a very ill man; but also confirmed the Belief of the Character, which had been already fastned on him.

'Twas testifyed, That keeping his two Successive Wives in a strange kind of Slavery, he would when he came home from abroad pretend to tell the Talk which any had with them; That he has brought them to the point of Death, by his Harsh Dealings with his Wives, and then made the People about him to promise that in Case Death should happen, they would say nothing of it; That he used all means to make his Wives Write, Sign, Seal, and Swear a Covenant, never to Reveal any of his Secrets; That his Wives had privately complained unto the Neighbours about frightful Apparitions of Evil Spirits, with which their House was sometimes infested; and that many such things have been Whispered among the Neighbourhood. There were also some other Testimonies, relating to the Death of People, whereby the Consciences of an Impartial Jury were convinced that G. B. had Bewitched the persons mentioned in the Complaints. But I am forced to omit several passages, in this, as well as in all the succeeding


Trials, because the Scribes who took Notice of them, have not Supplyed me.

VII. One Mr. Ruck, Brother in Law to this G. B., Testify'd, that G. B. and he himself, and his Sister, who was G. B's Wife, going out for Two or three Miles to gather Straw-Berries, Ruck with his Sister the Wife of G. B. Rode home very Softly, with G. B. on Foot in their Company. G. B. stept aside a little into the Bushes; Whereupon they Halted and Halloo'd for him. He not answering, they went away homewards, with a Quickened pace, without any expectation of seeing him in a considerable while; and yet when they were got near home, to their Astonishment they found him on foot with them, having a Basket of Straw-Berries. G. B. immediately then fell to chiding his Wife, on the account of what she had been speaking to her Brother, of him, on the Road: which when they wondred at, he said, He knew their thoughts. Ruck being startled at that, made some Reply, intimating that the Devil himself did not know so far; but G. B. answered, My God makes known your Thoughts unto me. The prisoner now at the Barr had nothing to answer, unto what was thus Witnessed against him, that was worth considering. Only he said, Ruck and his Wife left a Man with him, when they left him. Which Ruck now affirm'd to be false; and when the Court asked G. B. What the Man's Name was? his countenance was much altered; nor could he say, who 'twas. But the Court began to think, that he then step'd aside, only that by the assistance of the Black Man, he might put on his Invisibility, and in that Fascinating Mist, gratifie his own Jealous humour, to hear what they said of him. Which trick of rendring themselves Invisible, our Witches do in their confessions pretend that they sometimes are Masters of; and it is the more credible, because there is Demonstration that they often render many other things utterly Invisible.

VIII. Faltring, Faulty, unconstant, and contrary Answers upon Judicial and deliberate examination, are counted some unlucky symptoms of guilt, in all crimes, Especially in Witchcrafts.[123] Now there never was a prisoner more Eminent for them, than G. B. both at his Examination and on his Trial.


His Tergiversations, Contradictions, and Falsehoods, were very sensible: he had little to say, but that he had heard some things that he could not prove, Reflecting upon the Reputation of some of the witnesses. Only he gave in a paper to the Jury; wherein, altho' he had many times before granted, not only that there are Witches, but also that the present sufferings of the Countrey are the Effect of horrible Witchcrafts, yet he now goes to evince it, That there neither are, nor ever were Witches, that having made a compact with the Divel, Can send a Divel to Torment other people at a distance. This paper was Transcribed out of Ady,[124] which the Court presently[125] knew, as soon as they heard it. But he said, he had taken none of it out of any Book; for which, his evasion afterwards was, that a Gentleman gave him the discourse in a manuscript, from whence he Transcribed it.

IX. The Jury brought him in guilty: But when he came to Dy, he utterly deny'd the Fact, whereof he had been thus convicted.[126]



The Rev. George Burroughs, the most notable of the victims at Salem. A graduate of Harvard in the class of 1670, he preached in Maine for some years, and in 1680 became pastor at Salem Village, where he fell heir to a parish quarrel, and, becoming involved in it, found it wise to remove in 1683 — Deodat Lawson succeeding him. Burroughs returned to Maine, and was a pastor there at Wells, when his accusation by the “afflicted” at Salem caused his arrest. He was brought back to Salem on May 4, committed on May 9, tried on August 5, executed on August 19. As to his story see especially Upham, Salem Witchcraft, Sibley, Harvard Graduates (II. 323-334), Moore, “Notes on the Bibliography of Witchcraft in Massachusetts” (in American Antiquarian Society, Proceedings, n. s., V.), pp. 270-273, but, first of all, the mentions of Calef, reprinted below (pp. 301, 360-365, 378-379).


It is not improbable that Mather had already begun to find himself blamed for his harsh words as to Burroughs. On August 5, the day of his trial, he had written to a friend: “Our Good God is working of Miracles. Five Witches were Lately Executed, impudently demanding of God a Miraculous Vindication of their Innocency. Immediately upon this, Our God Miraculously sent in Five Andover-Witches, who made a most ample, surprising, amazing Confession, of all their Villainies and declared the Five newly executed to have been of their Company; discovering many more; but all agreeing in Burroughs being their Ringleader, who, I suppose, this day receives his Trial at Salem, whither a Vast Concourse of people is gone; My Father this morning among the Rest.”


John Gaule, rector of Great Stoughton, in Huntingdonshire, was the first to oppose openly the witch-finder Hopkins, and wrote a little book, Select Cases of Conscience touching Witches and Witchcrafts (London, 1646), to lay bare his outrages and suggest saner methods. (See Notestein, Witchcraft in England, pp. 186-187, 236-237.) His rules for the detection of witches are published (though not without serious garbling) earlier in Mather's volume.


The wife and the daughter of Deodat Lawson; see p. 148.


I. e., those tried and executed in 1612, and famous through the Discoverie of Potts (London, 1613), which Mather seems here to use, and the play of Shadwell.


John Gaule again: this is the fifth of his “more certain” signs. (Select Cases, p. 82.)


But see, on the contrary, page 301.


He is quoting John Gaule — the first of his “more certain” signs (Select Cases, pp. 80-81).


Thomas Ady, A Candle in the Dark (London, 1656) — reprinted in 1661 as A Perfect Discovery of Witches. In neither edition are precisely these words to be found; but their substance occurs often. How bold and thoroughgoing a skeptic is Ady, and why Mather counts it answer enough that the passage was taken from his book, may be guessed from his opening sentence in which he gives “The Reason of the Book”: “The Grand Errour of these latter Ages is ascribing power to Witches, and by foolish imagination of mens brains, without grounds in the Scriptures, wrongfull killing of the innocent under the name of Witches.” “When one Mr. Burroughs, a Clergyman, who some few years since was hang'd in New-England as a Wizzard, stood upon his Tryal,” wrote Dr. Hutchinson in 1718 in the book that was to end the controversy (Historical Essay concerning Witchcraft, p. xv), “he pull'd out of his Pocket a Leaf that he had got of Mr. Ady's Book, to prove that the Scripture Witchcrafts were not like ours: And as that Defence was not able to save him, I humbly offer my Book as an Argument on the Behalf of all such miserable People.”


“Presently” then meant “at once.”


For details as to his execution see above, p. 177, and below, pp. 360-361. Before accepting in perfect faith Mather's account of his trial, one should weigh not only the comments of Calef (see pp. 378-380, below) and the severer criticisms of Upham (Salem Witchcraft and Cotton Mather) but the extant records (Records of Salem Witchcraft, II. 109-128; Mass. Hist. Soc., Proceedings, 1860-1862, pp. 31-37; indictment, Calef, p. 113).


