Paganism has been around longer then Christianity and in fact Christianity has taken much of it's practices from paganism and just reclothed or masked it. Paganism  are those who follow a path other then Christianity and mainstream religion. Paganism is a natural and spiritual path. Pagans honor and revere nature, honor the divine in all,  Pagans need no building to worship  for they live magick and live  their worship wherever they are especially when out  with Mother Nature. There are many paths and traditions in or under the umbrella Paganism, then again there is no One way but many, and no one way is more valid then another. Paganism allows one to find their own truth instead of following another persons truth. Too many have forgotten themselves and are not true to themselves. Being what others think they want, instead of just being..
Below is taken from my files and  what has been handed to me especially during history lessons :)
It is always good to know our roots.

 The Paleolithic Age. around 10,000 BC,was a time when primitive people were nomadic, and had to hunt for their food, having to follow the herds of animals to survive. This is where the belief of the God of the hunt is rooted. The men worshipped the sun, the stag horned God, and the language of the animals, as hunting was crucial to their survival. The women, who were the child bearers and the healers, where those who took care of the tribe, and were looked upon as having more power, as they were the givers of life. This is also where the Goddess religion or spirituality is alos rooted.
It was during this time, that the women discovered that their bodies were in tune with the lunar phases, and therefore they worshipped the moon, and the Goddess diety, and they were the ritual leaders  There were some men however, who stayed behind from the hunt, with the women, as they were old, or sick or injured. And the women, shared these lunar mysteries with these men, and this is how there became priests in the lunar cult.

Argriculture was discovered about 8000-7500 BC
It was actually  unplanned as it happend when women stored food in the ground and  found it would grow. The people learned to plant and grow their food and learned about  the mystery of fertility
The discovery of agriculture proved that the men also had a part in creation. Prior to this, there had been a division between the men and the women for the most part, and after this discovery, they had to work together and they no longer needed follow the herds for food to survive. This was when they became "paganized", the word pagan meaning "country dweller"
Now the people were able to settle in one place and breed animals, and grow their own food. This was when the people began exploring and discovering the mysteries of life, death and rebirth.

Time went on, and people migrated from many places to settle in Rome, and those who came from Greece, came with many of the same beliefs that the Romans had....and though they worshipped different Gods and Goddess's, they shared in many similarities. With the migration, there also came to Rome the nomadic Eutruscans from Asia Minor who were very well versed in the aspects of magic and divinations, and they brought this knowledge with them to Rome. Than came the people of the British Isles, who had also discovered agriculture around the same time as the Indo-Europeans, and these are what we know now to be the Celts. Also, from the islands, came the peoples known as the Mediranian Cult of the Dead. These people were very spiritual and knowledgable on the theories of death and reincarnation, and they came and spread out all over New Europe. They shared their secrets with the Celts, and these people became the Druids, and they were the ones who oversaw all of the rites of the pagan people.

The Druids were predominately men, with very few women. From the time of 6500-4500, there were still remenents of the solar/lunar cults that dealt with animals, herbs and the mysteries who intertwined in the pagan communities, and these people were known as the "wice" and they developed the power and understanding of life and the earth, and these were the keepers of the mysteries. So during this time of all these different people traveling back and forth and sharing information, three major groups of people developed, which were the Druids who mostly held the mens mysteries of the Cult of the Dead, the Wice, who held the mystery teachings of the solar/lunar cults, which remained mostly matrifocal, and was made up of mostly woman, and who worshipped the Goddess, and the pagans, who werethe comman folk, who were balanced and polaric, and sought out the wisdom and the knowledge of the Druids and the Wice.

Than, from 0 ACE-650ACE, the old testament was being written in the Middle East. After the death of Christ, the people from the Middle East spread out across the land, spreading the word of Christianity, and eventually came to Rome, and this is when the mass conversion began. They started the conversions first with the rulers, the kings and the Queens first by using money and bribery. this way, the country dwellers would have to convert, as they depended upon the the rulers for their survival. Pagan temples were destroyed, and Christian churches were built upon the pagan holy grounds. The pagans however, forced to build churches over their pagan temples, incorporated many of their symbols into the building of these churches, which you can still see today.

During this time the first scriptures of the pagans emerged, and was held by two Celts.

In 1100, the dark ages began, and no writing went on during this time, and it was like the "lights went out", and when they came back on, the pagan texts were gone, and the Christian conversion continued to spread, and the Holy Wars began. When the Christians decided that the new ways were not catching on fast enough with the pagans, the Christian leaders began asserting that the pagans worshipped and consorted with "the devil" and the inquistion began.

In 1494 two dominican monks, who were inquistitors of Papal Bull of Innocent the VIII, by the names of Kramer and Springer, produced the book, the Malleus Maleficarum,
"The Witches Hammer" which laid the groundwork for the reign of terror that swept Europe well into the 18th century. This period was known as the "Burning Times" where it is estimated that 9 million men, women and children were held prisoner, stripped, starved, deprived of sleep for countless days on end, and horribly torchured beyond human comphrehension, to obtain a confession of withcraft, only than to be strangled or burned at the stake. Ironically, the Malleus Maleficarum was originally rejected by the literary council because of bias and heresay, and was forged so that it could be printed. The last accused witch to die under the laws of the Malleus Maleficarum was in 1747 in Australia.

All of those in the craft went underground for fear of persecution, until 1951, when the last of the anti-witchcraft laws were abolished in England.

It was at this time, that a man named Gerald Gardner came out from the underground and published his first book, called "High Magicks Aid" which he published as a fiction book, under his witch name of Scyer. Than in 1952, he published a non-fiction book, "WitchCraft Today" and thus
began the New Age Religion of Wicca.

Wicca became a legalized religion in 1985, and has grown at a furious pace since than, in North American and Europe. An approximate number of pagans surpasses 250,000 in North American alone, and the number is believed to be much higher as many pagans and wiccans lie on their census froms for fear of modern day persecution which continues today.

It is said Wicca is todays Witchcraft. Truth is there is a difference Wicca is a religion Witchcraft is not and Witchcraft predates  Wicca. All Wiccans and Witches are Pagans but not all Pagans are Wiccan or Witches. Not all Wiccans practice spell craft. and not all  want to have the term Witch for that reason they understand there is a difference.

Wicca/ Witchcraft

An article from Lady Hecate, http://www.hecatescauldron,org
I do have her permission as long as she is rightly creditid
Lady Hecate is a 3rd degree in the Alexandrian tradition fo Wicca although no longer uses the term Wicca- . Here she challenges the reader to think and dig deeper and think or re think.
I do agree with many points and see where she comes from.

Witchcraft or Wicca

What is the difference between Witchcraft and Wicca, or,  should it be Witchcraft vs. Wicca vs. Paganism.  Most Witches are Pagans, but, all Pagans are not Witches. And most importantly, not all Witches are Wiccans.  In other words, a Witch who practices Witchcraft does not necessarily mean that she believes in the religion of Wicca. A Wiccan involved in the religious practices of Wicca does not necessary practice Witchcraft and which makes them not a Witch.  And some Wiccan Pagans feel that no magick should be practiced at all, as Wicca is a religion and not magick. As Scott Cunningham wrote in one of his books "Witchcraft: the craft of the Witch–magick, especially magick utilizing personal power in conjunction with the energies within stones, herbs, colors and other natural objects. While this may have spiritual overtones, Witchcraft, using this definition, isn’t a religion. It is just that some followers of Wicca use this word to denote their religion." So, according to Scott Cunningham simply being a Wiccan does not necessarily mean that you are a Witch.  I have seen in many websites that they state "Wicca comes from the root word "wicce" which means to bend or shape."  This is absolutely and positively incorrect.  I have also seen some websites state that Witchcraft is "the craft of the wise."  This is also incorrect.   Wicca is a male term for a person practicing his craft whereas Wicce is a term used for a female practicing her Craft

But where does the word Witchcraft come from?  Actually, no one really knows, except that it is a Christian word.   The Oxford English Dictionary tells us that Witchcraft comes from  the Old English word Wiccecraeft (also spelled wiccecraefte, wicchecrafte, wichecraft as well as wesch-craft and wicche craft) and that it literally means the Craft in the sense of art or skill of a practicing Pagan.   The truth of the matter is perhaps  the witch is a descendant of the ancient Goddess who embodied both birth and death, nurturing and destruction.  Like Hecate and Diana, the Witch is associated with the Moon and lunar power.  Like Aphrodite and Venus, she can make love potions.  Each attribute of a Witch, once belonged to a Goddess.  All over the ancient world, Goddesses were worshipped.  These Goddesses represented womanhood distilled to its ultimate essence.  But when religions' decay and Gods are replaced, there is a consistent dynamic: the gods of the old religion inevitably become the evil of the new and that is what happened to the Goddess and which  spilled over into the bodies of all women and were called someone to fear, hate and to destroy.    Since the Goddess of birth is also the Goddess of death, women are accused of bringing death into the world as well as life.  This is why the Witch is depicted both as young, beautiful and bedecked with flowers, and as a frightening crone covered with cobwebs.  She represents all the cycles of life, and if she is terrifying, it is because the cycles of life terrify.  The rejection of females' bloody cycles, mewling infants, and cthonic vendettas reasserts itself in many cultures.  Woman is made the scapegoat for mortality itself, for nature is red in tooth and claw, for the mutability that is human fate.  Then she is punished, as if she were responsible for all nature's capriciousness, as if she were Mother Nature incarnate--which, of course, is partially true!  So, what is a Witche's heritage?  Her great, great, great, great, great ancestress is Ishtar, Hecate, Isis, Diana.  Her father is man.  Her midwife, his fears.  Her torturer, his fears.  Her executioners, his fears.  Her malignant power, his fears.  Her healing  power, her own.  So if the word Witch is a God of Abraham word and in a derogatory meaning, why call oneself a Witch?  Why....because of the more than 6 million women who were tortured and killed because of the word Witch.  For more information on the Burning Times, please visit Crone Turns Witch 

Witches of yesteryear did not go around calling themselves Witches. People did. Just as Jesus did not go around calling himself a Christian. People did. More likely than not, the villagers went to a wise woman who attended to the birthing, attended to the sick and was even consulted in matters such as love and monetary matters as well as discreetly providing some villagers with potions and spell kits, but she did not necessarily call herself a Witch, because in the earliest days of "witchcraft", practitioners were actually the village healers, teachers, story tellers, and midwives. It remained this way until the late 1400s when the Inquisition swept through Europe and by some estimates, as many as 9 million "witches" were executed, most of them women and children. They talk about the Holocaust and what the Germans did to the Jews. What about what the Christians did to those pagan women and children in the name of Witchcraft.

The word "Wicca" is a male gender term while "Wicce" is the female gender. I have read that Gerald Gardner chose the word "Wicca," as he wanted to stay away from the bad undertones of the word Witchcraft.  Now, this is very hard to believe for instead of Gardner trying to show the rest of the World what Wicca was truly about, his exploits in his introducing Wicca to the media almost sent the religion back behind closed doors.   When one thinks of a Witch, they think of a woman, and they see her with her broom or bending over some cauldron. Even Halloween cards which has a Witch plastered on its front is that of a woman. There have been many fairytale stories of Witches and all of them are of women. One of the museums in Salem, Massachusetts has a manikin Witch flying on a broom, and it is a woman. When one thinks of a man performing magickal practices, he is thought of as a Wizard and/or magician.  Rarely is a women depicted as a magician.    Rarely is a Witch depicted as a man, and I do believe that that is why Gerald Gardner strayed away from the word Witch and its association with women and instead chose the word Wicca which is a male term. A man who so cleverly created the religion of Wicca could not have been so easily misunderstood in his spelling of the word and that is what some claimed happened. They call the pagan religion a Goddess religion, yet Gardner named it Wicca.  In his book "The Meaning of Witchcraft", Gardner says "it may be because Witchcraft is a Moon Cult" yet he names this "Moon Cult," which the Moon is associated with the Goddess, Wicca...a male term.  Doreen Valiente, High Priestess along side Gerald Gardner and author of "Rebirth of Witchcraft" and other books, did not like using the word Wicca for that very reason, as do many other female pagans.

There are many different practices of the religion known as Paganism and Wicca sits under that umbrella, just as you have Lutherans, Methodists, etc., sitting under the umbrella of Christianity. Wicca actively worships both the Goddess and her Consort and claim to follow the old religion.  They see the Goddess triple in nature and the God Her child and lover who dies in order for us to live.   Whereas many Pagans/Witches and Dianics, (while they recognize the existence of Her Consort), only actively worship the Goddess and actually do follow one of the oldest religions, as the Goddess religion is one of the oldest religions.  Traditions of Wicca claim that to honor either the Goddess or Her Consort more than the other would be an imbalance and an injustice. However, simply honoring both equally does not make one in balance, because each of us carry more energies of the male or female in us and it is generally the male energy that we all carry too much of. In this modern technology world we live in today and using all that fire energy we need to rush around in our daily lives, we cannot help but carry too much male energy whether male or female.

More and more Pagans and/or Witches feel that  Wicca, Druidism, and Strega are too male oriented for their liking.  In fact, most feel that Strega is actually Wicca with the name Strega attached to it.  Strega practices the 8 sabbats and below you will see that there is no one religion who practiced all 8 sabbats......only the man-made new religion known as Wicca.

In the Wiccan path,   the celebrations of the Sabbats, She is supposed to be honored equally with Her Consort. However, with the Wiccan Sabbats and the Wheel of the Year, it seems as if things are centered more around the Sun God and his Wheel of the Year....Lord of the Dance..  He is born at Yule and then his growth is followed in the seasonal year.  However, it is the Goddess who creates the seasonal year.    Wiccan covens tend to put more emphasis on Sabbats whereas Goddess followers and Witches put more emphasis on Moon rituals. Many Pagans  feel the Sabbats are just celebrations without any formal circle, as it was in yesteryear times.

