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date: 19 April 2018

The Salem Witch Trials

Summary and Keywords

The Salem Witch Trials are one of the best known, most studied, and most important events in early American history. The afflictions started in Salem Village (present-day Danvers), Massachusetts, in January 1692, and by the end of the year the outbreak had spread throughout Essex County, and threatened to bring down the newly formed Massachusetts Bay government of Sir William Phips. It may have even helped trigger a witchcraft crisis in Connecticut that same year. The trials are known for their heavy reliance on spectral evidence, and numerous confessions, which helped the accusations grow. A total of 172 people are known to have been formally charged or informally cried out upon for witchcraft in 1692. Usually poor and marginalized members of society were the victims of witchcraft accusations, but in 1692 many of the leading members of the colony were accused. George Burroughs, a former minister of Salem Village, was one of the nineteen people convicted and executed. In addition to these victims, one man, Giles Cory, was pressed to death, and five died in prison. The last executions took place in September 1692, but it was not until May 1693 that the last trial was held and the last of the accused was freed from prison.

The trials would have lasting repercussions in Massachusetts and signaled the beginning of the end of the Puritan City upon a Hill, an image of American exceptionalism still regularly invoked. The publications ban issued by Governor Phips to prevent criticism of the government would last three years, but ultimately this effort only ensured that the failure of the government to protect innocent lives would never be forgotten. Pardons and reparations for some of the victims and their families were granted by the government in the early 18th century, and the legislature would regularly take up petitions, and discuss further reparations until 1749, more than fifty years after the trials. The last victims were formally pardoned by the governor and legislature of Massachusetts in 2001.

Keywords: Salem, witch, trials, witchcraft, Massachusetts, 1692, crisis, specter, spectral

Introduction and Background

The Salem Witch Trials are one of the best known events in early American history for good reason. They were by far the largest and most lethal witchcraft crisis in American history. At least 172 people were formally accused or informally cried out upon throughout 1692, and the Salem trials would not come to an end until May 1693. The crisis seriously threatened the new Massachusetts Bay government of Sir William Phips and would be a critical turning point in the history of the colony and the region.

Despite their size, the Salem trials are just a small part of a much larger pattern. At least 350 people were accused of witchcraft in New England between 1620 and 1725, part of the roughly 100,000 tried and approximately 50,000 executed in Europe and her colonies during the great age of witch hunts, which spanned roughly from 1400 to 1775. But, almost half of the New England accusations occurred during the Salem outbreak. New Englanders had been tried and executed for witchcraft before 1692, though in most cases only one or two people had been accused. Indeed, the second largest outbreak was in Hartford (1662–1663), where eleven were formally charged and four executed. After the Hartford outbreak, witchcraft accusations and prosecutions declined. There was only one execution for witchcraft in the three decades between Hartford and Salem. An observer might have reasonably concluded that the crime of witchcraft was disappearing in New England.1

Yet in 1692, a convergence of many factors would bring witchcraft accusations back with a vengeance. During the 1680s and early 1690s Massachusetts faced a series of internal and external threats that created increasing tensions and concerns. King Charles II revoked the Massachusetts Bay Charter of 1629 and replaced it with the Dominion of New England in 1686. This signaled the eclipse of the Puritan state, as Massachusetts became part of a super-colony that eventually stretched from New Jersey to Maine. Governor Sir Edmund Andros established a strict rule under which many liberties were removed. People no longer were allowed to elect their governor and legislators, and all Protestant denominations were allowed to openly worship in a colony that previously was a Puritan theocracy. Andros tightened enforcement of revenue laws and the Navigation Acts. He questioned the colony’s practices of granting land and threatened to vacate the title of every homeowner and landholder in the colony. So desperate were the colonists that in April 1689 they overthrew Andros and placed him in jail, not even waiting for confirmation of the rumors of the Glorious Revolution in England.2

Unfortunately the overthrow of Andros led to more problems. An English army colonel, Andros had effectively fortified the northern frontier of the colony in Maine, where a war with the Wabanaki and their French allies had recently commenced. But the weak interim government that replaced Andros mismanaged the war. By early 1692, almost all Maine settlements had been abandoned, and the townships of Essex County, even rural areas of Salem, were exposed to potential attack. The war destroyed property, interrupted trade, and escalated taxes, further damaging a flagging economy. Bad weather led to a series of crop failures, causing inflation and even some famine. No one knew it at the time, but the 1680s and 1690s produced the most extreme weather of the entire Little Ice Age. Furthermore, the new government lacked the authority to bring effective rule and much needed stability to the colony. Only in May 1692 did Reverend Increase Mather and Sir William Phips return to Boston, armed with a new royal charter for the colony and a commission for Sir William as its first governor. The Massachusetts Bay Charter of 1691 actually added to the turmoil, for it invalidated all the old laws of the colony, creating legal uncertainty until Phips and the legislature completed the lengthy process of rewriting the entire legal code.3

In a Puritan society that saw all things as possible signs of God’s pleasure or displeasure, the many challenges faced by Massachusetts convinced people that God was angry with the Puritan “City upon a Hill.” That anger stemmed from a believed decline in Puritanism, which seemed to be indicated by declining church membership and an increase in worldliness. Puritan declension was probably more perceived than real, but that perception was enough to lead to more sermons lamenting New England’s spiritual demise—the “jeremiad” sermons that adopted the style of the Lamentations of Jeremiah in the Old Testament—and even an order from the interim government in 1690 calling for moral reformation throughout the colony.4

These political, military, economic, and religious fears resonated in Salem Village, which would be the center of the witchcraft crisis. The region called Salem Farms or Salem Village was a rural hinterland in the interior of Salem, many miles removed from the busy commercial waterfront and wealthy merchants of Salem Town. Since 1666 residents of the village had campaigned for independence from Salem Town. Many had to walk at least 5–6 miles to attend worship on the Sabbath, to serve on the night watch, and to fulfill other civic obligations. Other towns, including Wenham, Beverly, and Marblehead, had successfully broken off from Salem, but the mother town refused to let the Salem Village go. In 1672 a compromise was agreed to that allowed Salem Village to build a meetinghouse and hire a minister, effectively creating a second parish within Salem. Unfortunately, this status, virtually unknown in 17th-century Massachusetts, produced a political vacuum. A committee was elected to assess and collect church tithes, but there was no effective political governance. Neither was there a strong spiritual authority, for Salem Village had not been given the power to gather a group of Puritan saints and formally create a church. Villagers who wanted to receive the Lord’s Supper had to go to Salem Town or other surrounding churches. Only in 1689 was the village’s minister, Samuel Parris, formally ordained and a church organized.5