II. The Tryal of Bridget Bishop,[127] alias Oliver, At the Court of Oyer and Terminer Held at Salem, June, 2, 1692.

I. She was Indicted for Bewitching of several persons in the Neighbourhood, the Indictment being drawn up, according to the Form in such Cases usual. And pleading, Not Guilty, there were brought in several persons, who had long undergone many kinds of Miseries, which were preternaturally Inflicted, and generally ascribed unto an horrible Witchcraft. There was little Occasion to prove the Witchcraft, it being Evident and Notorious to all Beholders. Now to fix the Witchcraft on the Prisoner at the Bar, the first thing used, was the Testimony of the Bewitched; whereof several Testify'd, That the Shape of the Prisoner did oftentimes very grievously pinch them, choak them, Bite them, and Afflict them; urging them to write their Names in a Book, which the said Spectre called, Ours. One of them did further Testify, that it was the Shape of this Prisoner, with another, which one Day took her from her Wheel, and carrying her to the River side, threatned there to Drown her, if she did not Sign to the Book mentioned: which yet she refused. Others of them did also Testify, that the said Shape did in her Threats brag to them that she had been the Death of sundry persons, then by her Named; that she had Ridden a man then likewise Named. Another Testify'd the Apparition of Ghosts unto the Spectre of Bishop, crying out, You Murdered us! About the Truth whereof, there was in the matter of Fact but too much Suspicion.

II. It was Testify'd, That at the Examination of the Prisoner before the Magistrates, the Bewitched were extreamly Tortured. If she did but cast her Eyes on them, they were presently struck down; and this in such a manner as there could be no Collusion in the Business. But upon the Touch of her Hand upon them, when they lay in their Swoons, they would immediately Revive; and not upon the Touch of any ones else. Moreover, upon some Special Actions of her Body,


as the shaking of her Head, or the Turning of her Eyes, they presently and painfully fell into the like postures. And many of the like Accidents now fell out, while she was at the Bar. One at the same time testifying, That she said, She could not be Troubled to see the Afflicted thus Tormented.

III. There was Testimony likewise brought in, that a man striking once at the place, where a Bewitched person said, the Shape of this Bishop stood, the Bewitched cried out, that he had Tore her Coat, in the place then particularly specify'd; and the Womans Coat was found to be Torn in that very place.

IV. One Deliverance Hobbs, who had Confessed her being a Witch, was now Tormented by the Spectres, for her Confession. And she now Testify'd, That this Bishop tempted her to Sign the Book again, and to Deny what she had Confess'd. She affirmed, that it was the Shape of this Prisoner, which whipped her with Iron Rods, to compel her thereunto. And she affirmed, that this Bishop was at a General Meeting of the Witches, in a Field at Salem-Village, and there partook of a Diabolical Sacrament in Bread and Wine then Administred!

V. To render it further Unquestionable, that the prisoner at the Bar was the Person truly charged in this Witchcraft, there were produced many Evidences of other Witchcrafts, by her perpetrated. For Instance, John Cook testify'd, that about five or six years ago, One morning, about Sun-Rise, he was in his Chamber assaulted by the Shape of this prisoner: which Look'd on him, grin'd at him, and very much hurt him with a Blow on the side of the Head: and that on the same day, about Noon, the same Shape walked in the Room where he was, and an Apple strangely flew out of his Hand, into the Lap of his Mother, six or eight foot from him.

VI. Samuel Gray testify'd, That about fourteen years ago, he wak'd on a Night, and saw the Room where he lay full of Light; and that he then saw plainly a Woman between the Cradle and the Bed-side, which look'd upon him. He Rose, and it vanished; tho' he found the Doors all fast. Looking out at the Entry-Door, he saw the same Woman, in the same Garb again; and said, In Gods Name, what do you come for? He went to Bed, and had the same Woman again assaulting him. The Child in the Cradle gave a great schreech, and the Woman Disappeared. It was long before the Child


could be quieted; and tho' it were a very likely thriving Child, yet from this time it pined away, and after divers months dy'd in a sad Condition. He knew not Bishop, nor her Name; but when he saw her after this, he knew by her Countenance, and Apparrel, and all Circumstances, that it was the Apparition of this Bishop which had thus troubled him.

VII. John Bly and his Wife testify'd, that he bought a sow of Edward Bishop, the Husband of the prisoner; and was to pay the price agreed, unto another person. This Prisoner being Angry that she was thus hindred from fingring the money, Quarrell'd with Bly. Soon after which, the Sow was taken with strange Fits, Jumping, Leaping, and knocking her head against the Fence; she seem'd Blind and Deaf, and would neither eat nor be suck'd. Whereupon a neighbour said, she believed the Creature was Over-Looked; and sundry other circumstances concurred, which made the Deponents Belive that Bishop had Bewitched it.

VIII. Richard Coman testify'd, that eight years ago, as he lay Awake in his Bed, with a Light Burning in the Room, he was annoy'd with the Apparition of this Bishop, and of two more that were strangers to him, who came and oppressed him so, that he could neither stir himself, nor wake any one else, and that he was the night after molested again in the like manner; the said Bishop taking him by the Throat, and pulling him almost out of the Bed. His kinsman offered for this cause to lodge with him; and that Night, as they were Awake, Discoursing together, this Coman was once more visited by the Guests which had formerly been so troublesome; his kinsman being at the same time strook speechless and unable to move Hand or Foot. He had laid his sword by him, which these unhappy spectres did strive much to wrest from him; only he held too fast for them. He then grew able to call the People of his house; but altho' they heard him, yet they had not power to speak or stirr; until at last, one of the people crying out, what's the matter? the spectres all vanished.

IX. Samuel Shattock testify'd, That in the Year 1680, this Bridget Bishop often came to his house upon such frivolous and foolish errands, that they suspected she came indeed with a purpose of mischief. Presently whereupon his eldest child, which was of as promising Health and Sense as any


child of its Age, began to droop exceedingly; and the oftener that Bishop came to the House, the worse grew the Child. As the Child would be standing at the Door, he would be thrown and bruised against the Stones, by an Invisible Hand, and in like sort knock his Face against the sides of the House, and bruise it after a miserable manner. Afterwards this Bishop would bring him things to Dy, whereof he could not Imagine any use; and when she paid him a piece of Money, the Purse and Money were unaccountably conveyed out of a Lock'd box, and never seen more. The Child was immediately hereupon taken with terrible fits, whereof his Friends thought he would have dyed: indeed he did almost nothing but cry and Sleep for several Months together; and at length his understanding was utterly taken away. Among other Symptoms of an Inchantment upon him, one was, that there was a Board in the Garden, whereon he would walk; and all the invitations in the world could never fetch him off. About Seventeen or Eighteen years after, there came a Stranger to Shattocks House, who seeing the Child, said, “This poor Child is Bewitched; and you have a Neighbour living not far off, who is a Witch.” He added, “Your Neighbour has had a falling out with your Wife; and she said in her Heart, your Wife is a proud Woman, and she would bring down her Pride in this Child.” He then Remembred, that Bishop had parted from his Wife in muttering and menacing Terms, a little before the Child was taken Ill. The abovesaid Stranger would needs carry the Bewitched Boy with him to Bishops House, on pretence of buying a pot of Cyder. The Woman Entertained him in furious manner; and flew also upon the Boy, scratching his Face till the Blood came; and saying, “Thou Rogue, what, dost thou bring this Fellow here to plague me?” Now it seems the Man had said, before he went, that he would fetch Blood of her. Ever after the Boy was follow'd with grievous Fits, which the Doctors themselves generally ascribed unto Witchcraft; and wherein he would be thrown still into the Fire or the Water, if he were not constantly look'd after; and it was verily believed that Bishop was the cause of it.