The solstices and equinoxes are about the Sun and are what Gardner called the Lessor Sabbats while the Sabbats of Candlemas, Beltane, Lammas and Samhain are more about vegetation and Mother Earth and are called the Greater Sabbats and which are the true Celtic Sabbats. No where in any one tradition did pagans celebrate the 8 Sabbats, yet the Wiccan tradition follows the 8 Sabbats..    See Gardner Unveiled for more information.  Gardner pulled from the different traditions to form the 8 Sabbats. It also must be noted that no where can it be found that any pagan tradition celebrated the Spring Equinox. Gardner pulled the Spring Equinox in to keep the Sabbats more balanced and to have a celebration every six weeks.  In fact, in his book "The Meaning of Witchcraft" he says "The four great Sabbats are Candlemas, May Eve, Lammas and Samhain; the equinoxes and solstices are celebrated also."  It almost as if he put the equinoxes and solstices as an afterthought...why...because, once again, no one pagan path celebrated the 8 Sabbats.  

In the Wiccan tradition, they believe that She would be nothing without the Sun, or She needs the Sun to keep Her balance, when it is She who created the moon, the earth, the sun and the stars. Pagans see the Goddess as much more than just the sexual union with Her Consort, just as we, as woman, are much more than just a mate for our husbands. She stands alone in Her own power, just as we, as women, stand alone in our own power, and that is what Goddess followers are honoring and worshiping which is Her inner strength, Her power, Her nurturing aspect and Her magick of life giver.   She is the blade of grass, the gentle breeze upon our faces; She is the birds chirping and the bees upon the flowers.  She is the earth that you walk on and the food in which you eat.   She creates the seasonal changes, as She moves to and from the sun. The sun moves very little, while She dances the dance of life, for She is life itself. She is the moon with all its mysteries; She is the earth full of bounty.

Wicca feels that there must be a balance, but when one thinks about pagans of yesteryear, pagans were less concerned about balance and more concerned with survival.  Pagans prayed to the Gods for a fruitful and successful harvest and had celebrations when their crops were successful..  There were no rituals at Sabbats...., no casting circles, no calling in the Watchtowers.   They were farmers working the land and living off of it from the fruits of their labor.   Life was hard and they worked from day break to sun set with no time in between for Sabbat rituals.  Many Witches of today realizes this and therefore only celebrate the Sabbat by honoring the day.

Yesteryears' pagans, and most Witches today, realize that Nature is not about balance for where is the balance of floods, draughts, tornadoes, hurricanes, blizzards, wind storms, severe and destructive lightening storms, or excessive heat and or cold. In August, the Greeks prayed to the Goddess Hecate to not send Her destructive storms.   Nature is beautiful, yet it can be harsh and cruel.  Pagans lived in a world not of dreams but a world of reality wherein the very livelihood depended upon successful crops which could be destroyed by weather or by blight, diseases, insects, etc.  There is beauty of the land and beauty of Her creatures, yet one predator can be another one's prey for the only balance in Nature is life and death.  Paganism is a Nature religion and, while Wicca believes there is balance in Nature, most Witches know there is no balance in Nature and must learn to live with Nature with all Her ups and downs just as life has its ups and downs.  The Goddess religion is about living in harmony with all Her creatures and respecting Her body....the land, something of which many do not do.

Besides a desire to get into touch with the Earth, another motivator of those who become Witches is a belief in the beauty, power, and holiness of womankind. The Pagan religion is a celebration of the feminine principle.  Wiccans see it as a celebration of the wheel of the year of the Sun God and the sexual union between Lord and Lady.

Many Wiccans perform ritual skyclad.  Many Pagans wish not to participate in ritual nudity. Not because they are ashamed of anything, but feel that it is not necessary.  Nudity in ritual stems from Leland's Aradia, Gospel of the Witches wherein in the "Charge" it says "and ye shall go naked in your own right."    It was never proven that the material Leland said to have received from a gypsy who claimed to be a witch and in which he created Aradia, Gospel of the Witches in 1890 was authentic.    Leland was a writer whom published over seventy-three books.  Most of those books were not on Witchcraft.  No artifacts can be found, no written material other than what Leland wrote of a Goddess originating from Tuscany in the form of Aradia.   In fact, there are no mythology books on any  Goddess known as Aradia  or of Diana giving birth to Aradia or even having a brother named Lucifer, unlike her cousin, Artemis, in the Greek Mythology whose brother was Apollo.    I have a feeling that Leland's material is no more authentic than Gardner's Wicca which has been proven that Gardner's Book of Shadows of Laws, rituals and initiations came from various sources including Key of Solomon, The Golden Dawn, and Free Masonry, to name a few, and not from some ancient tradition to which he claimed he was initiated into.  Gardner was initiated into ceremonial magick traditions but not Paganism and certainly not Witchcraft.

Unlike Wiccans, most Witches and/or Pagans also prefer not to honor the practices of the Great Rite, symbolic or otherwise, feeling that the sexual union between the Goddess and Her Consort is only one  facet of who and what the Goddess truly is. Many Wiccan traditions put much emphasis on the Great Rite in its symbolic form in each of their Sabbat rituals by performing the athame to chalice in all their ceremonies.  Many  Pagans feel that only at Beltane would that be appropriate.  As some may know, Aleister Crowley helped Gardner shape and form Wicca. He has been billed as the greatest magician of the 20th century but it is questionable whether he ever actually performed any feat of magick. In 1920, Crowley rented a villa and converted it into a sanctuary where he could explore all the nuances of sexual magick. According to one story in a London paper, life at Crowley’s sanctuary focused on "unspeakable orgies, impossible of description." Many Pagans feel that Crowley is another reason why so much emphasis is put on nudity and the Great Rite in the Wiccan tradition and many Witches and/or Pagans do not wish to have  have any association with the infamous Aleister Crowley.

Wiccans put much emphasis on swords and athames wherein many Witches prefer using the wand or staff in their casting a circle. The sword is definitely a masculine trait.  Some Witches even prefer using the sickle, as it is the symbol of the Crone--of harvesting and death.  In hunter-gatherer societies, women were responsible for gathering and harvesting plant material. When cultivation began as a result of Demeter’s gift of wheat, it was the women who were instrumental in the harvest.   Hence, the sickle is an appropriate (and ancient) women’s tool. I really do not believe that your average pagan woman of yesteryear had a sword hanging on her wall and if and when she drew a magickal circle on the ground, more likely than not, she used a branch from a tree and did not tote some sword through the woods.  And she probably did not use a knife/athame to cast her circle either.  The sword is purely a masculine invention, as it was used in wars to kill.  Before there was a God and it was just the Goddess, there were no wars.  That did not come until the Solar Gods came into play bringing with them war, chaos, rape, deceit, jealousy, and even eating of their own children.

More and more Witches are  preferring to follow the Moon more so than the Sun and its Sabbat rituals.  Many of today's Witches prefer performing Moon rituals and simply celebrating the Sabbats as pagans of yesteryear did.  They feel no necessity of calling in the Sun God during Moon rituals for in Moon rituals it is in honor of the Goddess only.  Yes, there are some Moon Gods but they did not appear until after the warring Gods came into play and took power away from the Goddess and given to the God from Zeus giving birth to Athena, depriving her of a mother to Gods being associated with the Moon. Women are on the Moon's cycle, bleeding every 28 to 29 days, not men.  Women have more water in their bodies then men and therefore feel the Moon more.   The Sabbats deal with Her interaction as Mother Earth with the Sun God.  However, as Moon Goddess, She stands alone free and strong, independent of no influences of the Sun, and many Witches honor Her and only Her at Dark and Full Moons, not being caught up in the "balance."   The Moon, after all is our closest neighbor. The moon influences ocean tides and blood tides. The Moon is intimately connected to the ancient worship of the Goddess. In Gardner's Book, "The Meaning of Witchcraft", he writes "but apart from these great Sabbats, minor meetings called Esbats are held."  In other words, he is putting less emphasis on his own words "Witchcraft is a Moon cult!"  If Witchcraft is a Moon Cult, why minor meetings during Esbats/Full Moons?  In Wicca, much importance is placed on the Sun God and his wheel of the year.  However, science knows that if it were not for the Moon, we would not be for it is the Moon who keeps the Earth from spinning out into space.  It is the Moon who keeps the seasonal changes consistent for if it were not for the Moon, one day it would be cold and the next could be like a hot summer day.  So, it is the Moon and the Moon alone who keeps things in balance and the earth spinning on her right course year, after year, after year.  Therefore, it is the feminine Moon and the Moon alone who should be honored each month.

Regarding initiation, when it is a female wishing to be initiated into the Craft, according to the Wiccan tradition, a male has to initiate a female.  There has been much controversy on this subject, as many Pagans and Wiccans feel that a female should do the initiating on all occasions, as it is the Goddess who is doing the initiating in the first place

There are many women today refusing to call themselves Wiccans because of its male terminology.  Once again, Wicce is a female term and Wicca a male term, according to the Oxford English Dictionary..   Women, throughout the ages, have fought for women's rights, fought for the freedom to vote, fought for their own freedom from man, fought for our rights from brutality of some men, fought for equal pay, fought for even the right to smoke out in public and even had to fight to wear pants.  Yet, some of today's women have stepped backwards in calling themselves a male term of Wiccan and following a Goddess religion named after a male.  All wise Witches know that words have power; names have power, if not, Witches, Pagans and Wiccans would not be choosing magickal names which represents their very soul.  Some Witches and/or Pagans following the Dianic path call themselves "Dianic Wiccans," which is a contradiction in itself, as the Dianic path is centered solely around  the Goddess in the Sabbats and in Moon rituals.  It is a very female oriented religion, yet they call themselves Wiccans, which is a male term.   If "Witchcraft is a Moon Cult", by Gardner's own words, why call it Wicca, when Wicca is a male term and paganism  is a Goddess religion.  That is why many Witches refuse to call the Goddess religion by a male name of Wicca.   Many Pagans and/or Witches put more emphasis on Moon rituals and celebrate the Sabbats and not the other way around.   Most of all, many Witches and/or Pagans do not wish to follow yet another man-made religion which is what Wicca is.  Witchcraft is not a religion but a practice of one's Craft..... I do not care how many Wiccan practitioners protest that Witchcraft is a religion.  It simply is not so.. 

You also see many groups calling themselves "Traditional Witchcraft." If their tradition is religious in nature, then it is not  necessarily Traditional Witchcraft, as the old "traditional" Witchcraft was not a religion but one practicing solely the arts of magick and not a religion.  They performed no rituals in either performing magick or for the Sabbats.   Following a "tradition" and "Traditional Witchcraft" are two separate things.   One can always tells when someone is claiming they are "Traditional Witches" or practicing Traditional Witchcraft, and they are not, simply by observing if they practice the 8 Sabbats, or they practice any religion at all. Traditional Witches have no claim, nor do they want to, on Wicca.  Most Trad Witches have no connection with a Deity nor a religion.  Instead, Trad Witches, as with all Witches, delve in the healing arts, divination and of magick with no interlacing of any kind of a religion and/or performing any kind of ritual.  They know of no Book of Shadows nor Witche's Tools of the Craft and no "And Ye Harm None."   These are ceremonial magician followings and one in which Gardner pulled into Wicca.  The 8 Sabbats are clearly a Wiccan practice.   However, and unfortunately, some disagree with this statement, but then again, they really do need to do some serious research on the matter.

I have received many emails informing me that because they choose not to walk the balance religion known as Wicca and do not worship the Goddess and her consort like Wicca does that they are told they are not a Witch.  They are told this by Wiccans.  What is disturbing about this is that it sounds all too familiar in the Christian Religion wherein Christians tell other Christians that they will not go to Heaven simply because they have not been saved, i.e., born again.   There are Christians who disagree with other Christian paths and will put other Christian followings down.  The Goddess Religion/Paganism is supposed to be a religion with no dogma, yet Wiccan members are doing just that as many Wiccans frown upon other Pagans who walk a different life than Wicca.  What these accusers do not realize is that Witchcraft has nothing to do with a religion, has nothing to do with following a Goddess and God or simply the Goddess.  Witchcraft is the practicing of one's Craft and not the practicing of a religion.   What these people also do not realize is that no one has the right to tell another person that they are not a Witch. In order for this to stop, Pagans need to stand up for what they believe in and not be bullied by another simply because they wish to worship differently.  Nature is not about balance for She does what She pleases.    If an initiated Wiccan  told another person who was a self-initiated Wiccan that they were not Wiccan because Wicca is an initiatory religion and one must be initiated into the religion known as Wicca by another initiated Wiccan, then they would be right.   Since it has been discovered that Gerald Gardner made the entire religion known as Wicca up, including initiation, then the only way to be truly a Wiccan is to be initiated by a Wiccan and not self-initiation.  Gardner's intent was to form something similar as in The Golden Dawn, Free Masonry, the following of King Solomon, all of which are/were secret societies which one has to be initiated into to be a member and sworn to secrecy.  Please see Key of Solomon with comparisons between Wicca, Key of Solomon, Free Masonry and Golden Dawn.  Wicca can be compared to the High Priests/High Priestesses of Egypt wherein members of the temple must be initiated.  The practices of Egypt did not allow the common folk to step foot into the temples.  Besides the High Priestess and High Priestess, Handmaidens, and initiated members, the Pharoah was the only one allowed into the temple for it was believed he was God.  The "common" people worshipped on their own and worshipped how they wished to worship and whom they wished to worship at any given time and not necessarily both a Goddess and God.   