Parris was the fourth minister hired by Salem Village since 1672, a sign of the turmoil in the community. His three predecessors, James Bayley, George Burroughs, and Deodat Lawson, had all left amid controversy. Factions formed around all four of these ministers, seriously dividing the community. One villager wrote to Burroughs in 1682, lamenting the disputes that pitted “brother against brother, and neighbors against neighbors.”6 Parris initially met with success in his new job, and he was able to quickly grow church membership, as he joined the call for moral reformation. Yet, some clearly found Parris’s tone to be too strident. In 1691 church membership plateaued and in elections that fall, control of the village committee fell into the hands of his opponents. Lacking the authority to fire the minister, the committee did the next best thing, refusing to pay him his salary, or provide firewood for his parsonage. Other men would have soon left the village, but not Samuel Parris.7

Samuel Parris had failed at most things he attempted in life. He attended Harvard, presumably to become a minister, but left without graduating, returning home to Barbados in 1673 when his father died to assume a healthy inheritance that included ownership of his sugar plantation. Yet by the early 1680s, he had somehow lost most of this fortune, so he moved to Boston to become a merchant. While others prospered in this profession, Parris did not and soon his thoughts returned to a career in the ministry. Lacking a degree from Harvard, he had limited options, so in 1689, after almost a year of tough negotiations, he agreed to become the minister in troubled Salem Village. Though the pay was considerably lower in this small rural community than in other towns, he saw the job in Salem Village as his last chance to achieve the respectability and security he longed for for himself and his family. He would fight hard to keep his job, finally agreeing to step down in the summer of 1695, more than two years after the witch trials had ended.8

First Accusations

The first signs of bewitchment would occur in Reverend Parris’s own family. In the middle of January 1692, Parris and his wife, Elizabeth, began to notice that their nine-year-old daughter Betty and niece Abigail Williams (who was approximately eleven) were behaving quite strangely. After several weeks the minister called in friends and colleagues, including Reverend John Hale from neighboring Beverly to observe the girls. Hale noted “These Children were bitten and pinched by invisible agents; their arms, necks, and backs turned this way and that way, and returned back again, so as it was impossible for them to do of themselves, and beyond the power of any epileptic fits, or natural disease to effect. Sometimes they were taken dumb, their mouths stopped, their throats choked, their limbs wracked and tormented so as might move an heart of stone, to sympathize with them, with bowels of compassion for them.” They also suffered “by pins invisibly stuck into their flesh, [and] pricking with irons.”9

By February 25, two more girls, suffered their initial demonic afflictions. Ann Putnam Jr. was the twelve-year-old daughter of Sgt. Thomas Putnam and his wife, Ann Carr Putnam. Seventeen year old Elizabeth Hubbard worked as a maid for her aunt, Rachel Griggs, and her husband, Dr. William Griggs. Though the Putnams lived almost two miles to the west of the Parris parsonage, and the Griggs home was about two miles to the east, both would have known about the affliction. Thomas Putnam was among Reverend Parris’s inner circle of supporters, and scholars believe that Dr. Griggs was the unnamed doctor who had been attending the Parris girls and determined that they were “under an evil hand.”10

The four girls claimed to be afflicted by specters who tormented them with a range of threats and physical harm. These spirits were invisible to all but those they attacked. The first specter they recognized was Tituba, the Native American woman who was the Parrises’ household slave. Soon they were also attacked by the specters of Sarah Good and Sarah Osburn Good was a poor, disaffected woman known for her sharp tongue. Osburn was a bedridden woman who lived on the northern edge of Salem Village and who was plagued by ill-health and scandal.11

On February 29 four Salem Village men, led by Ann Putnam’s father, Thomas, traveled to Salem Town to swear out legal complaints before local magistrates Jonathan Corwin and John Hathorne, accusing all three women of “suspicion of witchcraft.” The judges ordered the women arrested. Unfortunately, the judges failed to require the complainants to post bond as required under English common law. This precedent removed a key restraint on accusations. So spectacular were the charges that a large audience crowded into Salem Village meetinghouse to watch Hathorne and Corwin question the accused. Tituba, possibly threatened and perhaps even beaten by Parris, would confess to witchcraft, and implicate Good and Osburn as well. From the line of questioning it is clear that the judges went into the proceedings assuming guilt. Tituba’s confession, complete with detailed descriptions of her encounters with Satan, soon convinced the judges and many observers that Satan and his agents were indeed at work in Salem Village in substantial numbers. The afflicted would rapidly grow in number, along with the accusations. By April 11, magistrates Hathorne and Corwin had held five different hearings to examine accused witches. Six more people were now in jail under charges of witchcraft: Martha Corey, Dorothy Good, Rebecca Nurse and her sister Sarah Cloyce, and Elizabeth and John Proctor. 12

Soon the accusations spread outside of Salem Village, when the afflicted accused the specter of former Salem Village minister George Burroughs of afflicting them. On May 4, Burroughs was arrested in Wells, Maine, and brought back to face charges. Ten days later, when Sir William Phips sailed into Boston with the Massachusetts Bay charter, thirty-eight people were in jail for witchcraft. Indeed, on May 10, the crisis had claimed its first victim, as Sarah Osburn had died in jail. The crisis was so severe that Phips took quick action. On May 27 he created a Court of Oyer and Terminer, a special court created specifically to try the backlog of witchcraft cases.13

Phips appointed nine judges to the panel, all members of his governor’s council. Hathorne and Corwin were selected, as was fellow Salem magistrate Colonel Bartholomew Gedney. The other six judges were from Boston and surrounding towns. Phips appointed his deputy governor, Major William Stoughton, as chief justice. The judges had much in common. Most of them were also militia officers, responsible for the colony’s military failures on the frontier. Indeed, Judge Wait Winthrop was commander in chief of the Massachusetts militia. The judges were all among the wealthiest merchants in the colony. And, the many marriages of alliance between the merchant families meant that six of the nine judges were related by marriage. There were no practicing lawyers in the colony, so while the judges lacked formal legal training, most had extensive experience as judges. They also were well educated. Five had spent at least some time at Harvard, and Stoughton had a master’s degree in divinity from Oxford. The judges relied extensively on the English legal handbooks of the day as well as accounts of witchcraft trials.14