X. John Louder testify'd, that upon some little controversy with Bishop about her fowles, going well to Bed, he did awake in the Night by moonlight, and did see clearly the likeness


of thisoman grievously oppressing him; in which miserable condition she held him, unable to help him self, till near Day. He told Bishop of this; but she deny'd it, and threatned him very much. Quickly after this, being at home on a Lords day, with the doors shutt about him, he saw a Black Pig approach him; at which he going to kick, it vanished away. Immediately after, sitting down, he saw a Black thing Jump in at the Window, and come and stand before him. The Body was like that of a Monkey, the Feet like a Cocks, but the Face much like a mans. He being so extreemly affrighted, that he could not speak, this Monster spoke to him, and said, “I am a Messenger sent unto you, for I understand that you are in some Trouble of Mind, and if you will be ruled by me, you shall want for nothing in this world.” Whereupon he endeavoured to clap his hands upon it; but he could feel no substance, and it jumped out of the window again; but immediately came in by the Porch, though the Doors were shut, and said, “You had better take my Counsel!” He then struck at it with a stick, but struck only the Groundsel, and broke the Stick. The Arm with which he struck was presently Disenabled, and it vanished away. He presently went out at the Back-Door, and spyed this Bishop, in her Orchard, going toward her House; but he had not power to set one foot forward unto her. Whereupon returning into the House, he was immediately accosted by the Monster he had seen before; which Goblin was now going to Fly at him; whereat he cry'd out, “The whole Armour of God be between me and you!” So it sprang back, and flew over the Apple Tree, shaking many Apples off the Tree, in its flying over. At its Leap, it flung Dirt with its Feet against the Stomach of the Man; whereon he was then struck Dumb, and so continued for three Days together. Upon the producing of this Testimony, Bishop deny'd that she knew this Deponent: yet their two Orchards joined, and they had often had their Little Quarrels for some years together.

XI. William Stacy Testifyed, That receiving Money of this Bishop, for work done by him, he was gone but a matter of Three Rods from her, and looking for his money, found it unaccountably gone from him. Some time after, Bishop asked him, whether his Father would grind her grist for her? He


demanded why? she Reply'd, “Because Folks count me a Witch.” He answered, “No Question, but he will grind it for you.” Being then gone about six Rods from her, with a small Load in his Cart, suddenly the Off-wheel slump't and sunk down into an Hole upon plain ground, so that the Deponent was forced to get help for the Recovering of the wheel. But stepping Back to look for the Hole which might give him this disaster, there was none at all to be found. Some time after, he was waked in the Night; but it seem'd as Light as Day, and he perfectly saw the shape of this Bishop in the Room, Troubling of him; but upon her going out, all was Dark again. He charg'd Bishop afterwards with it, and she deny'd it not; but was very angry. Quickly after, this Deponent having been threatned by Bishop, as he was in a dark Night going to the Barn, he was very suddenly taken or lifted from the ground, and thrown against a stone wall; After that, he was again hoisted up and thrown down a Bank, at the end of his House. After this again, passing by this Bishop, his Horse with a small load, striving to Draw, all his Gears flew to pieces, and the Cart fell down; and this deponent going then to lift a Bag of corn, of about two Bushels, could not budge it with all his might.

Many other pranks of this Bishops this Deponent was Ready to testify. He also testify'd, that he verily Believed, the said Bishop was the Instrument of his Daughter Priscilla's Death; of which suspicion, pregnant Reasons were assigned.

XII. To Crown all, John Bly and William Bly Testify'd, That being Employ'd by Bridget Bishop, to help take down the Cellar-wall of the old House, wherein she formerly Lived, they did in Holes of the said old Wall find several Poppets,[128] made up of Rags and Hogs Brussels, with Headless Pins in them, the Points being outward. Whereof she could give no Account unto the Court, that was Reasonable or Tolerable.

XIII. One thing that made against the Prisoner was, her being evidently convicted of Gross Lying in the Court, several Times, while she was making her Plea. But besides this, a


Jury of Women found a preternatural Teat upon her Body,[129] but upon a second search, within Three or four hours, there was no such thing to be seen. There was also an account of other people whom this woman had afflicted. And there might have been many more, if they had been enquired for. But there was no need of them.

XIV. There was one very strange thing more, with which the Court was newly Entertained. As this Woman was, under a Guard, passing by the Great and Spacious Meeting-House of Salem, she gave a Look towards the House. And immediately a Dæmon Invisibly Entring the Meeting-house, Tore down a part of it; so that tho' there were no person to be seen there, yet the people at the Noise running in, found a Board, which was strongly fastned with several Nails, transported unto another quarter of the House.



As to Bridget Bishop see also pp. 249, 356, below. She was of Salem Village, where she kept a sort of wayside tavern, but had long lived in the town, and still held property there. She was the first witch to be tried (June 2) and executed (June 10) — perhaps because she had so long been under suspicion. The records of her case are printed in Records of Salem Witchcraft, I. 135-172.


Supposed, of course, by her accusers to be such “images” as witches were alleged to make of their victims, for the sake of torturing them by proxy. (See above, p. 163, note 1, p. 219, and below, p. 440, note 1.)


See below, p. 436, and note 1.

III. The Tryal of Susanna Martin,[130] At the Court of Oyer and Terminer, Held by Adjournment at Salem, June 29, 1692.

I. Susanna Martin, pleading Not Guilty to the Indictment of Witchcraft brought in against her, there were produced the evidences of many persons very sensibly and grievously Bewitched; who all complaned of the prisoner at the Bar, as the person whom they Believed the cause of their Miseries. And now, as well as in the other Trials, there was an extraordinary endeavour by Witchcrafts, with Cruel and Frequent Fits, to hinder the poor sufferers from giving in their complaints; which the Court was forced with much patience to obtain, by much waiting and watching for it.

II. There was now also an Account given, of what passed at her first examination before the Magistrates. The cast of her eye then striking the Afflicted People to the ground, whether they saw that Cast or no; there were these among other passages between the Magistrates and the Examinate.


Pray, what ails these People?


I don't know.



But what do you think ails them?


I don't desire to spend my Judgment upon it.


Don't you think they are Bewitch'd?


No, I do not think they are.


Tell us your thoughts about them then.


No, my thoughts are my own when they are in, but when they are out, they are anothers. Their Master —


Their Master? who do you think is their Master?


If they be dealing in the Black Art, you may know as well as I.


Well, what have you done towards this?


Nothing at all.


Why, tis you or your Appearance.


I cannot help it.


Is it not Your Master? How comes your Appearance to hurt these?


How do I know? He that appeared in the shape of Samuel, a Glorify'd Saint, may Appear in any ones shape.

It was then also noted in her, as in others like her, that if the Afflicted went to approach her, they were flung down to the Ground. And, when she was asked the Reason of it, she said, “I cannot tell; it may be, the Devil bears me more Malice than another.”