If Paganism with all its paths is to survive and be recognized, everyone must respect how  another Pagan wishes to worship the nature religion and the turning of the wheel of life. 

©People wishing to use material from this website for teaching purposes whether it be through a coven or website, permission must first be given by me as well as linking back to
Hecate's Cauldron.  Those wishing to use material for personal use only,  need not request permission


Salem Witch Trials

Salem Village had a very colorful history before the famous witch trials. It was not exactly known as a bastion of tranquillity in New England. The main reason was its 600 plus residents were divided into two main parts: those who wanted to separate from Salem Town, and those who did not. The residents who wanted to separate from Salem Town were farming families located in the western part of Salem Village. Those who wanted to remain a part of Salem Town were typically located on the eastern side of Salem Village--closest to Salem Town. The residents who wished to remain a part of Salem Town were economically tied to its thriving, rich harbors.

Many of the Salem Village farming families believed that Salem Town’s thriving economy made it too individualistic. This individualism was in opposition to the communal nature that Puritanism mandated. Thus, they were out of touch with the rest of Salem Village. One particularly large farming family who felt that Salem Town was out of touch with the rest of Salem Village was the Putnams.

The Putnams were the leaders of the separatist group primarily because they owned the most farmland in Salem Village. They hoped to solidify a separation from Salem Town by establishing a congregation unique from it. So in 1689, a congregation was formed under the Rev. Samuel Parris and began worshipping in the Salem Village Meetinghouse. However, the congregation only represented a select group since over half of its members were Putnams. If this action did not further strain already weakened relations between the two factions, the events concerning Parris’ contract did.

Contracts for ministers during this period often provided them with a modest salary, use of a house, and free firewood. Parris received this and much more. He not only got a modest salary and free firewood, but the title and deed to the parsonage and its surrounding land. Needless to say, this was a very uncommon perk to be included in a minister’s contract during this time. This perk especially angered the residents who wanted to remain a part of Salem Town. The Salem Town supporters showed their opposition by refusing to worship at the Meetinghouse and withholding their local taxes. This latter action was of important consequence because the local taxes helped pay the minister’s salary and provided his firewood.

In October of 1691 a new Salem Village Committee was elected that was comprised mostly of Parris’ opponents. This new committee refused to assess local taxes that would pay Parris’ salary, and also challenged the legality of his ownership of the ministry-house and property. These actions by the new committee caused Parris and his family to rely solely on voluntary contributions for sustenance. The Putnams were now worried of losing Parris and the soughted independence from Salem Town the congregation would help bring, and Parris was concerned about his job and providing for his family.


The Rev. Samuel Parris had a relatively small family. He was married and had a nine year old daughter, Betty, and a twelve year old niece, Abigail Williams, who was an orphan. Abigail was expected to earn her keep by doing most of the household chores, and also care for her invalid aunt. Betty’s poor health prevented her from helping with the household chores, so much of the work feel on Abigail’s young shoulders.

After chores were done, there was little entertainment for Betty and Abigail. Salem Town was eight miles away, and Boston was a twenty mile journey over unforgiving roads. Thus, Samuel Parris only visited these places when business required it. He also opposed the girls playing hide-and-seek, tag and other childhood games because he believed playing was a sign of idleness, and idleness allowed the Devil to work his mischief.

Reading was a popular pastime during the winter months. There was an interest in books about prophecy and fortune telling throughout New England during the winter of 1691-92. These books were especially popular among young girls and adolescents. In Essex County girls formed small, informal circles to practice the divinations and fortune telling they learned from their reading to help pass the cold months.

Betty Parris, her cousin Abigail Williams, and two other friends formed such a circle. Tituba, Rev. Parris’ slave whom he bought while on a trip to Barbados, would often participate in the circle. She would entertain the others with stories of witchcraft, demons, and mystic animals. Other girls soon joined their circle in the evenings to listen to Tituba’s tales and participate in fortune telling experiments. They would tell their fortunes by dropping an egg white into a glass of water and then interpret the picture it formed. However, Betty Parris and Abigail Williams began to become upset and frightened with the results of their fortunes. This, coupled with the family financial and social difficulties, likely caused the two girls to express their stress in unusual physical expressions. Samuel Parris believed this unnatural behavior to be an illness and asked Salem Village’s physician, William Griggs, to examine the girls. He did not find any physical cause for their strange behavior and concluded the girls were bewitched.

Puritans believed in witches and their ability to harm others. They defined witchcraft as entering into a compact with the devil in exchange for certain powers to do evil. Thus, witchcraft was considered a sin because it denied God’s superiority, and a crime because the witch could call up the Devil in his/her shape to perform cruel acts against others. Therefore, in any case when witchcraft was suspected, it was important that it was investigated thoroughly and the tormentor(s) identified and judged. Unknown to Samuel Parris, Mary Sibley ordered Tituba and her husband, John Indian, to bake a "witch cake" in order to help the girls name their tormentors. A witch cake is composed of rye meal mixed with urine from the afflicted. It is then feed to a dog. The person(s) are considered bewitched if the dog displays similar symptoms as the afflicted. The girls were at first hesitant to speak, but Betty eventually spoke and named Tituba. The other girls soon spoke and named Sarah Osborne and Sarah Good.

All three women were prime candidates for the accusations of witchcraft. Sarah Osborne was an elderly lady who had not gone to church in over a year, and poor church attendance was a Puritan sin. Sarah Good was a homeless woman who begged door to door. If people failed to give her alms, she would utter unknown words and leave. Residents would often attribute her visits to death of livestock. They believed the mumbled words she spoke under her breath were curses against them for not showing her charity. Since Tituba was Parris’ slave and well known to Betty and Abigail, it is no surprise then that her name was the first to be called out by Betty. The negative reputations and low social standing shared by these three women clearly made them believable suspects for witchcraft.

Now that three Salem Village residents stood accused of witchcraft, an investigation of the charges was in order. Two magistrates from Salem Town, John Hathorne, the great-grandfather of famed writer Nathaniel Hawthorne (Nathaniel added a "w" to his name to help disassociate himself from this great-grandfather) and Jonathan Corwin, traveled to Salem Village to investigate the cases of witchcraft. Their investigation of Sarah Osborne, Sarah Good and Tituba was conducted in the Salem Village Meetinghouse. During the questioning of the three accused, Betty, Abigail, and six other girls would often scream and tumble on the floor of the meetinghouse. Even with the harsh questioning by the two magistrates and the unusual actions of the afflicted girls, Sarah Good and Sarah Osborne maintained their innocence. Tituba, however, confessed for three days.

During Tituba’s confession, she talked of red rats, talking cats, and a tall man dressed in black. She stated that the man clothed in black made her sign in a book, and that Sarah Good, Sarah Osborne and others, whose names she could not read, had also signed this book. It is not exactly clear why she confessed to witchcraft. She might have thought that she was guilty since she practiced fortune telling, which was considered a form of "white magic," or perhaps thought that the judges would be lenient if she confessed. Whatever her reason, a confession was not likely obtained from her by torture. Although physical torture was employed in Europe to elicit confessions from accused witches, there are no confirmed cases of it being used in Colonial America for the same purposes as New England law did not sanction it. When Tituba finished her lengthy confession, she, Sarah Good and Sarah Osborne were taken to a Boston jail. Sarah Osborne would later become the first victim of the Salem witch trials when she died two months later of natural causes while still in jail.

The accusations of witchcraft continued despite the jailing of three accused witches. Why the accusations continued is still debated to this day. A recent small pox outbreak, the revocation of the Massachusetts Bay Colony charter by Charles II and the constant fear of Indian attacks helped in creating anxiety among the early Puritans that God was punishing them. This fear of punishment established a fertile atmosphere in which a case of possible witchcraft, let alone three, could easily be interpreted by the Puritans as the cause of God's wrath. Due to this belief and fear, they would want to make sure that every last witch be discovered and punished in order to end His anger. However, some historians and scientists argue that the girls continued with their accusations because they suffered from hysteria. Hysteria is known to cause strange physical symptoms in a person of good health. Whether it was fear of God's wrath or hysteria, the accusations did not relent.

In the middle of March, Ann Putnam accused Martha Corey of afflicting her. Even though Martha Corey attended church regularly, she was not very popular in the community. She was outspoken, opinionated and also mothered an illegitimate mulatto that still lived with her and her second husband, Giles. Despite her excellent church attendance, her character made her a prime candidate for the charge of witchcraft.

Rebecca Nurse was the next person to be accused of witchcraft. However, the 71-year-old woman did not make for a likely witch. She was a kind and generous lady that was well liked by the community. Ann Putnam and the other girls testified that her specter would float into their rooms at night, pinching and torturing them. When Rebecca was notified of these charges, she responded, "What sin has God found in me unrepented of that He should lay such an affliction upon me in my old age?" Probably the only flaws that could be found with the prudent woman were that she one time disputed with the Rev. James Allen over the boundary of their neighboring properties, and often did not respond when spoken to because of poor hearing.

As the accusations of witchcraft continued to increase, some started to doubt the truthfulness of the afflicted girls. One such person was a 60-year-old farmer and tavern owner from Salem Town by the name of John Proctor. When his maidservant, Mary Warren, began to display the same uncanny behavior as the afflicted girls, he threatened to beat her. This threat temporarily cured her afflictions. He believed the afflicted girls would, "make devils of us all," and that their behavior could easily be corrected with harsh discipline. With such opinions, it was not long before he and his wife, Elizabeth--whose grandmother, Ann B. Lynn, was once suspected of witchcraft--were jailed in Boston under charges of witchcraft.

A shocking accusation came when Ann Putnam accused the former Salem Village minister, George Burroughs, as being the master of all witches in Massachusetts. He was also identified by the afflicted girls as the "Black Minister" and leader of the Salem Coven. Despite being a minister, he did not have a character of an angel. He left Salem Village after serving as its minister from 1680-82 due to a dispute over his salary. He also was widowed three times, and rumored to have mistreated his wives. Furthermore, when his temper was tested, he sometimes would brag about having occult powers. Even though he was a minister, his actions at times did not reflect it.

By the end of May 1692, around 200 people were jailed under the charges of witchcraft. Almost all of them as a result of spectral evidence. Cotton Mather, son of famed minister and Harvard President, Increase Mather, spoke out against spectral evidence. He felt it was unreliable because the Devil could take the form of an innocent person to do his evil deeds. His warning against the use of spectral evidence was followed by Royal Governor William Phips establishing a Court of Oyer and Terminer to investigate the allegations of witchcraft at Salem Village.

The first to be tried under the newly formed court was Bridget Bishop on June 2, 1692. This was not the first time she faced the charge of witchcraft. In 1680 she was tried for witchcraft, but was not convicted. Despite not receiving a conviction, she still was suspected of practicing the black arts. When work was being done on her cellar, "poppets" were found in the walls by the workers. It was testified that the poppets were stuck with pins, and some had missing heads. This discovery and testimony helped confirm the suspicions that she was indeed a practicing witch because it was believed that a witch could harm someone by sticking pins and other objects into a poppet that represented the victim. She was found guilty of witchcraft and hanged June 10, 1692, on Gallows Hill.

The cases of Sarah Good, Sarah Wilds, Elizabeth How, Susannah Martin, and Rebecca Nurse were heard next by the court on June 29, 1692. Unlike Bridget Bishop’s trial, spectral evidence was a key in the conviction of four of the five accused. The one accused who escaped a guilty verdict was Rebecca Nurse. However, when the jurors announced a not guilty verdict in her case, the afflicted girls howled, thrashed about, and rolled around on the floor. With the courtroom in an uproar, the judges asked the jury to reconsider its decision. When they did, a guilty verdict was returned. Rebecca Nurse, along with the other four convicted women, were hanged July 19, 1692, on Gallows Hill. At the hangings, the Rev. Nicholas Noyes asked Sarah Good to confess. "I am no more a witch than you are a wizard, and if you take away my life God will give you blood to drink." was her reply to him. Twenty-five years later, the Rev. Nicholas Noyes died of a hemorrhage, choking on his own blood.

The hangings of six convicted witches did little in abating the spread of witchcraft in Massachusetts during the summer months of 1692. More people began displaying signs of affliction. As a result, accusations and arrests for witchcraft continued to grow in number. Those from all walks of life, rich and poor, farmer and merchant, were now being accused. No one was exempt from being cried out as a witch.

As the jails continued to swell with accused witches, the court reconvened to try the Rev. George Burroughs, John and Elizabeth Proctor, George Jacobs, Sr., John Willard and Martha Carrier on August 5, 1692. Spectral evidence again played a significant factor in the trials of these individuals. In George Burroughs case, his lying and failure to have one of his children baptized did not help his cause to be found innocent. All six were found guilty of witchcraft by the court. Elizabeth Proctor escaped the sentence of death because she was pregnant, but the rest were hanged on Gallows Hill on August 19, 1692. At the hangings, George Burroughs recited the Lord’s Prayer flawlessly. This achievement was important because it was believed that a wizard could not recite this prayer without making a mistake. Even with such an act of innocence, it was not enough to save his life.

George Burroughs’ flawless recitation did little in impeding the witch trials. The trials continued with Giles Corey’s scheduled for mid-September of 1692. However, he refused to answer the questions asked by the court. Due to his refusal, the court exercised its legal right and ordered the sheriff to pile rocks upon him until he co-operated. He was taken to a field near the Salem Meetinghouse, his hands and legs were bound, and heavy rocks were piled upon his chest. Even with the increasing weight, he refused to answer the court’s questions. "More weight." would be his response to the court’s inquiries. On September 19, 1692, after two days of induring the increasing weight, Giles Corey was crushed to death. Why Giles Corey refused to answer the court's questions and suffer this slow death instead is not clear. Some historians feel that he wanted to protect his property for heirs. Since witchcraft was a capital offense, his property could be sequestered to the government if he was found guilty. Unfortunately, this does not explain why John Proctor and he both made wills before their deaths; neither would have any property to leave because it could be secured by the government. Due to this action by the two men, other historians argue that Giles Corey was not acting on behalf of his heirs by refusing to stand trial. Rather, he chose this fate to serve as a protest against the witch trials and the methods of the court. Whatever his reason, Giles Corey chose death over standing trial for witchcraft.