The Trials

The Court of Oyer and Terminer would hold four sessions in Salem Town from June 2 until September 17, with each session lasting between one and two weeks. While a crown attorney organized the cases, there were not prosecuting or defense attorneys. Rather the panel of judges led the proceedings, asking questions to arrive at the truth. Like today, grand juries reviewed evidence and decided whether or not to return indictments, and twelve-man petit juries determined verdicts in the trials. In theory, innocence was assumed unless and until the jury returned a verdict of guilty. But a close reading of the proceedings makes it clear that the judges were convinced a large witch conspiracy threatened Massachusetts; their job was to round up the guilty and end the crisis.15

The order of the prosecutions reveals the judges’ intentions. Rather than try people in the order they were arrested, the court started with the accused with the strongest cases against them. On June 2, the first trial began, that of Bridget Bishop. She was just the sort of person who was typically accused of witchcraft. The twice-widowed Bishop lived with her third husband, Edward, near the courthouse in Salem Town. The family had modest means and was known for frequent arguments and even swapping blows with each other on the Sabbath. Suspicion easily fell on such women, especially given that Bridget had been first accused of witchcraft in 1679. A total of ten witnesses testified about strange actions that surrounded her, some dating back to her earlier accusation. Tthe strong case against her included not just spectral evidence but complaints by neighbors of more traditional harms, ranging from the disappearance of money to mysterious deaths and her ability to change into an animal’s appearance. There was even physical evidence of a sort, including the discovery of a witch’s teat—an unnatural protrusion where Satan or a witch’s familiar sucked blood and thus received sustenance—during a physical examination of Bishop by a physician and a panel of midwives. Perhaps most damning, a carpenter testified that a few years earlier he has been repairing her stone cellar and found poppets—dolls used to harm people through image magic. Add to this the active participation of the afflicted in the trials, where their screaming and writhing reinforced all the evidence, and Bishop’s fate may have been sealed not just in Salem but in any English court. Convicted and sentenced to death, she was hanged in Salem on June 10, 1692.16

After Bishop’s trial and execution the afflictions and accusations briefly slowed down. Yet they not only returned, but grew in number. The new accusations would spread outward from Salem Village and upward into respected members of society. Normally witchcraft was a working- class crime, but now respected members of society, even two Salem Village church members, Martha Corey and Rebecca Nurse, stood accused. Nurse was one of six women tried during the Court of Oyer and Terminer’s second sitting, from June 28 to July 2. Her trial proved particularly shocking. The beloved grandmother was convicted despite a petition of support from thirty-nine friends and neighbors, and active family efforts to discredit her accusers. Nurse, Sarah Good, and three others would be hanged for witchcraft on July 19.17

The third round of tribunals in August was highlighted by the trial of Reverend George Burroughs. Many observers found it hard to believe that a Harvard-educated Puritan minister could be a minion of Satan. Yet to others, Burroughs was the perfect witch and the leader of Satan’s black masses that were an inversion of Christian faith. Burroughs was known for his secretive ways. His failure to baptize his children led some to even suspect he was a Baptist, which Puritans viewed as a radical sect. He had gained many enemies during his tenure in Salem Village, and some considered his strength so great as to be supernatural. He also seemed to have preternatural knowledge of events. He spent much of his career as minister in Falmouth, Maine (present-day Portland), at the time a distant frontier outpost of Massachusetts Bay. Indeed, he left Falmouth in 1690, shortly before it was destroyed with great loss of life by a French and Wabanaki force. Burroughs’s accusation and trial introduced the theme of the frontier and the failing war there. Massachusetts Puritans had always feared the northern frontier, a wilderness they believed was dominated by the devil and the people they perceived to be his minions, namely, the Wabanaki and their neighbors, the French Catholics of Acadia. Burroughs was just one of many participants in the trials with ties to the frontier, and historians now believe that a war panic was a key factor in creating the witchcraft crisis.18

Burroughs and four others would hang on Gallows Hill on August 19. Three of his companions were men, including John Willard, a kinsman of Reverend Samuel Willard of Boston’s South Church. John Proctor, the respected farmer and tavern keeper made famous in Arthur Miller’s 1953 play, The Crucible, would die as well. Traditionally, witchcraft tended to be a female crime, with about three-quarters of its alleged perpetrators being women, in Salem and elsewhere. The spread of accusations to men, including high-status men such as ministers, showed that truly no one was safe.19

By August the accusations had spread outward from Salem Village as well. Two of Salem’s afflicted girls had been taken to nearby Andover, where they detected the presence of more witches. Several Andover girls soon became afflicted and added to the accusations as well. Before the trials ended, there would be more people accused of witchcraft in Andover than any other town, including Salem. The pace of accusations quickened as well. In August and September formal charges were placed on another forty alleged witches. These months also saw the rise of confessions. The first to confess to witchcraft had been Tituba. Several others had followed her example in the late spring and early summer. By August, when the outbreak was in full swing in Andover, several facts were obvious to observers. Everyone who pled not guilty was swiftly tried and convicted, and almost all were soon executed. Yet, everyone who pled guilty was still alive, as they proved useful in providing the name of other witches. This was a dangerous game to play, as prior to 1692 in Europe or America a confession of witchcraft almost universally resulted in a speedy conviction and execution. So, confessing to witchcraft did not guarantee one’s ultimate survival but at the least it seemed to rule out speedy execution.20

The confessions suggested an immense witchcraft conspiracy. By the end of August three confessors agreed that there were 200 present at their black Sabbaths, and others reported hearing of more than 300 active witches in the region. And the confessors provided fuel for more accusations. By the middle of September, 42 confessors had named others as witches. So, the trials continued in a fourth session in September, despite growing concern over the confessions, as well other legal procedures including the heavy reliance on spectral evidence and the use of the touch test to identify witches. Under the touch test, when an afflicted person took the hand of the witch who tormented him or her, the afflictions were supposed to temporarily end.21

In a two-week session that started on September 6, the Court of Oyer and Terminer would hear fifteen cases. All fifteen would plead not guilty, but all would be convicted and sentenced to death. Sentence would be carried out on eight on September 22. The speed and nature of the trials raised increasing concerns. It looked like a rush to judgement, especially when the evidence in some cases was not as strong as in earlier prosecutions. Judges seemed to rely increasingly on spectral evidence, and many observers must have been taken aback by the treatment of Giles Cory.22

A member of the Salem Town church, Cory was pressed to death on September 19. He pled not guilty but remained mute when asked if he would accept trial “by God and My Country,” that is, a jury trial. His failure to speak brought the proceedings to a halt, and after several days the court used its legal right to attempt to literally press an answer out of him. Just two years earlier some of the same judges had participated in a case where a pirate refused to plead, as he felt that Massachusetts lacked jurisdiction. Rather than press him, however, the court just continued with his trial. The fact that the judges chose instead to press to death an 81-year-old man is just one example of the severe treatment the court meted out to anyone who dared to challenge its authority. The court had the right under common law to deal with Cory as it did, but it seemed to be a harsh and increasingly arbitrary authority. Fifteen had been condemned, but some received stays, so only eight had confessed. Worse, no one who confessed to being a witch had been executed—with the exception of Samuel Wardwell, who recanted his confession before his trial. Only those who refused to confess met death.23