III. The Court accounted themselves Alarum'd by these things, to Enquire further into the Conversation of the Prisoner; and see what there might occur, to render these Accusations further credible. Whereupon, John Allen, of Salisbury, testify'd, That he refusing, because of the weakness of his Oxen, to Cart some Staves, at the request of this Martin, she was displeased at it; and said, “It had been as good that he had; for his Oxen should never do him much more Service.” Whereupon this Deponent said, “Dost thou threaten me, thou old Witch? I'l throw thee into the Brook”: Which to avoid, she flew over the Bridge, and escaped. But, as he was going home, one of his Oxen Tired, so that he was forced to Unyoke him, that he might get him home. He then put his Oxen, with many more, upon Salisbury Beach, where Cattle did use to get Flesh. In a few days, all the Oxen upon the Beach were found by their Tracks, to have run unto the mouth of


Merrimack-River, and not returned; but the next day they were found come ashore upon Plum-Island. They that sought them used all imaginable gentleness, but they would still run away with a violence that seemed wholly Diabolical, till they came near the mouth of Merrimack-River; when they ran right into the Sea, swimming as far as they could be seen. One of them then swam back again, with a swiftness amazing to the Beholders, who stood ready to receive him, and help up his Tired Carcass: But the Beast ran furiously up into the Island, and from thence, through the Marishes, up into Newbury Town, and so up into the Woods; and there after a while found near Amesbury. So that, of Fourteen good Oxen, there was only this saved: the rest were all cast up, some in one place, and some in another, Drowned.

IV. John Atkinson Testify'd, That he Exchanged a Cow with a Son of Susanna Martins, whereat she muttered, and was unwilling he should have it. Going to Receive this Cow, tho' he Hamstring'd her, and Halter'd her, she of a Tame Creature grew so mad, that they could scarce get her along. She broke all the Ropes that were fastned unto her, and though she were Ty'd fast unto a Tree, yet she made her Escape, and gave them such further Trouble, as they could ascribe to no cause but Witchcraft.

V. Bernard Peache testify'd, That being in Bed on a Lords-day Night, he heard a scrabbling at the Window, whereat he then saw Susanna Martin come in, and jump down upon the Floor. She took hold of this Deponents Feet, and drawing his Body up into an Heap, she lay upon him near Two Hours; in all which time he could neither speak nor stirr. At length, when he could begin to move, he laid hold on her Hand, and pulling it up to his mouth, he bit three of her Fingers, as he judged, unto the Bone. Whereupon she went from the Chamber, down the Stairs, out at the Door. This Deponent there-upon called unto the people of the House, to advise them of what passed; and he himself did follow her. The people saw her not; but there being a Bucket at the Left-hand of the Door, there was a drop of Blood found on it; and several more drops of Blood upon the Snow newly fallen abroad. There was likewise the print of her two Feet just without the Threshold; but no more sign of any Footing further off.


At another time this Deponent was desired by the Prisoner, to come unto an Husking of Corn, at her House; and she said, If he did not come, it were better that he did! He went not; but the Night following, Susanna Martin, as he judged, and another came towards him. One of them said, “Here he is!” but he having a Quarter-staff, made a Blow at them. The Roof of the Barn broke his Blow; but following them to the Window, he made another Blow at them, and struck them down; yet they got up, and got out, and he saw no more of them.

About this time, there was a Rumour about the Town, that Martin had a Broken Head; but the Deponent could say nothing to that.

The said Peache also testify'd the Bewitching of Cattle to Death, upon Martin's Discontents.

VI. Robert Downer testifyed, That this Prisoner being some years ago prosecuted at Court for a Witch,[131] he then said unto her, He believed she was a Witch. Whereat she being dissatisfied, said, That some Shee-Devil would Shortly fetch him away! Which words were heard by others, as well as himself. The Night following, as he lay in his Bed, there came in at the Window the likeness of a Cat, which Flew upon him, took fast hold of his Throat, lay on him a considerable while, and almost killed him. At length he remembred what Susanna Martin had threatned the Day before; and with much striving he cryed out, “Avoid, thou Shee-Devil! In the Name of God the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost, Avoid!” Whereupon it left him, leap'd on the Floor, and Flew out at the Window.

And there also came in several Testimonies, that before ever Downer spoke a word of this Accident, Susanna Martin and her Family had related, How this Downer had been Handled!

VII. John Kembal testifyed, that Susanna Martin, upon a Causeless Disgust, had threatned him, about a certain Cow of his, That she should never do him any more Good: and it


came to pass accordingly. For soon after the Cow was found stark Dead on the dry Ground, without any Distemper to be discerned upon her. Upon which he was followed with a strange Death upon more of his Cattle, whereof he lost in One Spring to the value of Thirty Pounds. But the said John Kembal had a further Testimony to give in against the Prisoner which was truly admirable.

Being desirous to furnish himself with a Dog, he applied himself to buy one of this Martin, who had a Bitch with Whelps in her House. But she not letting him have his Choice, he said, he would supply himself then at one Blezdels. Having mark'd a puppy which he lik'd at Blezdels, he met George Martin, the Husband of the prisoner, going by, who asked him, Whether he would not have one of his Wives Puppies? and he answered, No. The same Day, one Edmund Eliot, being at Martins House, heard George Martin relate, where this Kembal had been, and what he had said. Whereupon Susanna Martin replyed, “If I live, I'll give him Puppies enough!” Within a few Dayes after, this Kembal coming out of the Woods, there arose a little Black Cloud in the N.W. and Kembal immediately felt a Force upon him, which made him not able to avoid running upon the stumps of Trees, that were before him, albeit he had a broad, plain Cart way, before him; but tho' he had his Ax also on his Shoulder to endanger him in his Falls, he could not forbear going out of his way to tumble over them. When he came below the Meeting-House, there appeared unto him a little thing like a Puppy, of a Darkish Colour; and it shot backwards and forwards between his Legs. He had the Courage to use all possible Endeavours of Cutting it with his Ax; but he could not Hit it; the Puppy gave a jump from him, and went, as to him it seem'd, into the Ground. Going a little further, there appeared unto him a Black Puppy, somewhat bigger than the first, but as Black as a Cole. Its motions were quicker than those of his Ax; it Flew at his Belly, and away; then at his Throat; so, over his Shoulder one way, and then over his Shoulder another way. His heart now began to fail him, and he thought the Dog would have Tore his Throat out. But he recovered himself, and called upon God in his Distress; and Naming the Name of Jesus Christ, it Vanished away at once. The Deponent Spoke


not one Word of these Accidents, for fear of affrighting his wife. But the next Morning, Edmond Eliot going into Martins House, this woman asked him where Kembal was? He Replyed, At home, a bed, for ought he knew. She returned, “They say, he was frighted last Night.” Eliot asked, “With what?” She answered, “With Puppies.” Eliot asked, Where she heard of it, for he had heard nothing of it? She rejoined, “About the Town.” Altho' Kembal had mentioned the Matter to no Creature Living.