Giles Corey's refusal to stand trial did not slow the court’s conviction of accused witches. Martha Corey, Mary Easty, Alice Parker, Ann Pudeater, Margaret Scott, Wilmott Reed, Samuel Wardwell, and Mary Parker were hanged on Gallows Hill September 22, 1692. Before the hangings, Mary Easty, a sister of Rebecca Nurse, wrote the magistrates and the Essex County ministers. In her petition, she stated:

...I know I must die, and my appointed time is set. But the Lord He knows it is, if it be possible, that no more innocent blood be shed, which undoubtedly cannot be avoided in the way and course you go in. I question not but your honors do to the utmost of your powers in the discovery and detecting of witchcraft and witches, and would not be guilty of innocent blood for the world. But by my own innocency I know you are in the wrong way. The Lord in his infinite mercy direct you in this great work, if it be His blessed will, that innocent blood be not shed...

George Burroughs’ prayer, Giles Corey’s refusal to stand trial and Mary Easty’s letter began to lessen the public support and faith that the witch trials once had. Many people felt the accusations and trials were getting out of control. By October, ministers, judges and numerous others believed that the trials claimed innocent lives. "It were better that ten suspected witches should escape than that one innocent person should be condemned." was the sentiment Increase Mather imparted to the Boston clergy. It was not long after Increase Mather made this statement that on October 12, 1692, Governor Phips issued orders to protect the current prisoners accused of witchcraft from harm, and suspended the arrest of suspected witches--unless the arrests were absolutely necessary. He soon followed these orders with dissolving the Court of Oyer and Terminer on October 29, 1692.

Governor Phips’ orders, Increase Mather’s statement to the Boston clergy and waning support of the trials soon left the cries of the afflicted to fall on deaf ears. People began to ignore the accusations of the afflicted. The fury of the witch trials subsided, and the last witch trial was held in January 1693. Governor Phips ended the witch trials when he pardoned the remaining accused in May 1693. With this pardon, the Salem witch trials, which resulted in nineteen hangings and a death by crushing rocks, was finally concluded.

The aftermath of the Salem witch trials was severe. Even with the witch trials over, many were still in jail because they could not pay for their release. The law stipulated that prisoners had to pay for their food and board before being released. Unless the prisoners or someone else could pay for these expenses, they could not be freed. Additionally, those who were convicted of witchcraft had their property confiscated by the government. This left their families without money and, in some cases, a home.

The trials took a toll on the surrounding land and structures as well. Houses and fields were left untended, and the planting season was interrupted. The fields that were planted were not cultivated or harvested. Also, the Salem Meetinghouse was left dilapidated due to the distraction of the trials.

Crop failures and epidemics continued to bother Salem for years after the trials ended. The Puritans felt that these events were happening because God was punishing them for the hangings of innocent people. Therefore, a day of fasting and prayer for forgiveness was ordered for January 13, 1697.

The land and structures were not the only things to change as a result of the trials. Salem Village politics also changed. The Essex County Court declared that the Salem Village committee was derelict in its duties, and ordered for a new election on January 15, 1693. An anti-Parris committee was elected as a result.

The Rev. Samuel Parris was now in jeopardy of losing his job because of the outcome of the new election. Whether he was worried about losing his job, or simply had a guilty conscience, Parris gave his "Meditation for Peace" sermon on November 26, 1693. In the sermon, he admitted to giving too much weight to spectral evidence. However, his sermon and confession seemed not to have repaired the damaged relations between him and the community, for Parris agreed to move from Salem Village in April 1696.

Before Parris and his family moved, the legal manner of the parsonage needed to be resolved. In July 1697, it was finally settled when arbitrators decided that Salem Village should pay Parris 79 pounds, 9 shillings and 6 pence in back salary. In return, Parris agreed to relinquish the deed to the parsonage. Parris and his family then left for Stowe, Massachusetts.

Little information has survived as to what happened to Samuel Parris and his family after they left Salem Village. Tituba was sold to pay for her jail costs. It is believed that Abigail Williams never recovered from her "affliction" and died young. Betty Parris latter married Benjamin Barron in 1710. She had five children and lived in Concord, Massachusetts. She died March 21, 1760, at the age of 78. Parris’ son, Noyes, died insane.

Joseph Green replaced Samuel Parris as minister. To help heal the scars that the witch trials left on the community, he seated the accusers with the accused. This action appeared to help heal the wounds because the family of Rebecca Nurse--John Tarbell, Samuel Nurse, and Thomas Wilkins--asked to rejoin the congregation in November 1698. Their request to join was granted. With the Nurse family welcomed back into the congregation, Green asked the congregation to revoke the excommunication of Martha Corey in 1703. The motion was finally adopted in 1707. Rebecca and Giles Corey also had their excommunications revoked on March 6, 1712.

Not all families wished to rejoin the congregation after the trials. Peter Cloyce and his wife, Sarah--who was accused of witchcraft--left Salem Village and moved to Marlborough, Massachusetts. Philip English, who was accused of witchcraft along with his wife, never forgave his persecutors for the loss of his property and reputation. He asked for a large settlement for his losses, but only received a small one. So in order to sever ties with Puritanism, he helped found the St. Peter’s Episcopal Church.

What happened to the afflicted girls is not widely known. Surviving information regarding them has provided only small details as to what happened to them after the Salem witch trials. Ann Putnam, Jr. raised her brothers and sisters when her parents died two weeks apart from each other. In August 1706, she asked the congregation of her church for forgiveness. The pastor read her prepared statement to the congregation.

I desire to be humbled before God. It was a great delusion of Satan that deceived me in that sad time. I did it not out of any anger, malice, or ill will...I desire to lie in the dust and earnestly beg forgiveness of all those I have given just cause of sorrow and offense, and whose relations were taken away and accused.

She later died unmarried and was buried with her parents in an unmarked grave. Whatever the future held for the afflicted girls, they undoubtedly never forgot their involvement with the witch trials.

No one died as a convicted witch in America again after the Salem witch trials. It was also the last of the religious witch hunts. Salem Village separated from Salem Town in 1752 and became the town of Danvers. However, this separation did not wipe away the history of the witch trials from its past. For over 300 years, historians, sociologists, psychologists and others continue to research and write about them to this day, and they continue to serve as a reminder of how politics, family squabbles, religion, economics and the imaginations and fears of people can yield tragic consequences





This is a summary of the Witch Trials……………….
1629: Salem is settled. 1641: English law makes witchcraft a capital crime. 1684: England declares that the colonies may not self-govern. 1688: Following an argument with laundress Goody Glover, Martha Goodwin, 13, begins exhibiting bizarre behavior. Days later her younger brother and two sisters exhibit similar behavior. Glover is arrested and tried for bewitching the Goodwin children. Reverend Cotton Mather meets twice with Glover following her arrest in an attempt to persuade her to repent her witchcraft. Glover is hanged. Mather takes Martha Goodwin into his house. Her bizarre behavior continues and worsens. 1688: Mather publishes Memorable Providences, Relating to Witchcrafts and Possessions November, 1689: Samuel Parris is named the new minister of Salem. Parris moves to Salem from Boston, where Memorable Providence was published. October 16, 1691: Villagers vow to drive Parris out of Salem and stop contributing to his salary. 1692January 20 Nine-year-old Elizabeth Parris and eleven-year-old Abigail Williams began to exhibit strange behavior, such as blasphemous screaming, convulsive seizures, trance-like states and mysterious spells. Within a short time, several other Salem girls began to demonstrate similar behavior. Mid-February Unable to determine any physical cause for the symptoms and dreadful behavior, physicians concluded that the girls were under the influence of Satan. Late February Prayer services and community fasting were conducted by Reverend Samuel Parris in hopes of relieving the evil forces that plagued them. In an effort to expose the "witches", John Indian baked a witch cake made with rye meal and the afflicted girls' urine. This counter-magic was meant to reveal the identities of the "witches" to the afflicted girls. Pressured to identify the source of their affliction, the girls named three women, including Tituba, Parris' Carib Indian slave, as witches. On February 29, warrants were issued for the arrests of Tituba, Sarah Good and Sarah Osborne. Although Osborne and Good maintained innocence, Tituba confessed to seeing the devil who appeared to her "sometimes like a hog and sometimes like a great dog". What's more, Tituba testified that there was a conspiracy of witches at work in Salem. March 1 Magistrates John Hathorne and Jonathan Corwin examined Tituba, Sarah Good, and Sarah Osborne in the meeting house in Salem Village. Tituba confessed to practicing witchcraft. Over the next weeks, other townspeople came forward and testified that they, too, had been harmed by or had seen strange apparitions of some of the community members. As the witch hunt continued, accusations were made against many different people. Frequently denounced were women whose behavior or economic circumstances were somehow disturbing to the social order and conventions of the time. Some of the accused had previous records of criminal activity, including witchcraft, but others were faithful churchgoers and people of high standing in the community. March 12 :Martha Corey is accused of witchcraft. March 19 :Rebecca Nurse was denounced as a witch. March 21 :Martha Corey was examined before Magistrates Hathorne and Corwin. March 24 :Rebecca Nurse was examined before Magistrates Hathorne and Corwin. March 28 :Elizabeth Proctor was denounced as a witch. April 3 :Sarah Cloyce, Rebecca Nurse's sister, was accused of witchcraft. April 11:Elizabeth Proctor and Sarah Cloyce were examined before Hathorne, Corwin, Deputy Governor Thomas Danforth, and Captain Samuel Sewall. During this examination, John Proctor was also accused and imprisoned. April 19 :Abigail Hobbs, Bridget Bishop, Giles Corey, and Mary Warren were examined. Only Abigail Hobbs confessed. William Hobbs: "I can deny it to my dying day." April 22 :Nehemiah Abbott, William and Deliverance Hobbs, Edward and Sarah Bishop, Mary Easty, Mary Black, Sarah Wildes, and Mary English were examined before Hathorne and Corwin. Only Nehemiah Abbott was cleared of charges. May 2 :Sarah Morey, Lydia Dustin, Susannah Martin, and Dorcas Hoar were examined by Hathorne and Corwin. Dorcas Hoar:"I will speak the truth as long as I live." May 4 :George Burroughs was arrested in Wells, Maine. May 9 :Burroughs was examined by Hathorne, Corwin, Sewall, and William Stoughton. One of the afflicted girls, Sarah Churchill, was also examined. May 10 :George Jacobs, Sr. and his granddaughter Margaret were examined before Hathorne and Corwin. Margaret confessed and testified that her grandfather and George Burroughs were both witches. Sarah Osborne died in prison in Boston.
Margaret Jacobs "... They told me if I would not confess I should be put down into the dungeon and would be hanged, but if I would confess I should save my life." May 14 :Increase Mather returned from England, bringing with him a new charter and the new governor, Sir William Phips. May 18 :Mary Easty was released from prison. Yet, due to the outcries and protests of her accusers, she was arrested a second time. May 27 :Governor Phips set up a special Court of Oyer and Terminer comprised of seven judges to try the witchcraft cases. Appointed were Lieutenant Governor William Stoughton, Nathaniel Saltonstall, Bartholomew Gedney, Peter Sergeant, Samuel Sewall, Wait Still Winthrop, John Richards, John Hathorne, and Jonathan Corwin. These magistrates based their judgments and evaluations on various kinds of intangible evidence, including direct confessions, supernatural attributes (such as "witch marks"), and reactions of the afflicted girls. Spectral evidence, based on the assumption that the Devil could assume the "specter" of an innocent person, was relied upon despite its controversial nature. May 31 :Martha Carrier, John Alden, Wilmott Redd, Elizabeth Howe, and Phillip English were examined before Hathorne, Corwin, and Gedney. June 2 :Initial session of the Court of Oyer and Terminer. Bridget Bishop was the first to be pronounced guilty of witchcraft and condemned to death. Early June Soon after Bridget Bishop's trial, Nathaniel Saltonstall resigned from the court, dissatisfied with its proceedings.
June 10 :Bridget Bishop was hanged in Salem, the first official execution of the Salem witch trials. Bridget Bishop "I am no witch. I am innocent. I know nothing of it." Following her death, accusations of witchcraft escalated, but the trials were not unopposed. Several townspeople signed petitions on behalf of accused people they believed to be innocent. June 29-30 :Rebecca Nurse, Susannah Martin, Sarah Wildes, Sarah Good and Elizabeth Howe were tried for witchcraft and condemned. Rebecca Nurse "Oh Lord, help me! It is false. I am clear. For my life now lies in your hands...." Mid-July In an effort to expose the witches afflicting his life, Joseph Ballard of nearby Andover enlisted the aid of the accusing girls of Salem. This action marked the beginning of the Andover witch hunt. July 19 :Rebecca Nurse, Susannah Martin, Elizabeth Howe, Sarah Good, and Sarah Wildes were executed. Elizabeth Howe "If it was the last moment I was to live, God knows I am innocent..." Susannah Martin &quotI have no hand in witchcraft."
August 2-6 George Jacobs, Sr., Martha Carrier, George Burroughs, John and Elizabeth Proctor, and John Willard were tried for witchcraft and condemned. Martha Carrier "...I am wronged. It is a shameful thing that you should mind these folks that are out of their wits." August 19 :George Jacobs, Sr., Martha Carrier, George Burroughs, John Proctor, and John Willard were hanged on Gallows Hill. George Jacobs "Because I am falsely accused. I never did it." September 9 :Martha Corey, Mary Easty, Alice Parker, Ann Pudeator, Dorcas Hoar, and Mary Bradbury were tried and condemned. Mary Bradbury "I do plead not guilty. I am wholly innocent of such wickedness." September 17;Margaret Scott, Wilmott Redd, Samuel Wardwell, Mary Parker, Abigail Faulkner, Rebecca Eames, Mary Lacy, Ann Foster, and Abigail Hobbs were tried and condemned. September 19 :Giles Corey was pressed to death for refusing a trial. September 21 :Dorcas Hoar was the first of those pleading innocent to confess. Her execution was delayed. September 22 :Martha Corey, Margaret Scott, Mary Easty, Alice Parker, Ann Pudeator, Wilmott Redd, Samuel Wardwell, and Mary Parker were hanged.
October 8 :After 20 people had been executed in the Salem witch hunt, Thomas Brattle wrote a letter criticizing the witchcraft trials. This letter had great impact on Governor Phips, who ordered that reliance on spectral and intangible evidence no longer be allowed in trials. October 29:Governor Phips dissolved the Court of Oyer and Terminer. November 25 :The General Court of the colony created the Superior Court to try the remaining witchcraft cases which took place in May, 1693. This time no one was convicted.
Mary Easty "...if it be possible no more innocent blood be shed... ...I am clear of this sin." January 3, 1693: Judge Stoughton orders execution of all suspected witches who were exempted by their pregnancy. Phipps denied enforcement of the order causing Stoughton to leave the bench. January 1693: 49 of the 52 surviving people brought into court on witchcraft charges are released because their arrests were based on spectral evidence. 1693: Tituba is released from jail and sold to a new master. May 1693: Phipps pardons those still in prison on witchcraft charges. January 14, 1697: The General Court orders a day of fasting and soul-searching for the tragedy at Salem. Moved, Samuel Sewall publicly confesses error and guilt. 1697: Minister Samuel Parris is ousted as minister in Salem and replaced by Joseph Green. 1702: The General Court declares the 1692 trials unlawful. 1706: Ann Putnam Jr., one of the leading accusers, publicly apologizes for her actions in 1692. 1711: The colony passes a legislative bill restoring the rights and good names of those accused of witchcraft and grants 600 pounds in restitution to their heirs. 1752: Salem Village is renamed Danvers. 1957: Massachusetts formally apologizes for the events of 1692. 1992: On the 300th anniversary of the trials, a witchcraft memorial designed by James Cutler is dedicated in Salem.