Equally disturbing is the fact that all fifty-five people who confessed survived the crisis. Meanwhile, all twenty-eight people to be tried by the Court of Oyer and Terminer would plead not guilty but be found guilty and condemned to death—an unparalleled one hundred percent conviction rate. Fortunately, nine received temporary stays of execution due to pregnancy or to have time to prepare their souls, and they ultimately escaped the gallows. In all, twenty-five would perish in the crisis. In addition to the nineteen executed and Giles Cory’s pressing, at least five people died in prison. At least 156 people were formally accused, and another sixteen are named in contemporary accounts, meaning at least 172 were accused or informally cried out upon, a process that ended only at the fall of the Court of Oyer and Terminer in October.24

The End of the Court of Oyer and Terminer

By October, opposition to the trials was growing and becoming more vocal. In particular objections were raised against the heavy reliance on spectral evidence. In 1692 virtually everyone believed in the existence of witches, and the fact that they and Satan could harm people with specters. Yet many believed that witches could use the specters of people against their knowledge or will. Therefore, a witch could use the specter of an unknowing person not only to torment someone, but to get an innocent person accused of witchcraft. From the beginning of the trials, some ministers had urged that spectral evidence be used with caution, and only with other supporting lines of proof. Still the accusations reached higher and higher. Five ministers and four ministers’ wives had been implicated as well as other leading members of the colony. Even the governor’s wife, Lady Mary Phips, was cried out upon. It had become increasingly clear that not all these people could be witches and that at least some innocent lives had been lost.25

At this point Governor Phips, who had distanced himself from the proceedings, felt compelled to act. Aside from the personal attack on his family, the endless accusations threatened his government. He and Judge Stoughton encouraged Reverend Cotton Mather, the brilliant son of Increase Mather and grandson of John Cotton, to write a history of the trials that would defend the actions of the judges and the government. Meanwhile, Increase, the top political ally and adviser to Phips, was at work on his own account, as was Samuel Willard. Increase showed a draft of his manuscript to Phips in early October. It was a strong denunciation of the spectral evidence and the touch test. At the same time, Increase walked a fine line, avoiding any criticism of the government he had personally helped convinced the king to create. He would say “It were better that ten suspected witches should escape, than that one innocent person should be condemned.”26

On October 12, Phips wrote the Crown, informing it for the first time of the witchcraft outbreak. He included a copy of Cotton Mather’s just published Wonders of the Invisible World. The book was an intellectual failure because it drew on just a handful of cases to justify the use of spectral evidence and defend the government. Yet, it suited Phips’s needs at the time. The book accompanied his letter as proof of the proper action of the government. Phips informed the Crown that he had banned any future publications on the trials: “I have also put a stop to the printing of any discourses one way or other, that may increase the needless disputes of people upon this occasion, because I saw a likelihood of kindling an inextinguishable flame.”27 Phips knew all too well that the truth could bring down the government.

On October 29 when the legislature asked if the Court of Oyer and Terminer would stand or fall, Governor Phips said “it must fall.” Many were relieved that the trials had come to an end. However, others, led by Stoughton, were deeply troubled because they still believed that witchcraft threatened the colony. And there was the practical matter, for more than fifty people accused of witchcraft were still crowding the colony’s jails.28

In January 1693, the Superior Court of Judicature, the new supreme court of Massachusetts Bay recently established under the legislature’s sweeping effort to create a new legal code for the colony, would hold its first session. Its first task was to deal with the backlog of witchcraft cases. The chief justice was William Stoughton, and other former witchcraft judges Samuel Sewall, Wait Winthrop, and John Richards would serve as well. However, before seating the court, the judges assured Phips that they would not put the “same stress layd upon them as before” on spectral evidence and the touch test. Meanwhile, Phips pardoned those who had been condemned but not executed in the fall. This new atmosphere and new rules of evidence ensured the eventual release of all remaining defendants, though the court had months of work ahead. All defendants had their charges dismissed or were acquitted except for three who confessed and received pardons from Phips. In one of the last cases taken up by the court, on May 9, 1693 a grand jury refused to indict Tituba. Reverend Parris refused to pay her jail fees, so the Boston jailer sold her to an anonymous buyer, and she disappeared from history. The Salem witch trials had ended.29

Explanations, Aftermath, and Significance

While numerous books have been written to try to explain what happened, most scholars now agree that witchcraft is multi-causal. So, there was no single cause for the Salem crisis. As this author’s recent history describes it, Salem was “a perfect storm” of witchcraft. It took a unique convergence of conditions and events to produce what was by far the largest and most lethal outbreak of witchcraft in American history.30

There were probably a great number of causes of the afflictions. The first to be afflicted were quite possibly suffering from mass psychogenic illness, also known as Mass Conversion Disorder. This occurs when individual mental stress and anguish is unknowingly converted into physical symptoms. This is a controversial illness, difficult to diagnose today, let alone with patients more than 300 years ago. However, the predominance of this condition among young and teenage girls, especially those of high status, would seem to fit the circumstances of the girls in the Parris household exceptionally well. Some of the afflicted who were war refugees and former captives may have been suffering from what today we would term post-traumatic stress disorder. The descriptions of a few of the afflictions point to sleep paralysis. Of course, many fraudulent accusations probably were made, although the paucity of evidence precludes definitive answers.31

It is perhaps easier to rule out explanations of witchcraft in 1692. Medical theories that locate the witchcraft hallucinations in the poisoning of rye or other grains—“ergot poisoning”—have been decisively and repeatedly discredited. The symptoms do not fit. The illness usually is fatal, and most of the afflicted led long and apparently healthy lives. Furthermore, the ergot would have had to come from one communal grain supply infected by this mold. Yet people were afflicted or made accusations in many places throughout the region. Nor were people fraudulently accusing neighbors to gain their land and money. It is true that the real estate (but not personal property) of a convicted felon could be seized by the sheriff, but all assets of the convicted witches became the property of the Crown, not the accusers. While Sheriff Corwin generally followed common law on seizures, he appears to have illegally retained some personal property.32