VIII. William Brown testify'd, that Heaven having blessed him with a most Pious and prudent wife, this wife of his one day mett with Susanna Martin; but when she approch'd just unto her, Martin vanished out of sight, and left her extremely affrighted. After which time, the said Martin often appear'd unto her, giving her no little trouble; and when she did come, she was visited with Birds that sorely peck't and Prick'd her; and sometimes a Bunch, like a pullets egg, would Rise in her throat, ready to Choak her, till she cry'd out, “Witch, you shan't choak me!” While this good Woman was in this Extremity, the Church appointed a Day of Prayer, on her behalf; whereupon her Trouble ceas'd; she saw not Martin as formerly; and the Church, instead of their Fast, gave Thanks for her Deliverance. But a considerable while after, she being Summoned to give in some Evidence at the Court, against this Martin, quickly thereupon this Martin came behind her, while she was milking her Cow, and said unto her, “For thy defaming me at Court, I'l make thee the miserablest Creature in the World.” Soon after which, she fell into a strange kind of Distemper, and became horribly Frantick, and uncapable of any Reasonable Action; the Physicians declaring, that her Distemper was preternatural, and that some Devil had certainly Bewitched her; and in that Condition she now remained.

IX. Sarah Atkinson testify'd, That Susanna Martin came from Amesbury to their House at Newbury, in an extraordinary Season, when it was not fit for any one to Travel. She came (as she said unto Atkinson) all that long way on Foot. She brag'd and show'd how dry she was; nor could it be perceived that so much as the Soles of her Shoes were wet. Atkinson was amazed at it; and professed, that she should her self have


been wet up to the knees, if she had then came so far; but Martin reply'd, She scorn'd to be Drabbled! It was noted, that this Testimony upon her Trial cast her in a very singular Confusion.

X. John Pressy testify'd, That being one Evening very unaccountably Bewildred, near a field of Martins, and several times, as one under an Enchantment, returning to the place he had left, at length he saw a marvellous Light, about the Bigness of an Half-Bushel, near two Rod out of the way. He went, and struck at it with a Stick, and laid it on with all his might. He gave it near forty blows; and felt it a palpable substance. But going from it, his Heels were struck up, and he was laid with his Back on the Ground, Sliding, as he thought, into a Pit; from whence he recover'd, by taking hold on the Bush; altho' afterwards he could find no such Pit in the place. Having, after his Recovery, gone five or six Rod, he saw Susanna Martin standing on his Left-hand, as the Light had done before; but they changed no words with one another. He could scarce find his House in his Return; but at length he got home, extreamly affrighted. The next day, it was upon Enquiry understood, that Martin was in a miserable condition by pains and hurts that were upon her.

It was further testify'd by this Deponent, That after he had given in some Evidence against Susanna Martin, many years ago, she gave him foul words about it; and said, He should never prosper more; particularly, That he should never have more than two Cows; that tho' he were never so likely to have more, yet he should never have them. And that from that very Day to this, namely for Twenty Years together, he could never exceed that Number; but some strange thing or other still prevented his having of any more.

XI. Jervis Ring testifyed, that about seven years ago, he was oftentimes and grievously Oppressed in the Night, but saw not who Troubled him, until at last he, Lying perfectly Awake, plainly saw Susanna Martin approach him. She came to him, and forceably Bit him by the Finger; so that the Print of the Bite is now so long after to be seen upon him.

XII. But besides all of these Evidences, there was a most wonderful Account of one Joseph Ring, produced on this Occasion.


This man has been strangely carried about by Dæmons, from one Witch-Meeting to another, for near two years together; and for one Quarter of this Time, they have made him and kept him Dumb, tho' he is now again able to speak. There was one T. H.[132] who having, as tis judged, a Design of engaging this Joseph Ring in a Snare of Devillism, contrived a wile, to bring this Ring two Shillings in Debt unto him.

Afterwards, this poor man would be visited with unknown shapes, and this T. H. sometimes among them; which would force him away with them, unto unknown Places, where he saw meetings, Feastings, Dancings; and after his Return, wherein they hurried him along thro' the Air, he gave Demonstrations to the Neighbours, that he had indeed been so transported. When he was brought unto these Hellish meetings, one of the First things they still[133] did unto him, was to give him a knock on the Back, whereupon he was ever as if Bound with Chains, uncapable of Stirring out of the place, till they should Release him. He related, that there often came to him a man, who presented him a Book, whereto he would have him set his Hand; promising to him, that he should then have even what he would; and presenting him with all the Delectable Things, persons, and places, that he could imagine. But he refusing to subscribe, the business would end with dreadful Shapes, Noises and Screeches, which almost scared him out of his witts. Once with the Book, there was a Pen offered him, and an Inkhorn with Liquor in it, that seemed like Blood: but he never toucht it.

This man did now affirm, that he saw the Prisoner at several of those Hellish Randezvouzes.

Note, This Woman was one of the most Impudent, Scurrilous, wicked creatures in the world; and she did now throughout her whole Trial discover herself to be such an one. Yet when she was asked, what she had to say for her self? her Cheef Plea was, That she had Led a most virtuous and Holy Life!



Of Amesbury. She too had been long accused. For the trial records see Records of Salem Witchcraft, I. 193-233. She was executed on July 19.


In 1669. She was then bound over to the Superior Court, but was discharged without trial. (Hutchinson, History of Massachusetts, II., ch. I., as published from an earlier draft, with notes by W. F. Poole, in N. E. Hist. and Gen. Register, XXIV.)


Thomas Hardy, of Great Island, near Portsmouth. See Records, I. 216.




IV. The Trial of Elizabeth How,[134] at the Court of Oyer and Terminer, Held by Adjournment at Salem, June 30, 1692.

I. Elizabeth How pleading Not Guilty to the Indictment of Witchcrafts, then charged upon her, the Court, according to the usual proceeding of the Courts in England, in such Cases, began with hearing the Depositions of Several Afflicted People, who were grievously Tortured by sensible and evident Witchcrafts, and all complained of the Prisoner, as the cause of their Trouble. It was also found that the Sufferers were not able to bear her Look, as likewise, that in their greatest Swoons, they distinguished her Touch from other peoples, being thereby raised out of them.

And there was other Testimony of people to whom the shape of this How gave trouble Nine or Ten years ago.

II. It has been a most usual thing for the Bewitched persons, at the same time that the Spectres representing the Witches Troubled them, to be visited with Apparitions of Ghosts, pretending to have bin Murdered by the Witches then represented. And sometimes the confessions of the witches afterwards acknowledged those very Murders, which these Apparitions charged upon them; altho' they had never heard what Informations had been given by the Sufferers.

There were such Apparitions of Ghosts testified by some of the present Sufferers, and the Ghosts affirmed that this How had Murdered them: which things were Fear'd but not prov'd.

III. This How had made some Attempts of Joyning to the Church, at Ipswich, several years ago; but she was deny'd an Admission into that Holy Society, partly through a suspicion of witchcraft, then urged against her. And there now came in Testimony, of Preternatural Mischiefs, presently befalling some that had been Instrumental to Debar her from the Communion, whereupon she was Intruding.