Questions to ask yourself
1) What you know about the history

2) What are the lessons we can learn
    3) What does it mean not to judge what you do not know?
4)   How can we educate and share the truth about Paganism?


The list of names who were persecuted in Salem

Who could be Afflicted? Anyone-- You, Me... Name of Affliced and their Location Alice Booth Unknown Elizabeth Booth Salem Village Sarah Bridges Andover William Brage Salem Town Mary Brown Reading Sarah Churchill Salem Village Johanna Dod Marblehead John Doritch Unknown Mary Fitch Gloucester Rose Foster Andover Goodhall Probably Salem Village Benjamin Goodwin Boston John Goodwin, Jr. Boston Martha Goodwin Boston Mercy Goodwin Boston Mary Herrick Wenham Mary Hill Salem Town Elizabeth Hubbard Salem Village John Indian Salem Village Elizabeth Knapp Groton Mary Lacey, Jr. Andover Mercy Lewis Salem Village Mary Marshall Reading Abigail Martin Andover Elizabeth Parris Salem Village Hanna Perley Topsfield Sarah Phelps Andover Bethshaa Pope Probably Salem Village Ann Putnam, Jr. Salem Village Ann Putnam, Sr. Salem Village Margaret Rule Boston Susannah Sheldon Salem Village Mercy Short Boston Martha Sprague Boxford Tituba Salem Village Rebecca Towne Topsfield Peter Tuft's maidservant Charlestown Sarah Vibber Wenham Mary Walcott Salem Village Mary Warren Salem Village Elizabeth Weston Reading Rebecca Wilkins Salem Village Abigail Williams Salem Village
Who could be Accused? Anyone-- You, Me... Real Victims Hanged on June 10 Bridget Bishop, Salem Hanged on July 19 Sarah Good, Salem Village Rebecca Nurse, Salem Village Susannah Martin, Amesbury Elizabeth How, Ipswich Sarah Wilds, Topsfield Hanged on August 19 George Burroughs, Wells, Maine John Proctor, Salem Village John Willard, Salem Village George Jacobs, Sr., Salem Town Martha Carrier, Andover September 19 Giles Corey, Salem Farms, pressed to death Hanged on September 22 Martha Corey, Salem Farms Mary Eastey, Topsfield Alice Parker, Salem Town Ann Pudeater, Salem Town Margaret Scott, Rowley Wilmott Reed, Marblehead Samuel Wardwell, Andover Mary Parker, Andover Other accused witches that were not hanged, but died in prison: Sarah Osborne, Salem Village Roger Toothaker, Billerica Lyndia Dustin, Reading Ann Foster, Andover And of course these Real Victim are only those that were Hanged, Died in Prison or was Pressed to Death, this doesn’t include those that were Accused and Confessed, or they hadn’t had their trial yet.
Methods of Death in States VS. World Methods of Death in States VS. World Hanged Burned at the Stake Pressed to Death Die in Prison awaiting Trail or Execution
In 1692 Legal Action was
Brought Against the Following:
Nehemiah Abbot Topsfield May 28 Nehemiah Abbot, Jun. Topsfield April 21 Capt. John Alden Boston May 31 Daniel Andrew Salem Village May 14 Abigail Barker Andover Sept.8 Mary Barker Andover August 29 William Barker, Sen. Andover August 29 William Barker, Jun. Andover August 29 Sarah Basset Lynn May 21 Bridget Bishop Salem Village April 18 Edward Bishop Salem Village April 21 Sarah Bishop Salem Village April 21 Mary Black Salem Village April 21 Mary Bradbury Salisbury April 26 Mary Bridges Andover July 28 Sarah Bridges Andover August 25 Hannah Bromage Andover July 30 (examination) Sarah Buckley Salem Village May 14 George Burroughs Wells, Maine April 30 Candy (slave) Salem Town June 1 Hannah Carrell Salem Town Sept. 10 Martha Carrier Andover May 28 Andrew Carrier Andover July 21 Richard Carrier Andover July 21 Sarah Carrier Andover Thomas Carrier Andover July 21 Bethia Carter Woburn May 8 Elizabeth Cary Charlestown May 28 Mary Clarke Haverhill Aug. 3 Rachel Clenton Ipswich March 29 Sarah Cloyse Salem Village April 4 Sarah Cole [I] Salem Town September 10 Sarah Cole [II] Lynn October 3 Elizabeth Colson Reading May 14 Giles Corey Salem Village April 18 Martha Corey Salem Village March 19 Deliverance Dane Andover Mary DeRich Salem Village May 23 Rebecca Dike Gloucester November 5 Elizabeth Dicer Gloucester September 3 Ann Doliver Andover September Lydia Dustin Reading April 30 Sarah Dustin Reading May 8 Rebecca Eames Andover August 19 Mary Easty Salem Village April 21 Esther Elwell Gloucester November 5 Martha Emerson Haverhill July 2 Joseph Emons Manchester September 5 Philip English Salem Town April 30 Mary English Salem Town April 21
Thomas Farrer, Sen. Lynn May 14 Edward Farrington Andover Sept. 17 Abigail Faulkner, Senior Andover Aug. 11 Abigail Faulkner, Jun. Andover Sept. Dorothy Faulkner Andover September 17 Cat. John Flood Rumney Marsh May 28 Elizabeth Fosdick Malden May 28 Elizabeth Fosdick [Jun.?] Malden June 2 Ann Foster Andover July 15 Nicholas Frost Manchester September 5 Eunice Frye Andover
Dorcas Good Salem Village March 23 Sarah Good Salem Village February 29 Mary Green Haverhill Elizabeth Hart Lynn May 14 Sarah Hawkes Andover September 1 Margaret Hawkes Salem Town June 1 Dorcas Hoar Beverly April 30 Abigail Hobbs Topsfield April 18 Deliverance Hobbs Topsfield April 21 William Hobbs Topsfield April 21
Elizabeth How Topsfield May 28 John Howard Rowley August 5 Francis Hutchens Haverhill August 18 Mary Ireson Lynn June 4 John Jackson, Sen. Rowley August 5 John Jackson, Jun. Rowley August 5 George Jacobs, Sen. Salem Town May 10 George Jacobs, Jun. Salem Village May 14 Margaret Jacobs Salem Town May 10 Rebecca Jacobs Salem Village May 14 Abigail Johnson Andover August 29 Elizabeth Johnson, Sen. Andover August 29 Elizabeth Johnson, Jun. Andover August 10 Rebecca Johnson Andover January 7, 1693 Stephen Johnson Andover September 1 Mary Lacey, Sen. Andover July 20 Mary Lacey, Jun. Andover John Lee April 1 (testimony) Jane Lilly Malden September 5 Mary Marston Andover August 29 Susanna Martin Amesbury April 30 Mary Morey Beverly May Sarah Morrill Beverly Rebecca Nurse Salem Village March 23 Sarah Osborne Salem Village February 29 Mary Osgood Andover Elizabeth Paine Charlestown June 2 Alice Parker Salem Town May 12 Mary Parker Andover August Sarah Pease Salem Town May 23 Joan Peney Gloucester September 20 Hannah Post Boxford August 25 Mary Post Rowley August 2 Susanna Post Andover August 25 Margaret Prince Gloucester September 3 Benjamin Proctor Salem Village May 23 Elizabeth Proctor Salem Village April 8 John Proctor Salem Village April 11 Sarah Proctor Salem Village William Proctor Salem Village May 28 Ann Pudeator Salem Town May 12 Abigail Roe Gloucester November 5 Wilmor Reed Marblehead May 28 Sarah Rice Reading May 28 Susanna Roots Beverly May 21 Henry Salter Andover September 7 John Sawdy Andover September [?] Margaret Scott September Ann Sears Woburn May 8 Abigail Soames Salem Town May 13 Martha Sparks Chelmsford Tituba Indian Salem Village February 29 Jerson Toothaker Mary Toothaker Billerica May 28 Roger Toothaker Billerica May 18 [Daughter of Roger Toothaker] Billerica May 28 Job Tookey Beverly Hannah Tyler Andover September 16 Martha Tyler Andover September 16 Mercy Wardwell Andover Samuel Wardwell Andover September 1 Sarah Wardwell Andover September 1 Mary Warren Salem Village April 18 Sarah Wilds Topsfield April 21 Ruth Wilford Haverhill August 18 John Willard Salem Village May 12 Sarah Wilson, Sen. Andover September 17 Sarah Wilson, Jun. Andover Mary Withridge Salem Village May 14
Who are these people That are accused of Witchcraft... Class 2 Nehemiah Abbott Sr.
With the seventh prisoner something unprecedented happened. The girls looked at him--he was Nehemiah Abbott, nearly one hundred years old by his reckoning, a "hilly faced man" with strands of white hair falling over his eyes--and admitted that they had made a mistake. "It is not the man," said Mercy Lewis positively. The other girls were less sure. They asked that he be led to a window and there crowded about him, pawing over his scalp in search of a wen some of them distinctly remembered. There was no wen. The man was discharged. A wave of relieve went over the spectators in the courtroom. It was not that anyone cared much about old Nehemiah, but the painstaking care taken by girls and justices was very reasuring. Source: The Devil in Massachusetts, by Marion L. Starkey pgs 110 - 111. On April 21, 1692, the Salem magistrates issued warrants for the arrest of Nehemiah Abbott Jr., and others. Nehemiah Abbott, an elderly weaver and church deacon, was brought to the bar. John Hathorne estimated Abbott's age to be nearly 100, buty he may have been younger. Larry Gragg has found evidence that he lived until 1701, which would have been remarkable if Abbot was 1090 in 1692. Whatever his exact age, Mary Walcott testified that she had seen his shape, and Ann Putnam spotted him on a beam of the meetinghouse. The magistrates urbged Abbott to confess, as his builg "was certainly proved," and to "find mercy of God." "I speak before god," he repliedc, however, "that I am clear from this all respects."
At that point, another curious turn of events occured. Ann Putnam remained resolute in her charges, but Walcott began to waiver. "He is like him, [but] I cannot say it is he," she allowed. Mercy Lewis testified that Abbott was not the person who had afflicted her, and the rest of the girls remained silent. The magistrates ordered the girls to examine him more closely, even moving them outside to take advantage of the daylight. But they still could not identify him, admitting only that "he was like that man, but [that] he had not a wen [cyst or blemish] they saw in his apparition." Putnam, perhaps sensing her isoloation and wishing to explain her mistaken identification, quickly shouted at Abbott, "Did you put a mist before my eyes?" Nehemiah Abbott was discharged, but what happened thereafter is unclear. Unlike Mary Easty, he may never have been charged again, but that is not certain.
Abigail Sr. Abigail Jr. and Dorothy Dane Faulkner Abigail Faulkner's story, like that of most witches, comes to us largely from the records of her witchcraft trial. At first glance, her personal history would never lead us to suspect her for one of Satan's allies. Her age is unknown, but she probably married young, and she was still bearing children when she was accused. Between her marriage and her imprisonment seventeen years later, she had given birth to two sons (both of whom were still alive in 1692) and four daughters (one of who had died), and she was pregnant at the time of her incarceration. She also had brothers, and by all accounts the Dane and Faulkner families were unusual in both their prosperity and social status. No sexual misconduct or other witchlike behavior is discernible in her past--at least not before 1687. The same cannot be said for several of Abigail's female relatives. her sister, widow Elizabeth Johnson,* had many years before been prosecuted for fornication. Her sister-in-law, Deliverance Dane, was still married but had no surviving sones. Her stepmother, Hannah Dane, exerted almost full control of a L587 estate left to her by her first husband. In 1687, Abigail herself began to resemble a witch. In that year, her father-in-law died and her husband came into the rest of his sizeable inheritance. More significantly, her husband became too ill to manage his own affiars. The exact nature of his illness is unclear, but he suffered from convulsions, and his memory and understanding were impaired. He was unable to do anything for himself. With no adult sons to assume responsibility, Abigail took charge of the family estate. We can only speculate about the response of the men of Abigail's generation, most of whome were still waiting for the kind of privilege her husband had been accorded, when that privilege devloved to a woman. in 1692, in the midst of the Salem outbreak, Abigail Faulkner was "cried down" as a witch. Accused wither here were two of her daughters, her sister, her sister-in-law, and two neices and a newphw. Apparently even her father was suspected, though he was never formally accused. the origin of the complaint against her is obscure, but it was evidently filed by one of several neighbors, all of whom had children who testified that she afflicted them. Abigail initially denied any witchcraft, but later she acknowledged that the Devil might have taken advantage of the malice in her heart. She owned that "she was angry at what folk said" when one of her neices was accused and at their laughter when they suggested that her sister would be next. She also admitted that in her anger she "did look with an evil eye on the afflicted persons and did consent that they should be afflicted, because they were caus of bringing her kindred out." To her judges, this may have been evidence enough, for they convicted her and sentenced her to die. Her pregnancy, however, delayed her execution--and ultimately saved her life. In 1703, a decade after the end of the Salem outbreak, Abigail Faulkner submitted a petition to the Massachusetts magistrates that captures the full force of witchcraft beliefs in seventeenth-century New England and their relentless, awesome presence in women's lives. It was not the first petition Abigail and her family had filed since she was released from prison in 1693, but the others were concerned with the effect of her conviction on th eFaulkner estate. This one spoke more plaintively of its effect on her state of mind. In it, she asked the court for an official purging of the record and the full vindication of her name. "I am yet suffred to live," she said, but his only as a Malefactor, Convict[ed] upon record of the most heinous Crimes that mankind Can be supposed to be guilty of, which besides its utter Ruining and Defacing my Reputation, will Certainly Expose my selfe to Iminent Danger by new accusations, whihc will thereby be the more redily believed, [and] will Remaine as a perpetuall brand of Infamy upon my family..... Abigal could not know, of course, what only time would reveal: That the witchcraft prosecutions were at last over, that the accusations were virtually over, and that the image of woman as evil was even then passing into its more purely secular form, to be played out in the class and racial dynamics of a moder industrial economy.*Elizabeth Johnson, in other books, is refered to as Abigail's cousin. At the present time, I don't know which is true, but I will do further research and clarify this point as soon as possible. When Andover's Abigail Faulkner petitioned the Massachusetts authorities in 1703 to remove the stigma of witchcraft from her name, she spoke to the continuing anguish of living with a witch's reputation. Other women in the early eighteenth century no doublt shared her concerns and her plight, since at least some accusations and extralegal reprisals continued long after official support for witchcraft accusations came to an end. But after the Salem and Fairfield outbreaks, witchcraft beliefs and prosecutions were no longer sanctioned in the larger culture.