The Salem witch trials would have long-lasting repercussions. The publications ban would last until 1695, when Thomas Maule, a Salem Quaker, published his Truth Held Forth and Maintained. The book was a scathing attack on the Massachusetts Bay government, including its conduct in the witch trials. In November 1696 Maule would be tried for seditious libel against the colony. His acquittal by the jury is seen as an important first step in American freedom of speech, press, and religion. Several months later, the government began the process of healing, when it ordered a colony-wide day of fasting and reformation to atone for sins, chief among which was the harm that came to the innocent in 1692. On that day, Judge Samuel Sewall would bow his head before the congregation of Boston’s South Church while his minister, Samuel Willard, read Sewall’s apology for his role in the trials. A dozen jurors added their apology as well.33

Meanwhile, survivors and the heirs of victims had begun to petition the government for pardons for the convicted as well as reparations. No action would be approved by William Stoughton, who had succeeded as acting governor. But Stoughton’s death in 1701 opened the door. In 1703 attainders were reversed for three of the victims. Another act in 1711 reversed the attainders for twenty more, and provided some compensation to a limited group of claimants including the condemned survivors and the heirs of the deceased victims. Others would continue to petition the legislature, which regularly debated the issue until 1750. The final five victims did not receive pardons until 2001, and to this day Salem is famous around the world as “Witch City.”34

The witch trials signaled the beginning of the end of Puritanism as a potent force in Massachusetts and triggered a distrust of government. Cotton Mather’s Wonders of the Invisible World became an intellectual and moral failure and discredited this last well-known Puritan theologian and his cause. No longer would the governor be a trusted partner of the legislature, nor would a minister sit as his top adviser. The transition from Puritan to Yankee had begun.35

Discussion of the Literature

In recent decades there has been a flood of both scholarly and popular books on witchcraft, part of a large outpouring of work on both old and New England in the 17th century. Many works focus quite tightly on the history of Salem Village and the events of 1692, and collectively they have made significant advances in understanding the outbreak. The literature is so extensive that a short essay can hit only the highlights.

Though people have been writing about the Salem witch trials since 1692, the first serious scholarly achievement was Charles Upham’s Salem Witchcraft (1867). However, the modern study of the Salem witch trials effectively begins with Paul Boyer and Stephen Nissenbaum’s Salem Possessed (1974), a landmark book that is still an important starting point. Salem Possessed is an innovative example of the colonial New England township studies produced by social historians of the era. The book focuses on Salem Village, its failed efforts at independence, and the extreme factionalism that resulted and led to the witchcraft outbreak. This award-winning book has inspired several generations of historians to explore the witch trials, making it one of the most intensely studied events in early American history. A 2008 forum in the William and Mary Quarterly dedicated to Salem Possessed produced some valid criticism but also showed that the book has largely stood the test of time.36

Some of the best books to follow in the wake of Salem Possessed took a broader focus on witchcraft in New England, rather than just Salem. John Demos’s Entertaining Satan (1982) examined the numerous case studies of pre-Salem witchcraft to look at the social and psychological origins of witchcraft. In The Devil in the Shape of a Woman (1987), Carol Karlsen explored the critical importance of gender among the accused and accusers in Salem and elsewhere in early New England. And Richard Godbeer’s The Devil’s Dominion (1992) looked at the role of folk magic.37

Other scholars have explored ethnicity in the trials, particularly Tituba’s origins and role. Though some have argued that Tituba had African origins, most scholars now agree with her biographer Elaine Breslaw that she was a Native American. Others have explored what has come to be known as the “frontier interpretation” of the witch trials. Many of the participants in the trials were refugees or had strong connections to the northern frontier and the ongoing war there, and a war panic as well as post-traumatic stress disorder can be seen as central elements of the Salem crisis. This interpretation has grown in size and significance since 1984 when James Kences expanded on the connections between war and witchcraft initially put forward by Richard Slotkin, in Regeneration through Violence. Mary Beth Norton provides the most extensive treatment of the frontier interpretation while also looking at the importance of family connections in the accusations in Salem, making her In the Devil’s Snare one of the finest histories of the Salem crisis.38

Salem has been viewed from a variety of perspectives. Many historians have weighed in on legal aspects of the trials as well, with important contributions from David Konig, Peter Hoffer, David Brown, and John Murrin. Brown’s work has been particularly important in eliminating mythology and explaining the facts surrounding the pressing to death of Giles Cory, and property forfeitures. Meanwhile, Emerson Baker and John Reid have looked at the local and imperial politics that shaped the trials.39

One aspect that sometimes has been lost is witchcraft as a religious crime. Fortunately, Benjamin Ray and Richard Latner have both recently argued for the centrality of religion—especially the importance of Salem Village church membership—in the witchcraft outbreak. Also important is Elizabeth Reis’s Damned Women, which looks at the Puritan attitudes toward women and their souls that put them at the center of witchcraft accusations and confessions. Margo Burns also provides key insights into what she describes as the many forced confessions that fueled the spreading accusations in 1692.40

Many books were published around the time of the tercentenary of the trials in 1992. Larry Gragg’s 1990 biography of Samuel Parris gives many insights into a key figure in the trials. Gragg’s The Salem Witch Crisis (1992) is an excellent summary. Richard Gildrie’s The Profane, the Civil and the Godly (1994) placed the trials in the context of the Reformation of Manners. The most important work of the tercentenary era is Bernard Rosenthal’s Salem Story: Reading the Witch Trials of 1692. It is a close literary reading that exploded many of the myths of Salem and explored the lasting legacy of the trials. Rosenthal is one of the strongest supporters of the belief that there was widespread fraud by the afflicted.41

Rosenthal also served as the general editor of the Records of the Salem Witch-Hunt, which includes his and Richard Trask’s excellent overview of the trials. Marilynne Roach, who also contributed to the Records of the Salem Witch-Hunt, is best known for The Salem Witch Trials (2002), a remarkable book that exhaustively examines the chronology of the Salem trials and related events on a day-by-day basis from 1692 to 1697.42

Recently, scholars have returned to theme of the trials’ legacy first explored by Rosenthal. Gretchen Adams demonstrates that in antebellum America, well before The Crucible, Salem and the witch trials had already become a common metaphor for injustice, extremism, and a rush to judgement. Robin deRosa has explored how tourism and modern drama, film, and television have helped reshape what people consider to be the historical “truth” about Salem. Emerson Baker looks closely at the conclusion and aftermath of the trials to explain how the witch trials became a turning point in American history, signaling the beginning of the end of Puritan Massachusetts.43