IV. There was a particular Deposition of Joseph Safford, That his Wife had conceived an extream Aversion to this How, on the Reports of her Witchcrafts: but How one day, taking her by the hand, and saying, “I believe you are not Ignorant of the great Scandal that I ly under, by an evil Report Raised upon me,” She immediately, unreasonably, and unperswadeably, even like one Enchanted, began to take this Womans part. How being soon after propounded, as desiring an Admission to the Table of the Lord, some of the pious Brethren were unsatisfy'd about her. The Elders appointed a Meeting to hear Matters objected against her; and no Arguments in the world could hinder this Goodwife Safford from going to the Lecture. She did indeed promise, with much ado, that she would not go to the Church-Meeting, yet she could not refrain going thither also. How's Affayrs there were so Canvased, that she came off rather Guilty than Cleared; nevertheless Goodwife Safford could not forbear taking her by the Hand, and saying, “Tho' you are Condemned before men, you are Justify'd before God.” She was quickly taken in a very strange manner, Frantick, Raving, Raging and Crying out, “Goody How must come into the Church; she is a precious Saint; and tho' she be Condemned before Men, she is Justify'd before God.” So she continued for the space of two or three Hours; and then fell into a Trance. But coming to her self, she cry'd out, “Ha! I was mistaken”; and afterwards again repeated, “Ha! I was mistaken!” Being asked by a stander by, “Wherein?” She replyed, “I thought Goody How had been a Precious Saint of God, but now I see she is a Witch. She has Bewitched me, and my Child, and we shall never be well, till there be Testimony for her, that she may be taken into the Church.” And How said afterwards, that she was very Sorry to see Safford at the Church-Meeting mentioned. Safford after this declared herself to be afflicted by the Shape of How; and from that Shape she endured many Miseries.

V. John How, Brother to the Husband of the prisoner testifyed, that he refusing to accompany the prisoner unto her Examination, as was by her desired, immediately some of his Cattle were Bewitched to Death, Leaping three or four foot high, turning about, Squeaking, Falling, and Dying, at once; and going to cut off an Ear, for an use that might as well per


haps have been Omitted,[135] the Hand wherein he held his knife was taken very Numb, and so it remained, and full of Pain, for several Dayes; being not well at this very Time. And he suspected this prisoner for the Author of it.

VI. Nehemiah Abbot testify'd, that unusual and mischievous Accidents would befal his cattle, whenever he had any Difference with this Prisoner. Once, Particularly, she wished his Oxe Choaked; and within a Little while that Oxe was Choaked with a Turnip in his Throat. At another time, refusing to lend his horse, at the Request of her Daughter, the horse was in a Preternatural manner abused. And several other Odd Things of that kind were testify'd.

VII. There came in Testimony, that one goodwife Sherwin, upon some Difference with How, was Bewitched, and that she Dy'd, Charging this How of having an Hand in her Death. And that other People had their Barrels of Drink unaccountably mischieved, spoilt, and spilt, upon their Displeasing of her.

The things in themselves were Trivial; but there being such a Course of them, it made them the more to be considered. Among others, Martha Wood gave her Testimony, that a Little after her Father had been employ'd in gathering an Account of Howes Conversation, they once and again Lost Great Quantities of Drink out of their Vessels, in such a manner, as they could ascribe to nothing but Witchcraft. As also, that How giving her some Apples, when she had eaten of them she was taken with a very strange kind of a maze, insomuch that she knew not what she said or did.

VIII. There was Likewise a cluster of Depositions, that one Isaac Cummings refusing to lend his Mare unto the Husband of this How, the mare was within a Day or two taken in a strange condition. The Beast seemed much Abused; being


Bruised, as if she had been Running over the Rocks, and marked where the Bridle went, as if burnt with a Red hot Bridle. Moreover, one using a Pipe of Tobacco for the Cure of the Beast, a blew Flame issued out of her, took hold of her Hair, and not only Spread and Burnt on her, but it also flew upwards towards the Roof of the Barn, and had like to have set the Barn on Fire. And the Mare dy'd very suddenly.

IX. Timothy Perley and his Wife Testify'd, not only that unaccountable Mischiefs befel their Cattle, upon their having of Differences with this Prisoner: but also, that they had a Daughter destroy'd by Witchcrafts; which Daughter still charged How as the cause of her Affliction; and it was noted, that she would be struck down, whenever How were spoken of. She was often endeavoured to be Thrown into the Fire, and into the Water, in her strange Fits: tho' her Father had Corrected her for Charging How with Bewitching her, yet (as was testify'd by others also) she said, she was sure of it, and must dy standing to it. Accordingly she Charged How to the very Death; and said, Tho' How could Afflict and Torment her Body, yet she could not Hurt her Soul: and, That the Truth of this matter would appear, when she should be Dead and Gone.

X. Francis Lane testify'd, That being hired by the Husband of this How to get him a parcel of Posts and Rails, this Lane hired John Pearly to assist him. This Prisoner then told Lane, that she believed the Posts and Rails would not do, because John Perley helped him; but that if he had got them alone, without John Pearlies help, they might have done well enough. When James How came to receive his Posts and Rails of Lane, How taking them up by the ends, they, tho' good and sound, yet unaccountably broke off, so that Lane was forced to get Thirty or Forty more. And this Prisoner being informed of it, she said, she told him so before; because Pearly help'd about them.

XI. Afterwards there came in the Confessions of several other (penitent) Witches, which affirmed this How to be one of those, who with them had been baptized by the Devil in the River at Newbery-Falls: before which, he made them there kneel down by the Brink of the River and Worship him.



Of Ipswich. For the touching story of her trial and of the loyalty of her blind husband and her daughters, see especially Upham, Salem Witchcraft, II. 216-223, and, in the Historical Collections of the Topsfield Historical Society, XIII. (1908), the study on “Topsfield in the Witchcraft Delusion,” by Mrs. Towne and Miss Clark. In the same volume (pp. 107-126) Mr. G. F. Dow has published the records of her case more completely than has Woodward in Records of Salem Witchcraft (II. 69-94). She was executed on July 19.


What this purpose may have been does not appear in the evidence: John How testifies merely that a neighbor who had laughed at him for thinking the sow bewitched told him to cut off her ear, “the which I did.” It was doubtless to burn it, as a means to detect the witch. So, Perkins and Gaule say, in England it was a practice to burn the thing bewitched; and so at New Haven, in 1657, Thomas Mullener cut off the tail and ear of a pig and threw them into the fire to find out the witch (Records of the Colony of New Haven, II. 224). The belief was that the person who then first came to the fire was the witch (see below, p.411).


V. The Trial of Martha Carrier,[136] at the Court of Oyer and Terminer, Held by Adjournment at Salem, August 2, 1692.

I. Martha Carrier was Indicted for the Bewitching of certain Persons, according to the Form usual in such Cases. Pleading Not Guilty, to her Indictment, there were First brought in a considerable number of the Bewitched Persons; who not only made the Court sensible of an horrid Witchcraft committed upon them, but also deposed, That it was Martha Carrier, or her Shape, that Grievously Tormented them, by Biting, Pricking, Pinching, and Choaking of them. It was further deposed, that while this Carrier was on her Examination, before the Magistrates, the Poor People were so Tortured that every one expected their Death upon the very Spott; but that upon the binding of Carrier they were eased. Moreover the Look of Carrier then laid the Afflicted People for Dead; and her Touch, if her Eye at the same Time were off them, raised them again. Which things were also now seen upon her Trial. And it was Testifyed, that upon the mention of some having their Necks twisted almost round, by the Shape of this Carrier, she replyed, “Its no matter, tho' their Necks had been twisted quite off.”

II. Before the Trial of this prisoner, several of her own Children had frankly and fully confessed, not only that they were Witches themselves, but that this their Mother had made them so. This Confession they made with great shows of Repentance, and with much Demonstration of Truth. They Related Place, Time, Occasion; they gave an account of Journeyes, Meetings, and Mischiefs by them performed; and were very credible in what they said. Nevertheless, this Evidence was not produced against the Prisoner at the Bar, inasmuch as there was other Evidence enough to proceed upon.