Elizabeth Jackson Howe Her parents were William and Deborah Jackson of Rowley, Mass. She married James Howe April 1658. Their 5th child, Deborah, born 11 May 1685 who married Issac Howe of Roxbury, Mass. Now, Issac Howe was the son of Abraham Howe and cousin to James Howe. By 1644 Elizabeth Jackson is described as a "maid" in Ezekiel Rogers' house. It is hard to know what this means, but at age 7 years it is unlikely that she was much of a house servant. She may have been living there learning to be a servant. Another possibility is that since the Jacksons were not strong church attendees (William never became a freeman of the town which was often secondary to church membership) and Elizabeth's younger brother was charged with Sabbath breaking, a serious offense in the Puritan community, perhaps Elizabeth was in the Reverend's house to teach her better ways. A third possibility is that Elizabeth's mother was about to give birth to her fourth child and Reverend Rogers may have taken Elizabeth in temporarily to relieve the household. We have little knowledge of Elizabeth's education. The Massachusetts Bay Colony started compulsory elementary education in public schools in 1647, so she probably had some formal education. When Elizabeth returned home she certainly helped her mother care for her three younger siblings and helped her father with farming and gardening. The Jacksons were now entitled to 25 acres of town land for cultivation and grazing which was much more than they had had in East Yorkshire. Life for teenage children was pretty gloomy in the Puritan colonies. Sabbath was strictly regulated with long services and lectures. Town bylaws required the appointment of overseers to inspect each house on the Sabbath to ensure that the Lord's Day was being properly observed. There were compulsory lectures during the week and lots of hard work to accomplish. Life was not easy. In 1658 when she was twenty one years old Elizabeth was married to James Howe who came from the neighboring town of Ipswich, four miles away to the southeast. There was much social interaction between Rowley and Ipswich, which had been founded only six years before Rowley, although the exact circumstances which brought Elizabeth and James together are not recorded. James was a little older than Elizabeth and totally blind. Elizabeth moved to a section of Ipswich called Topsfield, very close to Salem. Her marriage seems to have been successful. She had five children: Elizabeth 1661, Mary 1664, John 1671, Abigail 1673 and Deborah 1685. Her last child was born when she was forty eight. She stayed in close touch with her parents and her father gave his son-in-law a parcel of land he owned in West Rowley. James Howe and the children were devoted to Elizabeth from all accounts. Yet a woman in these early colonial times running a household and carrying out extra duties and activities because her husband was blind might have given the impression of being a busy body, over-extending her activities, and making decisions well beyond the accepted level for a retiring domestic Puritan housewife. Elizabeth apparently was not a submissive female figure. She had to take strong positions to safeguard the interests of her blind husband and the children. She did have the gift of attracting children to herself and is described as always having many more than her own in tow both in her daily activities and in attendance at story telling and other entertainments. The problem began in 1682 with neighbors in Topsfield, the Perleys. Sam Perley from Ipswich had married Ruth Trumble from Rowley six years after the Howes' marriage. Ruth Trumble was related by marriage to Elizabeth as Elizabeth's youngest sister Deborah had married John Trumble in Rowley. So Elizabeth and Mrs. Trumble were sisters-in-law. Apparently the trouble began when the Perleys 10 year old daughter, Hannah, who had previously been part of Elizabeth's children’s group in the Howe household, became ill. She was subject to periodic fits and while in the fit would sometimes accuse Elizabeth for causing her illness through witchcraft. Hannah's parents certainly picked up or generated this message as did her siblings when the accusation against Elizabeth was made in 1682. The Puritan minister, the Reverend Samuel Phillips, and his assistant the Reverend Edward Payson in Rowley were skeptics of the witchcraft craze which had come over from Puritan England. They contrived to bring Elizabeth to Hannah's house just as she was recovering from one of her fits. The Reverends asked Hannah if Elizabeth was responsible for her affliction and Hannah denied that Elizabeth Howe had any guilt for her fits and added that if during her fits she had accused Elizabeth of witchcraft she was unaware of it. Then one of her brothers who was standing nearby urged Hannah to name Elizabeth as a witch but she would not do so. The accusation was made in 1682 but for the next ten years there was no action resulting from it. Elizabeth did continue to try to be admitted into the Ipswich church but was unsuccessful. Her relation to the community was damaged and her activities became more limited to family. Hannah, the Perley daughter, went on to die several years after the original accusation was made. Toward the end of that ten years in nearby Salem village a number of unnatural or unexplained events had taken place and members of the town were severely frightened about their future survival. This kind of uncertainty and personal fright occurs especially when a rather tightly interdependent village group suddenly evolves to a point where individuals have more personal freedom to follow their own course and not spend their full efforts in fitting into the community as they had done before. This plus the simple fact that there was a group of prepubertal girls who had listened to a Barbados slave, Tituba, working in the minister's house who ranted about black magic and Satanism. The girls learned that by having screaming spasms and accusing women of witchcraft, all the adults started paying attention to them. As their importance grew so did the number of their accusations. The evidence they stated was always "spectral" saying that they had seen ghosts looking like this or that witch. Then, when the accused was brought into their presence, the girls' fits stopped when they were touched by the accused. This showed that the accused had witch-like power to stop their suffering. These same girls from Salem village were invited to several nearby towns to identify witches in those towns, which they happily did. Almost all of the accused were middle-aged women who probably were a little more independent and intelligent than the average Puritan housewife of the time.
Roger Toothaker
Roger Toothaker was born about 1634 in England, son of Margaret and Roger Toothaker. He became a physician and settled in Billerica, Massachusetts. In 1665 he married Mary Allen. She was born about 1645 in andover, daughter of Faith Ingalls and Andrew Allen. The children of Roger and Mary included Martha, born 1668, Allen, born 1670 and Margaret, born 1683. In 1692 Roger, about fifty-eight, resided in Billerica with his wife mary, about fourty-seven, two sons and daughter Margaret, nine. Daughter Martha was married to Joseph Emerson in Haverhill and son Allen Toothaker resided in Andover. On about May 18, 1692 the conspiracy filed a complaint (#19) against Dr. Roger Toothaker. They charged him with afflicting, among others, Elizabeth Hubbard, servant of Dr. Griggs of Salem Vilage. He was arrested and sent to Boston prison. On May 28 the conspiricy filed a complaint (#23) against his wife, Mary Toothaker, his young daughter Margaret Toothaker and his sister-in-law Martha (Allen) Carrier of Andover. They were arrested and taken to Salem Vilage for examination and then imprisoned at Salem. Thomas Gage, about 36, and Elias Pickwort, about 34, gave depositions about the illnesses of two children that spring. The two men claimed that Dr. Toothaker had said, " have already seen both children, and my opinion is they are under an evil hand. My daughter, Martha Emerson, killed a which. She had learned something from me. She go some of the afflicted person's urine and put it into a earthen pot. She covered the pot very tightly, and put it into a hot oven and closed up the oven. The next morning the witch was dead." On June 16, 1692 Dr. Roger Toothaker died in the Boston prison. The coroner's warrant required "24 able and sufficient men appear before me at the prison forthwith." In the return of the coroner's jury, Benjamine Walker, forman, stated, "We have viewed the body and obtained the best information we can from the persons near and present at his death and do find he came to his end by a natural death on this 16 of June 1692." The impaneling of a coroner's jury indicates that Dr. Toothaker died under suspicious circumstances. On July 23 Mary's daughter Martha (Toothaker) Emerson was accused, arrested and imprisoned. On July 30 Mary Toothaker, now a widow, made a confession before the magistrates at Salem. She related her terror of the Indians, a well-grounded fear as Billerica was still subject to periodic raids. Mary confessed to having made a covenant with the Devil in the past May for protection from the Indians. On August 1, the Indians raided Billerica and at least six persons were slain. The Indians returned a few days later and burned donw the deserted Toothaker farm. On August 5, 1692 Mary's sister Martha (Allen) Carrier was condemned by the Court of Oyer and Terminer, and on August 10 she was hanged at Salem. On February 1 1693 at the Superior Court of Judicature at Charleston for Middlesex County, Mary Toothaker was found not guilty in trial by jury. In 1695 the "Indian enemy" raided Billerica. They killed widow Mary (Allen) Toothaker and carried of her 12 year old daughter Margaret. After suffering a long imprisonment for witchcraft when she was nine, Margaret Toothaker, "never to be heard of again," was now in the hands of "the children of the Devil."
Martha Carrier
Best remembered in popular lore as the 'rampant hag' described by Cotton Mather, modern historical studies demonstrate that Martha Carrier was a victim of Salem's outbreak of witchcraft accusations. Carrier was accused of being in league with the devil by the circle of "afflicted" girls, neighbors and even her own children, and hanged as a witch on August 19, 1692. Like many of accused witches, Carrier was a poor, disagreeable woman, for whom this was not the first accusation of witchcraft. Born Martha Allen, daughter of one of the original founders of the Massachusetts town of Andover, in 1674 Martha married below her station to a young Welsh servant and father of her illegitimate child, Thomas Carrier. Living for a few years in Billerica, the couple returned to Andover in the 1680's with very little money and four children. Martha's independent spirit and lack of deference seem to have quickly alienated her from the rest of the community. The turning point came in 1690 when a smallpox epidemic erupted in the town. Although her family, particularly the men, accounted for 7 of the 13 who died of smallpox in the town, the community of Andover blamed Martha for the tragedy. Carrier's reputation as a witch found new expression two years later when the outbreak in Salem began. As the testimony of the circle of accusing girls reflected, the Salem community was well aware of Andover's gossip. Susan Sheldon, Mary Walcot, Elizabeth Hubbard and Ann Putnam screamed before the court that they could see the 13 ghosts of Andover. Other neighbors accused her of maleficium, testifying that after harsh words from her, evil things like sick or dead animals or strange illnesses befell them. During her courtroom examination, however, Carrier stood her ground and boldly asserted that those who accused her lied. Asked if she could then look upon the girls, seemingly possessed, without their writhing in pain, she said she would not, for "they will dissemble if I look upon them." Later, she admonished the magistrates, saying "it is a shamefull thing that you should mind these folks that are out of their wits." Accusations of witchcraft extended beyond Martha to the rest of her family. Her sons Richard and Andrew, ages 18 and 15 respectively, were tied neck to heels until blood was ready to come out of their noses. Under such intense pressure, Martha's own children, including seven-year-old Sarah and ten-year-old Thomas, Jr., testified against her and confessed themselves to be witches. Young Sarah told the court that she had been a "witch Ever Since She was Six years Old that her Moth'r brought a red book to her and She touched it." The assistant minister Thomas Barnard who was responsible for these confessions, managed to get confessions from all but two of accused witches, including Martha, who were also members of his congregation. One explanation for the targeting of the Carrier family depends upon a conspiracy theory that holds that the motive of the Andover accusations was to punish and remove political power and social influence from the founding families of Andover. According to the originator of this theory, Enders Robinson, (see his book, Salem Witchcraft) a group of ten accusers were in league with Andover's assistant minister Rev. Thomas Barnard in order to gain control over the town's affairs by discrediting the senior minister, Rev. Francis Dane, and the leading families through witchcraft accusations. Robinson points to the concentration of Andover accusations within families were either related to Rev. Francis Dane or to the powerful founding families. Although the correspondence he finds between these groups is interesting, there is no strong evidence supporting such a conspiracy. An alternative explanation, put forward by Carol Karlsen in her book ,I The Devil in the Shape of a Woman, blames the disruption to the existing socio-economic order that women inheriting a significant amount of money or property would cause. Karlsen argues that a sizable group of accused women were not the typical marginalized women, but wealthy and prominent members of the community, who shared an unusual place within society as primary heirs to money and property. Although Martha might have inherited some property after the majority of her male relatives died in the smallpox epidemic of 1690, such an inheritance would have been minimal. More likely, Martha's established reputation as a witch and as a disagreeable woman made her a target once the momentum of accusations got out of control in Salem.
Sarah Pease