Primary Sources

Most of the surviving legal documents from the Salem witch trials are owned by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts but are on deposit at the Phillips Library of the Peabody Essex Museum in Salem, though a number of organizations throughout the region also hold some materials. Fortunately, all of these documents have recently been brought together in a masterful work, Records of the Salem Witch-Hunt (2009). Under the general editorship of Bernard Rosenthal, a team of talented editors produced incredibly accurate transcriptions of almost 1,000 documents, including every known surviving legal paper relating to the trials. The volume is well annotated and includes multiple indexes and other supporting materials. It even contains petitions filed by the families of the accused for more than fifty years after the trials.44

A number of contemporary accounts of the trials were published between 1692 and 1702, and these provide details that are lacking in the surviving court records. Many of these are included in George Lincoln Burr’s Narratives of the New England Witchcraft Cases. Most of these were written by ministers who were direct observers of the afflictions and the trials. The first published was written by Deodat Lawson, the past minister of Salem Village, who visited the afflicted community in the spring of 1692. Next to be published in the fall of 1692 were the works of Increase Mather and his son Cotton, the ministers of Boston’s North Church, and spiritual leaders of Massachusetts Bay. Cotton’s Wonders of the Invisible World was rushed to publication in October 1692 in order to defend the actions of the court and the government. A one-sided book that does not look at all the evidence, it does contain important material, as Cotton was given access to the official court records, some of which do not survive. His book was soon followed by his father’s Cases of Conscience. Increase Mather was the preeminent minister of the colony and top adviser to the new governor, William Phips. So, his account tries to bring an end to the trials but at the same time not blame the judges or the government for their action. Others would write more critical accounts, including Samuel Willard’s Dialog between S & B, and Thomas Brattle’s Letter. Willard, minister of Boston’s South Church, was an early critic of the trials and kinsman of John Willard, who was executed for witchcraft. Thomas Brattle was a Boston merchant who wrote a long and well-reasoned letter attacking the trials for their flawed procedures on October 8, 1692. It was not published at the time but was clearly written as an open letter, meant to be widely distributed.45

The most critical accounts were written several years after the trials. Thomas Maule, a Quaker merchant from Salem, broke Governor Phips’s publication ban on the trials in 1695 when he published Truth Held Forth and Maintained. The book was a wide-ranging 300-page attack on the Massachusetts Bay government, though Maule spent more time attacking the witch trials than any other event. Five years later, Maule’s friend Robert Calef, an Anglican merchant in Boston, wrote his More Wonders of the Invisible World (1700). As the title suggests, Calef’s account was a scathing attack on Cotton Mather’s Wonders of the Invisible World. In his criticism of Mather and the government, Calef provides some very important details about the proceedings that are not published anywhere else. Unfortunately Calef’s extreme bias against the government does leave questions about the veracity of some of the damning details he used to embarrass Mather and the government. John Hale’s A Modest Inquiry into the Nature of Witchcraft provides perhaps the most insightful contemporary account. Hale, the minister in nearby Beverly, was one of the first to observe the afflictions in Reverend Parris’s family, and he provides a critical but measured description of the events.46

Another invaluable source is Salem-Village Witchcraft: A Documentary Record of Local Conflict in Colonial New England. Edited by Paul Boyer and Stephen Nissenbaum, this volume brings together numerous primary sources on early Salem Village, including the “Salem-Village Book of Record, 1672–1697,” as well as the “Records of Salem Village Church, 1689–1697,” kept by Samuel Parris. Insight can be gained into Parris’s thinking before and during the witchcraft crisis from The Sermon Notebook of Samuel Parris, 1689–1694, edited by James F. Cooper Jr. and Kenneth P. Minkema.47

Further Reading

Adams, Gretchen A. The Specter of Salem: Remembering the Witch Trials in Nineteenth-Century America. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2008.Find this resource:

Baker, Emerson W. A Storm of Witchcraft: The Salem Trials and the American Experience. New York: Oxford University Press, 2015.Find this resource:

Boyer, Paul, and Stephen Nissenbaum. Salem Possessed: The Social Origins of Witchcraft. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1974.Find this resource:

Breslaw, Elaine. Tituba, Reluctant Witch of Salem: Devilish Indians and Puritan Fantasies. New York: New York University Press, 1996.Find this resource:

Brown, David C. “The Forfeitures at Salem, 1692.” William and Mary Quarterly 50 (1993): 85–111.Find this resource:

Burns, Margo. “‘Other Ways of Undue Force and Fright’: The Coercion of False Confessions by the Salem Magistrates.” Studia Neophilologica 84 (2012): 24–39.Find this resource:

Demos, John P. Entertaining Satan: Witchcraft and the Culture of Early New England. New York: Oxford University Press, 1982.Find this resource:

Demos, John P. The Enemy Within: 2,000 Years of Witch-Hunting in the Western World. New York: Viking, 2008.Find this resource:

“Forum: Salem Repossessed.” William and Mary Quarterly 65 (July 2008): 391–534.Find this resource:

Gildrie, Richard. The Profane, the Civil, and the Godly: The Reformation of Manners in Orthodox New England, 1679–1749. University Park: Pennsylvania State University Press, 1994.Find this resource:

Godbeer, Richard. The Devil’s Dominion: Magic and Religion in Early New England. New York: Cambridge University Press, 1992.Find this resource:

Gragg, Larry. A Quest for Security: The Life of Samuel Parris, 1653–1720. Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1990.Find this resource:

Hoffer, Peter C. The Devil’s Disciples: Makers of the Salem Witchcraft Trials. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1996.Find this resource:

Karlsen, Carol F. The Devil in the Shape of a Woman: Witchcraft in Colonial New England. New York: Norton, 1987.Find this resource:

Kences, James. “Some Unexplored Relationships of Essex County Witchcraft to the Indian Wars of 1675 and 1689.” Essex Institute Historical Collections 120 (1984): 181–211.Find this resource:

Konig, David Thomas. Law and Society in Puritan Massachusetts: Essex County, 1629–1692. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1979.Find this resource:

Latner, Richard. “‘Here Are No Newters’: Witchcraft and Religious Discord in Salem Village and Andover.” New England Quarterly 79 (2006): 95–100.Find this resource:

Murrin, John. “Coming to Terms with the Salem Witch Trials.” Proceedings of the American Antiquarian Society 110 (2000): 309–347.Find this resource:

Norton, Mary Beth. In the Devil’s Snare: The Salem Witchcraft Crisis of 1692. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 2002.Find this resource:

Ray, Benjamin. Satan and Salem: The Witch-Hunt Crisis of 1692. Charlottesville: University of Virginia Press, 2015.Find this resource:

Reis, Elizabeth. Damned Women: Sinners and Witches in Puritan New England. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 1997.Find this resource:

Roach, Marilynne. The Salem Witch Trials: A Day-by-Day Chronology of a Community under Siege. New York: Cooper Square Press, 2002.Find this resource:

Rosenthal, Bernard. Salem Story: Reading the Witch Trials of 1692. New York: Cambridge University Press, 1993.Find this resource:


(1.) Emerson W. Baker, A Storm of Witchcraft: The Salem Trials and the American Experience (New York: Oxford University Press, 2015), 7; Carol F. Karlsen, The Devil in the Shape of a Woman: Witchcraft in Colonial New England (New York: Norton, 1987), 1–76; and Mary Beth Norton, In the Devil’s Snare: The Salem Witchcraft Crisis of 1692 (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 2002), 8.