III. Benjamin Abbot gave in his Testimony, that last March was a twelve month, this Carrier was very Angry with


him, upon laying out some Land, near her Husbands: Her Expressions in this Anger, were, That she would stick as close to Abbot, as the Bark stuck to the Tree, and that he should Repent of it afore seven years came to an end, so as Doctor Prescot should never cure him. These words were heard by others, besides Abbot himself; who also heard her say, She would hold his Nose as close to the Grindstone, as ever it was held since his Name was Abbot. Presently after this, he was taken with a swelling in his Foot, and then with a pain in his side, and exceedingly Tormented. It bred into a sore, which was Lanced by Doctor Prescot, and several Gallons of Corruption ran out of it. For six weeks it continued very bad; and then another sore bred in his Groin, which was also Lanc'd by Doctor Prescot. Another Sore then bred in his Groin, which was likewise Cut, and put him to very great Misery. He was brought unto Deaths Door, and so remained until Carrier was taken, and carried away by the Constable; from which very day, he began to mend, and so grew better every day, and is well ever since.

Sarah Abbot also, his Wife, testify'd, that her Husband was not only all this while Afflicted in his Body, but also that strange, extraordinary and unaccountable Calamities befel his Cattel; their Death being such as they could guess at no Natural Reason for.

IV. Allin Toothaker testify'd, That Richard, the Son of Martha Carrier, having some Difference with him, pull'd him down by the Hair of the Head. When he Rose again, he was going to strike at Richard Carrier; but fell down flat on his Back to the ground, and had not power to stir hand or foot, until he told Carrier he yielded; and then he saw the Shape of Martha Carrier go off his Breast.

This Toothaker had Received a Wound in the Wars; and he now testify'd, that Martha Carrier told him, He should never be Cured. Just afore the Apprehending of Carrier, he could thrust a knitting Needle into his Wound, four Inches


Deep; but presently after her being Siezed, he was thoroughly Healed.

He further testify'd, That when Carrier and he sometimes were at variance, she would clap her hands at him, and say, He should get nothing by it; Whereupon he several times lost his Cattle, by strange Deaths, whereof no Natural Causes could be given.

V. John Rogger also testifyed, That upon the threatning words of this malicious Carrier, his Cattle would be strangely Bewitched; as was more particularly then described.

VI. Samuel Preston testify'd, that about two years ago, having some Difference with Martha Carrier, he lost a Cow in a strange Preternatural unusual manner; and about a month after this, the said Carrier, having again some Difference with him, she told him, He had lately lost a Cow, and it should not be long before he Lost another! which accordingly came to Pass; for he had a Thriving and well-kept Cow, which without any known cause quickly fell down and Dy'd.

VII. Phebe Chandler testify'd, that about a Fortnight before the apprehension of Martha Carrier, on a Lords-Day, while the Psalm was singing, in the Church, this Carrier then took her by the shoulder and shaking her, asked her, where she Lived? she made her no Answer, although as Carrier, who lived next door to her Fathers House, could not in reason but know who she was. Quickly after this, as she was at several times crossing the Fields, she heard a voice, that she took to be Martha Carriers, and it seem'd as if it was over her Head. The voice told her, she should within two or three days be Poisoned. Accordingly, within such a Little time, One Half of her Right Hand became greatly swollen, and very painful; as also part of her Face; whereof she can give no account how it came. It continued very Bad for some dayes; and several times since, she has had a great pain in her Breast; and been so siezed on her Legs, that she has hardly been able to go. She added that lately, going well to the House of God, Richard, the Son of Martha Carrier, Look'd very earnestly upon her, and immediately her hand, which had formerly been poisoned, as is abovesaid, began to pain her greatley, and she had a strange Burning at her stomach; but was then struck deaf,


so that she could not hear any of the prayer, or singing, till the two or three last words of the Psalme.

VIII. One Foster, who confessed her own Share in the Witchcraft for which the Prisoner stood indicted, affirm'd, That she had seen the Prisoner at some of their Witch-Meetings, and that it was this Carrier, who perswaded her to be a Witch. She confessed, That the Devil carry'd them on a Pole, to a Witch-Meeting; but the Pole broke, and she hanging about Carriers Neck, they both fell down, and she then Received an Hurt by the Fall, whereof she was not at this very time Recovered.

IX. One Lacy, who likewise confessed her share in this Witchcraft, now Testify'd, That she and the Prisoner were once Bodily present at a Witch-meeting in Salem-Village; and that she knew the Prisoner to be a Witch, and to have been at a Diabolical Sacrament, and that the Prisoner was the undoing of her and her Children, by Enticing them into the Snare of the Devil.

X. Another Lacy, who also Confessed her share in this Witchcraft, now Testify'd, That the Prisoner was at the Witch-Meeting, in Salem Village, where they had Bread and Wine Administred unto them.

XI. In the Time of this Prisoner's Trial, one Susanna Shelden in open Court had her Hands Unaccountably Ty'd together with a Wheel-band, so fast that without Cutting it could not be Loosed: It was done by a Spectre; and the Sufferer affirm'd, it was the Prisoners.

Memorandum. This Rampant Hag, Martha Carrier, was the Person, of whom the Confessions of the Witches, and of her own Children among the rest, agreed, That the Devil had promised her, she should be Queen of Hell.

Having thus far done the Service imposed upon me, I will further pursue it, by relating a few of those Matchless Curiosities, with which the Witchcraft now upon us has entertained us. And I shall Report nothing but with Good Authority, and what I would Invite all my Readers to examine, while tis yet Fresh and New, that if there be found any mistake, it may be as willingly Retracted, as it was unwillingly Committed.



Of Andover. She was executed, like Burroughs, on August 19, the day when Mather himself was present and said “all died by a righteous sentence” (Sewall, Diary, I. 363). “All of them,” says Judge Sewall, “said they were innocent, Carrier and all.” Important for her case are, beside the Records of Salem Witchcraft (II. 54-68, 198-199), the documents preserved by Hutchinson (Massachusetts, II., ch. I., and the draft edited by Poole in N. E. Hist. and Gen. Register, XXIV.). They are reprinted in Abbot's History of Andover (Andover, 1829), and Mrs. Bailey, in her Historical Sketches of Andover (Boston, 1880) has added others and told the story in detail (pp. 194-237). On Goodwife Carrier and her Andover neighbors see also pp. 180-182, 363, 371-375, 418-421.


The First Curiositie.

I. Tis very Remarkable to see what an Impious and Impudent Imitation of Divine Things is Apishly affected by the Devil, in several of those matters, whereof the Confessions of our Witches and the Afflictions of our Sufferers have informed us.

That Reverend and Excellent Person, Mr. John Higginson,[137] in My Conversation with him, Once invited me to this Reflection; That the Indians which came from far to settle about Mexico, were in their Progress to that Settlement, under a Conduct of the Devil, very strangely Emulating what the Blessed God gave to Israel in the Wilderness.