Sarah Pease, the wife of Robert Pease, was accused of witchcraft in Salem on May 23, 1692. Elaine Pease's article in the Essex Genealogist is a definitive study of not only Sarah's family, but her role in the Salem witch trials. An excerpt from that article appears below, along with some web links sites concerning the history of witchcraft in Salem and elsewhere. Sarah's husband, Robert, emigrated from England in 1634 at the age of about 4 years old with his father Robert and his uncle John Pease. Her family name and origin is unknown until the time of her marriage to Robert in 1658. Of Robert there is more information, as outlined in the register report about him on these pages. Elaine's article goes into the details of the family, their living conditions and even the location of their home in what is now Peabody, Massachusetts. Of her trial, the following is excerpted from the article: She was accused on Monday, May 23, 1692 of "sundry acts of Witchcraft committed on the bodies of Mary Warren, Abigail Williams and Eliz Hubbard."27 She was accused along with Benjamin Procter and Mary Derich. A warrant for her arrest was issued and she was arrested that day. The following day was set aside for examinations and the proceedings were recorded by Nathaniel Cary of Charlestown. He and Mrs. Cary had come to observe and to face Mrs. Cary's accuser, Abigail Williams. He writes of the prisoners, one of whom surely was Sarah Pease: The Prisoners were called in one by one, and as they came in were cried out of, etc. The prisoner was placed about 7 or 8 foot from the Justices, and the Accusers between the Justices and them; the Prisoner was ordered to stand right before the Justices, with an Officer appointed to hold each hand, least they should therewith afflict them, and the Prisoners Eyes must be constantly on the Justices; for if they looked on the afflicted, they would either fall into their Fits, or cry out of being hurt by them; after Examination of the Prisoners, who it was afflicted these Girls, etc., they were put upon saying the Lords Prayer, as a trials of their guilt; after the afflicted seemed to be out of their Fits, they would look steadfastly on some one person, and frequently not speak; and then the Justices said they were struck dumb, and after a little time would speak again; then the Justices said to the Accusers, "which of you will go and touch the Prisoner at the Bar?" then the most courageous would adventure, but before they made three steps would ordinarily fall down as in a Fit; the Justices ordered that they should be taken up and carried to the Prisoner, that she might touch them; and as soon as they were touched by the accused, the Justices would say, they are well, before I could discern any alteration... Sufficient evidence must have been found against Sarah because she was sent to Salem jail on May 25th, 1692.
Mary Osgood
I am 60 years old and I was convicted of witchcraft. I was born in the city of Coventry in Warwickshire, Old England and came to New England in 1642 as a young girl. My father was Robert Clements of Haverhill. I am the wife of John Osgood, one of the leading citizens of Andover, Mass. My father-in-law was John Osgood, Sr., one of the founders of Andover. My husband and I and four of our twelve children live in the house that my father-in-law built here in Andover. (Note: this is only a guess. I don't know how many children were still at home at that time). This insanity started when some girls in Salem Village claimed to have the power to detect witches. It did not affect our town of Andover until the wife of Joseph Ballard was taken sick. When she didn't get better, Mr. Ballard was persuaded by friends to send for these girls that they might indicate who had bewitched his wife. Two of the "witch-finders" were brought over from Salem and taken to the Andover Meeting house. All the townspeople were told to attend. After Mr. Barnard, our minister, offered prayer, many of us present were blindfolded and made to walk by the girls, placing our hands on them as we did so. Whenever a supposedly witch touched them, one or both girls would fall into fits. I and a number of others were accused as a result of this. Oh, those terrible girls. What they really needed was a good whipping! Mr. Dudley Bradstreet, our Justice of the Peace, reluctantly granted warrants for our arrest and we were soon taken over to Salem. That was on Sept. 8, 1692. I shall never forget that date! It was so terrible there. I saw many people who were tortured until they confessed to being witches. We were told that if we did not confess, we would be hung. Oh, it seemed so hopeless. One of the torture methods they used was to tie the neck and heels together until the blood would gush from your nose. They would keep badgering and brow-beating everyone to confess. It was all so horrible. I wasn't a witch, none of us were, but after awhile you began to think that maybe Satan had really made you do these terrible things they were accusing us of doing. Finally I could no longer stand it and I confessed to being a witch. Some were so brave and maintained their innocence right up until the end when they were sentenced and hung by their neck until dead. I was put in prison. In October the Rev. Increase Mather visited the prison and he talked to many of us prisoners. I recanted my confession to him. It made me feel better and thank goodness, it didn't send me to the gallows because the hangings had ceased, but it didn't free me from prison either. And what an awful place that prison was. Some people died there and one poor woman gave birth in prison and shortly afterwards her baby died. My dear husband, John - he was trying so hard to get me released. He and Mr. Bradstreet and 52 others from Andover petitioned the court in Salem for the release of myself, Eunice Fry, Deliverance Dane, Sarah Wilson, Sr. and Abigail Barker. Finally, after six months imprisonment, the five of us were freed. Altogether, 48 men, women and children from Andover were accused of witchcraft, more than any other town in Massachusetts. Over 80% of the population in Andover was involved in some way during this tragic time. From the first arrest warrants on Feb. 29, 1692 to the last executions on Sept. 22, 1692, over 150 people were accused and jailed on suspicion of witchcraft, 4 people plus one infant died in prison, 20 people were executed by hanging, one person was pressed to death and 2 dogs were also hanged. The last sitting of the court was held in Boston in May, 1693 and by this time Gov. Phipps received a letter from England which convinced him that there was no need to continue with the trials. The Governor issued a proclamation that pardoned everyone andgranted amnesty to those who fled to escape persecution. By the end of the trials, many of the important citizens of Massachusetts were accused of witchcraft including Gov. Phipps' wife. A few years later, the girls who started the hysteria, as well as many of the accusers who took part in the accusations, asked for forgiveness. Also, Judge Samuel Sewall, one of the judges of the trials, publicly asked forgiveness five years later. A painting of Sewall, his head bowed while others pray in an Old South Church pew in Boston, hangs in the House chamber, heralding the "Dawn of Tolerance."
Sarah Lord
Sarah Lord was born about 1648 in Ipswich, Massachusetts, daughter of Mary (Waite) and Robert Lord, a prominent resident of Ipswich who served as Town Clerk from 1645 until his death in 1683. In 1678 Sarah Lord married widower Joseph Wilson of Andover, son of William Wilson, the emigrant ancestor, and his wife Patience. Their children included daughter Sarah Wilson, Jr., born in 1678. In 1692 at the height of the infamous Salem witchcraft trials, Sarah, aged about 44, her husband, Joseph, a cooper, their daughter Sarah Wilson, Jr., aged 14, and their other children were living in the south part of Andover, MA. Joseph and his wife were both members of the Andover church.On Wednesday morning, September 7, 1692, the Rev. Thomas Barnard called certain members of Andover's elite to the meetinghouse. Some children were also invited. The majority of the congregation, however, were absent. When they arrived, they found the group of Andover's "afflicted" girls already present. After a short prayer, Rev. Barnard launched into a sermon describing the evils of witchcraft. "Perhaps there are few persons, ever allured by the Devil unto an explicit covenant with himself. If any among ourselves be so, my counsel is, that you hunt the Devil from you." Five of the women present, Mary Osgood, Deliverance Dane, Sarah (Lord) Wilson, Mary (Lovett) Tyler, Abigail Barker, and one girl, Hannah Tyler, later made this statement about what followed. "After Mr. Barnard had been at prayer, we were blindfolded, and our hands were laid upon the afflicted persons, they being in their fits and falling into their fits at our coming into their presence, as they said. Some led us and laid our hands upon them, and then they said they were well and that we were guilty of afflicting them; whereupon we were all seized, as prisoners, by a warrant from the justice of the peace [Dudley Bradstreet] and forthwith carried to Salem. "And by reason of that sudden surprise, we knowing ourselves altogether innocent of that crime, we were all exceedingly astonished and amazed, and consternated and affrighted even out of our reason; and our nearest and dearest relations, seeing us in that dreadful condition, and knowing our great danger, apprehending that there was no other way to save our lives, as the case was then circumstantiated, but by our confessing ourselves to be such and such persons as the afflicted represented us to be, they, out of tender love and pity, persuaded us to confess what we did confess. Why were these particular people, the leading citizens of Andover, singled out to come together at the meeting house in Andover to be put to the touch test? In the settlement of Andover, those who came first obtained the most desirable and largest portions of land; latecomers were given the crumbs, small farms on marginal land. The controlling elite - those who gained their large land-holdings by the good fortune of being the town's first settlers - were now under attack. In the eight weeks from July 15, 1692 until the touch test on September 7, Dudley Bradstreet, acting in his capacity as justice of the peace, had granted out arrest warrants against, and committed, some thirty Andover persons to prisons for supposed witchcrafts. Now, on September 7, Dudley Bradstreet dutifully wrote out the arrest warrants for the eighteen who were accused in the touch test. Torn from their homes without warning, stripped of their dignity and their rights, these women with terror in their hearts found themselves being carted off to Salem prison, accused of witchcraft. Sarah (Lord) Wilson and her 14 year-old daughter, Sarah, Jr. were among those imprisoned. Sarah was the sister of Ephraim Foster's aunt, Abigail (Lord) Foster. On September 14, Ephraim Foster testified against Samuel Wardwell, who was hanged on September 22, 1692. The touch test was cunningly executed. The elite of Andover were caught off guard. Capt. Osgood, Deacon Frye, and others had urged their wives to confess. Apparently these men, pillars of the church, believed the message preached by Barnard that confession was the way to eternal life.They also may have hoped that confession would save the lives of their wives. And "confess" these women did. Those who did not were in danger of being tried and executed. Not until their wives and children were in prison did the minds of these men begin to clear. They then realized that they had been deceived by the fanaticism of their younger minister, Thomas Barnard. Capt. Osgood, Deacon Frye and the other good men of Andover now began to comprehend the full implications of the storm raging in their midst. They turned to their older minister, Rev. Francis Dane, and formed a resistance movement. Under his guidance they started to take the strong steps required to free the imprisoned members of their families. On September 16 the Andover children Sarah Wilson, Jr., 14, Dorothy Faulkner, 12, Abigail Faulkner, Jr., 9, Joanna Tyler, 11 and Martha Tyler, 11, as well as Joseph Draper, 21, were made to confess that they had been led into witchcraft by Abigail (Dane) Faulkner. The officials were desperate for evidence to use against Abigail Faulkner in her forthcoming trail, as she had made only a partial confession. "Also, Martha Tyler, Johanna Tyler, Sarah Wilson, and Joseph Tyler, confessing themselves witches, did all acknowledge that they were led into that dreadful sin of witchcraft by the means of the aforesd Abigail Faulkner." On October 15 the officials allowed Sarah Wilson, Jr. to be released on bail after six weeks imprisonment. The other imprisoned Andover children were also allowed to be released on bail about the same time.The ministers visited the prisons to confer with the prisoners in an effort to elicit confessions. In October, Rev. Increase Mather visited the Salem prison and interviewed Sarah (Lord) Wilson. Rev. Increase Mather's Report of his Conversations in Prison with Sarah Wilson, Sr. "Goodwife Wilson said that she was in the dark as to some things in her confession. Yet she asserted that, knowingly, she never had familiarity with the Devil; that, knowingly, she never consented to the afflicting of any person, &c. However, she said that truly she was in the dark as to the matter of her being a witch. And being asked how she was in the dark, she replied, that the afflicted persons crying out of her as afflicting them made her fearful of herself; and that was all that made her say that she was in the dark."