(2.) David Lovejoy, The Glorious Revolution in America (New York: Harper and Row, 1972), 179–195, 235–245; Richard Godbeer, The Devil’s Dominion: Magic and Religion in Early New England (New York: Cambridge University Press, 1992), 181–197; and Baker, Storm of Witchcraft, 54–59.

(3.) Lovejoy, The Glorious Revolution, 350–352; Godbeer, The Devil’s Dominion, 184–186; and Baker, Storm of Witchcraft, 59–67.

(4.) Stephen Foster, The Long Argument: English Puritanism and the Shaping of New England Culture, 1570–1700 (Chapel Hill, NC: Institute of Early American History and Culture, 1991), 213–217, 231–254; Robert Moody and Richard Simmons, eds., The Glorious Revolution in Massachusetts (Boston: Colonial Society of Massachusetts, 1988), 218–221; and Baker, A Storm of Witchcraft, 60–61, 179.

(5.) Paul Boyer and Stephen Nissenbaum, Salem Possessed: The Social Origins of Witchcraft (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1974), 37–65.

(6.) Boyer and Nissenbaum, Salem Possessed, 45–60, 80–109; “Jeremiah Watts to George Burroughs, April 11, 1682,” in Salem-Village Witchcraft: A Documentary Record of Local Conflict in Colonial New England, eds. Paul Boyer and Stephen Nissenbaum (Boston: Northeastern University Press, 1993), 171 (quote).

(7.) Boyer and Nissenbaum, Salem Possessed, 156–176; and Larry Gragg, A Quest for Security: The Life of Samuel Parris, 1653–1720 (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1990), 83–100.

(8.) Gragg, Quest for Security, 1–35, 46–49, 153–172; and Boyer and Nissenbaum, Salem Possessed, 69–79.

(9.) Norton, In the Devil’s Snare, 18–19; the quotes are from John Hale, “A Modest Inquiry into the Nature of Witchcraft,” in Narratives of the New England Witchcraft Cases, ed. George Lincoln Burr (New York: Charles Scribner’s, 1914), 413.

(10.) Marilynne Roach, The Salem Witch Trials: A Day-by-Day Chronology of a Community under Siege (New York: Cooper Square Press, 2002), 18–19; and Hale, “A Modest Inquiry,” in Burr, Narratives of the Witchcraft Cases, 413 (quote).

(11.) Roach, The Salem Witch Trials, 19–20; Hale, “A Modest Inquiry,” in Narratives of the Witchcraft Cases, ed. Burr, 413–414; and Boyer and Nissenbaum, Salem Possessed, 193–194.

(12.) Roach, The Salem Witch Trials, 21–23, 39–73; and “Warrant for the Apprehension of Sarah Osburn and Tituba, and Officer’s Return,” in Records of the Salem Witch-Hunt, ed. Bernard Rosenthal (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2009), 125–126 (quote).

(13.) Norton, In the Devil’s Snare, 165, 169–170; Roach, The Salem Witch Trials, 111–127; and Baker, A Storm of Witchcraft, 23–25.

(14.) Baker, A Storm of Witchcraft, 161–193; and Norton, In the Devil’s Snare, 194–201.

(15.) Peter Hoffer, The Devil’s Disciples: Makers of the Salem Witch Trials (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1996), 138–139, 156–158; and Baker, A Storm of Witchcraft, 25–27.

(16.) Norton, In the Devil’s Snare, 204–207; Roach, The Salem Witch Trials, 155–160, 166–168; and Baker, Storm of Witchcraft, 28–29, 131.

(17.) Roach, Salem Witch Trials, 177–193; and Norton, In the Devil’s Snare, 219–230.

(18.) Norton, In the Devil’s Snare, 119–154; Baker, Storm of Witchcraft, 127–137, 149–150; and James E. Kences, “Some Unexplored Relationships of Essex County Witchcraft to the Indian Wars of 1675 and 1689,” Essex Institute Historical Collections 120 (1984): 179–212.

(19.) Baker, Storm of Witchcraft, 34–35, 196–197; and Alison Rowlands, “Witchcraft and Gender in Early Modern Europe,” in The Oxford Handbook of Witchcraft in Early Modern Europe and Colonial America, ed. Brian P. Levack (New York: Oxford University Press, 2013), 339.

(20.) Baker, Storm of Witchcraft, 33, 36, 154–160; and Norton, In the Devil’s Snare, 233–236, 254–265.

(21.) Norton, In the Devil’s Snare, 166–167, 175–176, 323–324; Larry Gragg, The Salem Witch Crisis (New York: Praeger, 1992), 149–150; Margo Burns, “‘Other Ways of Undue Force and Fright’: The Coercion of False Confessions by the Salem Magistrates,” Studia Neophilologica 84 (2012): 24–39; and Baker, Storm of Witchcraft, 36–37.

(22.) Baker, Storm of Witchcraft, 37–39; and Roach, Salem Witch Trials 272–300.

(23.) David C. Brown, “The Case of Giles Cory,” Essex Institute Historical Collections 121 (1985): 282–299; and Baker, Storm of Witchcraft, 38–39.

(24.) Baker, Storm of Witchcraft, 126, 155, 186; and Norton, In the Devil’s Snare, 276–278.

(25.) Bernard Rosenthal, Salem Story: Reading the Salem Witch Trials of 1692 (New York: Cambridge University Press), 135–137, 142–144, 188–189; Baker, Storm of Witchcraft, 137–140; and Emerson W. Baker and John Reid, The New England Knight: Sir William Phips, 1651–1695 (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1998), 147–150.

(26.) Increase Mather, Cases of Conscience Concerning Evil Spirits Personating Men (Boston: Benjamin Harris, 1693), 66 (quote); and Benjamin Ray, Satan and Salem: The Witch-Hunt Crisis of 1692 (Charlottesville: University of Virginia Press, 2015), 156–162.