Acosta[138] is our Author for it, that the Devil in their Idol Vitzlipultzli governed that mighty Nation. He commanded them to leave their Country, promising to make them Lords over all the Provinces possessed by Six other Nations of Indians, and give them a Land abounding with all precious things. They went forth, carrying their Idol with them, in a Coffer of Reeds, supported by Four of their Principal Priests; with whom he still Discoursed, in secret, Revealing to them the Successes, and Accidents of their way. He advised them, when to March, and where to Stay, and without his Commandment they moved not. The first thing they did, wherever they came, was to Erect a Tabernacle, for their False God; which they set always in the midst of their Camp, and there placed the Ark upon an Altar. When they, Tired with pains, talked of proceeding no further in their Journey, than a certain pleasant Stage, whereto they were arrived, this Devil in one night horribly kill'd them that had started this Talk, by pulling out their Hearts. And so they passed on, till they came to Mexico.

The Devil which then thus imitated what was in the Church of the Old Testament, now among Us would Imitate the Affayrs


of the Church in the New. The Witches do say, that they form themselves much after the manner of Congregational Churches; and that they have a Baptism and a Supper, and Officers among them, abominably Resembling those of our Lord.

But there are many more of these Bloody Imitations, if the Confessions of the Witches are to be Received; which I confess, ought to be but with very much of Caution.

What is their striking down with a fierce Look? What is their making of the Afflicted Rise, with a touch of their Hand? What is their Transportation thro' the Air? What is their Travelling in Spirit, while their Body is cast into a Trance? What is their causing of Cattle to run mad and perish? What is their Entring their Names in a Book? What is their coming together from all parts, at the Sound of a Trumpet? What is their Appearing sometimes Cloathed with Light or Fire upon them? What is their Covering of themselves and their Instruments with Invisibility? But a Blasphemous Imitation of certain Things recorded about our Saviour, or His Prophets, or the Saints in the Kingdom of God.



Senior minister at Salem Town. See also p. 248, note 2, and pp. 398, 399-402.


It is the Spanish Jesuit, Joseph Acosta, who in his Natural and Moral History of the Indies (bk. VII., ch. 4) relates this. Mather seems to have used the English version of Grimston (London, 1604), paraphrasing and abridging after a free fashion and inserting from the following chapter what is in his last two sentences.

A Second Curiositie.

II. In all the Witchcraft which now Grievously Vexes us, I know not whether any thing be more Unaccountable, than the Trick which the Witches have, to render themselves and their Tools Invisible. Witchcraft seems to be the Skill of Applying the Plastic Spirit of the World[139] unto some unlawful purposes, by means of a Confederacy with Evil Spirits. Yet one would wonder how the Evil Spirits themselves can do some things: especially at Invisibilizing of the Grossest Bodies. I can tell the Name of an Ancient Author, who pretends to show the way, how a man may come to walk about Invisible, and I can tell the Name of another Ancient Author, who pretends to Explode that way. But I will not speak too plainly, Lest I should unawares Poison some of my Readers, as the


Pious Hemingius did one of his Pupils, when he only by way of Diversion recited a Spell, which, they had said, would cure Agues.[140] This much I will say; The notion of procuring Invisibility, by any Natural Expedient yet known, is, I Believe, a meer Plinyism; How far it may be obtained by a Magical Sacrament, is best known to the Dangerous Knaves that have Try'd it. But our Witches do seem to have got the Knack: and this is one of the Things, that make me think, Witchcraft will not be fully understood, until the Day when there shall not be one Witch in the World.

There are certain people very Dogmatical about these matters; but I'l give them only these Three Bones to Pick.

First, One of our Bewitched people was cruelly assaulted by a Spectre, that, she said, ran at her with a Spindle: tho' no body else in the Room, could see either the Spectre or the Spindle. At last, in her miseries, giving a Snatch at the Spectre, she pull'd the Spindle away; and it was no sooner got into her hand, but the other people then present beheld, that it was indeed a Real, Proper, Iron Spindle, belonging they knew to whom; which when they Lock'd up very safe, it was nevertheless by Dæmons unaccountably stole away, to do further mischief.

Secondly, Another of our Bewitched People was haunted with a most abusive Spectre, which came to her, she said, with a Sheet about her. After she had undergone a deal of Teaze, from the Annoyances of the Spectre, she gave a Violent Snatch at the Sheet that was upon it; wherefrom she tore a Corner, which in her Hand immediately became Visible to a Roomful of Spectators; a Palpable Corner of a Sheet. Her Father, who was now holding her, Catch'd that he might Keep what his Daughter had so strangely Seized, but the unseen Spectre had like to have pull'd his Hand off, by Endeavouring to wrest it from him; however he still held it, and I suppose has it still to show; it being but a few Hours ago, namely about the Beginning of this October, that this Accident happened; in the family of one Pitman, at Manchester.

Thirdly, A young man, delaying to procure Testimonials


for his Parents, who being under confinement on Suspicion of Witchcraft, required him to do that Service for them, was quickly pursued with odd Inconveniences. But once above the Rest, an Officer going to put his Brand on the Horns of some Cows, belonging to these people, which tho' he had Siez'd for some of their Debts, yet he was willing to leave in their Possession, for the Subsistence of the poor Family; this young man help'd in holding the Cows to be thus Branded. The three first Cows he held well enough; but when the hot Brand was clap't upon the Fourth, he winc'd and shrunk at such a rate, as that he could hold the Cow no longer. Being afterwards Examined about it, he Confessed, That at that very Instant when the Brand entred the Cows Horn, exactly the like burning Brand was clap'd upon his own Thigh; where he has Exposed the Lasting Marks of it, unto such as asked to see them.

Unriddle these Things, — Et Eris mihi magnus Apollo.[141]



This phrase shows the influence of Ralph Cudworth (see his Intellectual System, bk. I., ch. III., §37) and through him of Cambridge Platonism — whose demonology (e. g., Cudworth, bk. I., ch. V., at end) must also be remembered here.


It is the great Danish theologian Nicholas Hemming (Niels Hemmingsen) who tells this story of himself in his Admonitio de Superstitionibus Magicis vitandis (Copenhagen, 1575), fol. C2 verso.


“And thou shalt be to me a great Apollo” — i. e., a great revealer of mysteries. For their unriddling see p. 370, below.

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.



A Fourth Curiositie.

IV. 'Tis a thousand pitties, that we should permit our Eyes to be so Blood-shot with passions, as to loose the sight of many wonderful Things, wherein the Wisdom and Justice of God, would be Glorify'd. Some of those Things, are the frequent Apparitions of Ghosts, whereby many Old Murders among us, come to be considered. And, among many Instances of this kind, I will single out one, which concerned a poor man,


lately Prest unto Death, because of his Refusing to Plead for his Life.[145] I shall make an Extract of a Letter, which was written to my Honourable Friend, Samuel Sewal, Esq.,[146] by Mr. Putman,[147] to this purpose;

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 Covenanted 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;[148] 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.

Thus the Story.

The Reverend and Worthy Author, having at the Direction of His Excellency the Governour, so far Obliged the Publick, as to give some Account of the Sufferings brought upon the


Countrey by Witchcraft; and of the Trials which have passed upon several Executed for the Same:

Upon Perusal thereof, We find the Matters of Fact and Evidence, Truly reported. And a Prospect given, of the Methods of Conviction, used in the Proceedings of the Court at Salem.

William Stoughton Samuel Sewall.



As to the case of Giles Corey see below, pp. 366-367.


Judge Sewall, of the court.


Thomas Putnam, of Salem Village, whose wife and daughter played so large a part as accusers.


Of Salem Village. A son of John Endicott, the first governor of the Bay colony, and himself much honored as a physician.