(27.) See William Phips, “Letters of Governor Phips” in Burr, Narratives, 197 (quote); and Baker and Reid, The New England Knight, 147–151, 153–155.

(28.) Samuel Sewall, The Diary of Samuel Sewall, 1674–1729, ed. M. Halsey Thomas (New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 1973), 1:299 (quote); and Rosenthal, Salem Story, 194–195.

(29.) William Phips, “Letters of Governor Phips” in Burr, Narratives, 200 (quote); and Baker, Storm of Witchcraft, 40–42.

(30.) Baker, Storm of Witchcraft, 6; and Ray, Satan and Salem, 2–5.

(31.) Baker, Storm of Witchcraft, 92–125; Norton, In the Devil’s Snare, 305–308; Owen Davies, “The Nightmare Experience, Sleep Paralysis, and Witchcraft Accusations,” Folklore 114 (2003): 181–185; and Rosenthal, Salem Story, 32–40.

(32.) The ergot theory was first put forward by Linnda R. Caporael, “Ergotism: The Satan Loosed in Salem?” Science 192.4234 (April 2, 1976): 21–26. It was immediately refuted by Nicholas Spanos and Jack Gottlieb, “Ergots and Salem Village Witchcraft: A Critical Appraisal,” Science 194.4272 (December 24, 1976): 1390–1394; Nicholas P. Spanos, “Ergotism and the Salem Witch Panic: A Critical Analysis and an Alternative Conceptualization,” Journal of the History of the Behavioral Sciences 19 (1983): 358–369; and David C. Brown, “The Forfeitures at Salem, 1692,” William and Mary Quarterly 50 (1993): 85–111.

(33.) Thomas Maule, Truth Held Forth and Maintained (New York: William Bradford, 1695); Baker, Storm of Witchcraft, 213–224; and Richard Francis, Judge Sewall’s Apology: The Salem Witch Trials and the Forming of an American Conscience (New York: HarperCollins, 2005), 176–186.

(34.) Baker, Storm of Witchcraft, 245–255, 274–283.

(35.) Baker, Storm of Witchcraft, 205–208, 228.

(36.) Charles Upham, Salem Witchcraft, with an Account of the Village and a History of Opinions on Witchcraft and Kindred Subjects (Boston: Wiggin and Lunt, 1867); Boyer and Nissenbaum, Salem Possessed: The Social Origins of Witchcraft (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1974); and “Forum: Salem Repossessed,” William and Mary Quarterly 65 (2008): 391–534.

(37.) John P. Demos, Entertaining Satan: Witchcraft and the Culture of Early New England (New York: Oxford University Press, 1982); Karlsen, The Devil in the Shape of a Woman; and Godbeer, The Devil’s Dominion.

(38.) Elaine Breslaw, Tituba, Reluctant Witch of Salem: Devilish Indians and Puritan Fantasies (New York: New York University Press, 1996); Hoffer, The Devil’s Disciples, 205–210; James E. Kences, “Some Unexplored Relationships of Essex County Witchcraft to the Indian Wars of 1675 and 1689,” Essex Institute Historical Collections 120 (1984): 179–212; and Norton, In the Devil’s Snare. For more sources on the frontier in the Salem trials see Emerson Baker and James Kences, “Maine, Indian Land Speculation, and the Essex County Witchcraft Outbreak of 1692,” Maine History 40 (2001): 161–162, 183 n5.

(39.) David Konig, Law and Society in Puritan Massachusetts: Essex County 1629–1692 (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1979), 158–185; Hoffer, The Devil’s Disciples; David C. Brown, “The Case of Giles Cory;” Brown, “The Forfeitures at Salem, 1692”; John Murrin, “Coming to Terms with the Salem Witch Trials,” Proceedings of the American Antiquarian Society 110 (2000): 309–347; and Baker and Reid, The New England Knight.

(40.) Benjamin Ray, “Satan’s War against the Covenant in Salem Village, 1692,” New England Quarterly 80 (2007): 69–95; Richard Latner, “‘Here Are No Newters’: Witchcraft and Religious Discord in Salem Village and Andover,” New England Quarterly 79 (2006): 92–122; Elizabeth Reis, Damned Women: Sinners and Witches in Puritan New England (Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 1997); and Margo Burns, “‘Other Ways of Undue Force and Fright’: The Coercion of False Confessions by the Salem Magistrates,” Studia Neophilologica 84 (2012): 24–39.

(41.) Larry Gragg, A Quest for Security: The Life of Samuel Parris, 1653–1720 (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1990); Larry Gragg, The Salem Witch Crisis (New York: Praeger, 1992); Richard Gildrie, The Profane, the Civil and the Godly: The Reformation of Manners in Orthodox New England,1679–1749 (University Park: Pennsylvania State University Press, 1994); and Bernard Rosenthal, Salem Story: Reading the Witch Trials of 1692 (New York: Cambridge University Press, 1993).

(42.) Bernard Rosenthal et al., eds., Records of the Salem Witch-Hunt (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2009); and Roach, The Salem Witch Trials.

(43.) Gretchen Adams, The Specter of Salem: Remembering the Witch Trials in Nineteenth-Century America (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2008); Robin DeRosa, The Making of Salem: The Witch Trials in History, Fiction and Tourism (London: McFarland, 2009); and Baker, Storm of Witchcraft.

(44.) Rosenthal et al., eds., Records of the Salem Witch-Hunt.

(45.) George Lincoln Burr, ed., Narratives of the New England Witchcraft Cases (New York: Charles Scribner’s, 1914); Increase Mather, Cases of Conscience Concerning Evil Spirits (Boston: Benjamin Harris, 1693); Some Miscellany Observations on our Present Debates respecting Witchcrafts, in a Dialogue between S. and B. By P. E. and J. A. (Philadelphia: William Bradford for Hezekiah Usher, 1692).

(46.) Thomas Maule, Truth Held Forth and Maintained (New York: William Bradford, 1695); much of Calef, and all of Hale can be found in Burr, ed., Narratives. Paul Boyer and Stephen Nissenbaum, eds., Salem-Village Witchcraft: A Documentary Record of Local Conflict in Colonial New England (Boston: Northeastern University Press, 1993) (originally published 1972).

(47.) Boyer and Nissenbaum, eds., Salem-Village Witchcraft; and Samuel Parris, The Sermon Notebook of Samuel Parris, 1689–1694, ed. James Cooper and Kenneth Minkema (Boston: Colonial Society of Massachusetts, 1993).