Sarah Lord was born about 1648 in Ipswich, Massachusetts, daughter of Mary (Waite) and Robert Lord, a prominent resident of Ipswich who served as Town Clerk from 1645 until his death in 1683. In 1678 Sarah Lord married widower Joseph Wilson of Andover, son of William Wilson, the emigrant ancestor, and his wife Patience. Their children included daughter Sarah Wilson, Jr., born in 1678. In 1692 at the height of the infamous Salem witchcraft trials, Sarah, aged about 44, her husband, Joseph, a cooper, their daughter Sarah Wilson, Jr., aged 14, and their other children were living in the south part of Andover, MA. Joseph and his wife were both members of the Andover church.On Wednesday morning, September 7, 1692, the Rev. Thomas Barnard called certain members of Andover's elite to the meetinghouse. Some children were also invited. The majority of the congregation, however, were absent. When they arrived, they found the group of Andover's "afflicted" girls already present. After a short prayer, Rev. Barnard launched into a sermon describing the evils of witchcraft. "Perhaps there are few persons, ever allured by the Devil unto an explicit covenant with himself. If any among ourselves be so, my counsel is, that you hunt the Devil from you." Five of the women present, Mary Osgood, Deliverance Dane, Sarah (Lord) Wilson, Mary (Lovett) Tyler, Abigail Barker, and one girl, Hannah Tyler, later made this statement about what followed. "After Mr. Barnard had been at prayer, we were blindfolded, and our hands were laid upon the afflicted persons, they being in their fits and falling into their fits at our coming into their presence, as they said. Some led us and laid our hands upon them, and then they said they were well and that we were guilty of afflicting them; whereupon we were all seized, as prisoners, by a warrant from the justice of the peace [Dudley Bradstreet] and forthwith carried to Salem. "And by reason of that sudden surprise, we knowing ourselves altogether innocent of that crime, we were all exceedingly astonished and amazed, and consternated and affrighted even out of our reason; and our nearest and dearest relations, seeing us in that dreadful condition, and knowing our great danger, apprehending that there was no other way to save our lives, as the case was then circumstantiated, but by our confessing ourselves to be such and such persons as the afflicted represented us to be, they, out of tender love and pity, persuaded us to confess what we did confess. Why were these particular people, the leading citizens of Andover, singled out to come together at the meeting house in Andover to be put to the touch test? In the settlement of Andover, those who came first obtained the most desirable and largest portions of land; latecomers were given the crumbs, small farms on marginal land. The controlling elite - those who gained their large land-holdings by the good fortune of being the town's first settlers - were now under attack. In the eight weeks from July 15, 1692 until the touch test on September 7, Dudley Bradstreet, acting in his capacity as justice of the peace, had granted out arrest warrants against, and committed, some thirty Andover persons to prisons for supposed witchcrafts. Now, on September 7, Dudley Bradstreet dutifully wrote out the arrest warrants for the eighteen who were accused in the touch test. Torn from their homes without warning, stripped of their dignity and their rights, these women with terror in their hearts found themselves being carted off to Salem prison, accused of witchcraft. Sarah (Lord) Wilson and her 14 year-old daughter, Sarah, Jr. were among those imprisoned. Sarah was the sister of Ephraim Foster's aunt, Abigail (Lord) Foster. On September 14, Ephraim Foster testified against Samuel Wardwell, who was hanged on September 22, 1692. The touch test was cunningly executed. The elite of Andover were caught off guard. Capt. Osgood, Deacon Frye, and others had urged their wives to confess. Apparently these men, pillars of the church, believed the message preached by Barnard that confession was the way to eternal life.They also may have hoped that confession would save the lives of their wives. And "confess" these women did. Those who did not were in danger of being tried and executed. Not until their wives and children were in prison did the minds of these men begin to clear. They then realized that they had been deceived by the fanaticism of their younger minister, Thomas Barnard. Capt. Osgood, Deacon Frye and the other good men of Andover now began to comprehend the full implications of the storm raging in their midst. They turned to their older minister, Rev. Francis Dane, and formed a resistance movement. Under his guidance they started to take the strong steps required to free the imprisoned members of their families. On September 16 the Andover children Sarah Wilson, Jr., 14, Dorothy Faulkner, 12, Abigail Faulkner, Jr., 9, Joanna Tyler, 11 and Martha Tyler, 11, as well as Joseph Draper, 21, were made to confess that they had been led into witchcraft by Abigail (Dane) Faulkner. The officials were desperate for evidence to use against Abigail Faulkner in her forthcoming trail, as she had made only a partial confession. "Also, Martha Tyler, Johanna Tyler, Sarah Wilson, and Joseph Tyler, confessing themselves witches, did all acknowledge that they were led into that dreadful sin of witchcraft by the means of the aforesd Abigail Faulkner." On October 15 the officials allowed Sarah Wilson, Jr. to be released on bail after six weeks imprisonment. The other imprisoned Andover children were also allowed to be released on bail about the same time.The ministers visited the prisons to confer with the prisoners in an effort to elicit confessions. In October, Rev. Increase Mather visited the Salem prison and interviewed Sarah (Lord) Wilson. Rev. Increase Mather's Report of his Conversations in Prison with Sarah Wilson, Sr. "Goodwife Wilson said that she was in the dark as to some things in her confession. Yet she asserted that, knowingly, she never had familiarity with the Devil; that, knowingly, she never consented to the afflicting of any person, &c. However, she said that truly she was in the dark as to the matter of her being a witch. And being asked how she was in the dark, she replied, that the afflicted persons crying out of her as afflicting them made her fearful of herself; and that was all that made her say that she was in the dark."
Giles Corey
Giles Corey was a prosperous farmer and full member of the church. He lived in the southwest corner of Salem village. In April of 1692, he was accused by Ann Putnam, Jr., Mercy Lewis, and Abigail Williams of witchcraft. Ann Putnam claimed that on April 13 the specter of Giles Corey visited her and asked her to write in the Devil's book. Later, Putnam was to claim that a ghost appeared before her to announce that it had been murdered by Corey. Other girls were to describe Corey as "a dreadful wizard" and recount stories of assaults by his specter. Why Corey was named as a witch (male witches were generally called "wizards" at the time) is a matter of speculation, but Corey and his wife Martha were closely associated with the Porter faction of the village church that had been opposing the Putnam faction. Corey, eighty years old, was also a hard, stubborn man who may have expressed criticism of the witchcraft proceedings. Corey was examined by magistrates on April 18, then left to languish with his wife in prison for five months awaiting trial. When Corey's case finally went before the grand jury in September, nearly a dozen witnesses came forward with damning evidence such as testimony that Corey was seen serving bread and wine at a witches' sacrament. Corey knew he faced conviction and execution, so he chose to refuse to stand for trial. By avoiding conviction, it became more likely that his farm, which Corey recently deeded to his two sons-in-law, would not become property of the state upon his death. The penalty for refusing to stand for trial was death by pressing under heavy stones. It was a punishment never before seen in the colony of Massachusetts. On Monday, September 19, Corey was stripped naked, a board placed upon his chest, and then--while his neighbors watched--heavy stones and rocks were piled on the board. Corey pleaded to have more weight added, so that his death might come quickly.Samuel Sewall reported Corey's death: "About noon, at Salem, Giles Corey was pressed to death for standing mute." Robert Calef, in his report of the event, added a gruesome detail: Giles's "tongue being prest out of his mouth, the Sheriff with his cane forced it in again, when he was dying." Judge Jonathan Corwin ordered Corey buried in an unmarked grave on Gallows Hill. Corey is often seen as a martyr who "gave back fortitude and courage rather than spite and bewilderment." His very public death may well have played in building public opposition to the witchcraft trials. This poor man was soon to fall into the ugly cauldron inhabited by his wife and so many others. His history indicates that earlier in life he was prosperous, somewhat irascible, and lacked consideration for others in the community. He became involved in lawsuits and was presented in court upon suspicion of "abusing the body of Jacob Goodell," who worked for him. [Nevins, pp.109, footnote 9] He was arrested on a warrant issued April 18th, examined on the 19th and committed to jail. Testimony was given in September at the grand inquest. He was brought before the court to plead to his indictment for witchcraft, but refused to do so, or stood "mute." Unfortunately, in the early days, one had necessarily to plead guilty or innocent -- or suffer the consequences of "pain of torture," or "piene forte et dure" -- in simple terms suffer being pressed to death. According to Nevins, his choice of this venue was perhaps more shrewd than one might think.Pleading would have resulted in the forfeiture of his property upon conviction. While in jail he drew up and executed a paper which he intended should operate as a will, but which in reality was a deed of conveyance to his sons-in-law, William Cleaves and John Moulton. [Nevins, p.107-8] In any event, poor Giles was, indeed, pressed to death. Exactly where this event took place is unknown, but tradition has it that he was taken to an open field within the town. At least one record left by Judge Sewall recounts, "Monday, September 19, 1692. About noon at Salem, Giles Corey was pressed to death for standing Mute; much pains was used with him two days, one after another, by the court and Capt. Gardner of Nantucket who had been of his acquaintance, but all in vain." According to Perley, Giles Cory was pressed to death in the field corner of St. Peters and Brown Streets opposite the jail then on Church Street, corner of St. Peters Street, Salem. And according to all traditions, Corey requested that they place the weights more quickly, the sooner one supposes -- to die. He thus predeceased his wife by several days.
Samuel Wardwell
Samuel Wardwell was hanged for witchcraft in Salem on September 22, 1692. He is among those remembered at memorials in Salem and Danvers, Massachusetts. Much credit is due to Majorie Wardwell Otten for her extensive work on the Wardwell descendants. Thanks also to Mark Honey, whose help has been invaluable in researching the many Wardwell’s of Hancock County, Maine. Abigail Wardwell Bond has provided great help with the Wardwell’s of Vermont. Many others have contributed as well and are credited in the sources of the data. The availability of the 1790 through 1930 census online has made it possible to verify much of the information and track Wardwell’s as they journeyed across the country. My current database has roughly 6,000 descendants of Samuel Wardwell. Please add yours to the list by contacting me. (You'll note the lines from female descendants are generally carried for one generation after their marriage.) Because Family Tree Maker limits the size of any one file to 2,000 individuals, it's necessary to divide the family into the descendants of his 3 surviving sons, Samuel, Eliakim and William. The first Genealogy Report for Hugh Wardale details Samuel's ancestry and some descendants for his daughters Mercy and Rebecca. After the returning of negative answers to several questions He said he was sensible he was in the snare of the devil, He used to be much discontented that he could get no more work done, and that he had been foolishly Led along with telling of fortunes, which sometimes came to pass, He used also when any creature came into his field to bid the devil take it, and it may be the devil took advantage of him by that Constable foster of Andover said that this wardwell told him once in the woods that when he was a young man he could make all his cattle come round about him when he pleased. The said wardwell being urged to tell o truth he proceeded thus, That being ones in a discontented frame he saw some cats together with the appearance of a man who called himself a prince of the airs & promised him he should live comfortably and be a captain and required said wardwell to honor him which he promised to doe, and it was about twenty years ago. He said the reason of his discontent then was because he was in love with a maid named Barker who slighted his love, And the first Appearance of the cat then was behind Capt bradstreets house, about a week after that A black man appeared in the day time at the same place and called himself prince and lord and told him the said wardwell he must worship and believe him, and promised as above, with this addition that he should never want for any thing but that the black man had never performed any thing, And further that when he would goes to prayer in his family the devil would begin to be angry He said also that at that time when the devil appeared & told him he was prince of the airs that then he singed his book by making a mark like a square with a black pen and that the devil brought him the pen and Ink He said further he Covenanted with the devil until he should arrive to the age of sixty years and that he is now about the age of 46 years. And at that time the devil promised on his part as is above experts, he said it was about a 4tnight ago since he began to afflict, and confesses that mary Lilly and Hannah Tayler of Ridding were of his company Further he said that martha Sprague was the first he afflicted, that the devil put him upon it and threatened him there unto And that he did it by pinching his coat & buttons when he was discontented, and gave the devil a commission so to doe, He says he was baptized by the black man at Shaw shin river alone and was dipt all over and believes he renounced his former baptismal. While Sarah Wardwell was in prison her children were disposed as of follows: 1) Mary age 20 accused of witchcraft but found not guilty married John Wright. 2) Samuel age 17 was placed with his uncle John Ballard. 3) William age 14 was placed out with Samuel Frye until age 21, to learn the trade of a weaver. 4) Eliakim age 9 was placed with Daniel Poor until age 21. 5) Elizabeth age 2 was placed with John Stevens until age 18. 6) Rebecca was an infant in arms during the mothers imprisonment
Rebecca Nurse
Rebecca (Towne) Nurse along with 18 others who were tried by an illegal court, was heinously murdered by hanging in Salem, Massachusetts. There has probably been more literature written about her than any other victim of the so called "Witch Hysteria". There were several reasons why she was targeted. First, her relationship to a prominent citizen of the town of Topsfield, Francis Nurse, her husband. The town of Topsfield had for some time been in dispute over land along the border of Salem Village; that is to say, the Putnam family estate. Second was her affiliation with the church in Salem Town. She was a member of the church in Salem Town and her husband was an outspoken leader of the anti-Parris committee. This was a committee who believed the reverend Parris was not hired properly and should be removed from the position of minister for the church of Salem Village. Again, the Putnam’s were the leaders of the pro Parris committee. Third, this may have been a test for the Putnam’s. If they could bring down such a highly respected, deeply religious, pious pillar of the community, then surely they'd have absolute freedom over those they'd bring charges against in the future. Rebecca was 70 years old when she was tried by the Court of Oyer and Terminer (Hear and Determine). The court was formed by Governor Phipps at the request of the Lieutenant Governor, William Stoughton. Stoughton was then assigned by Phipps to serve as Chief Magistrate. It should be noted that only the Judicial Branch of the Provincial Government can form a court as a part of governmental checks and balances. Clearly, Phipps was overstepping his own authority. Additionally, none of the magistrates of the Court of Oyer and Terminer had any legal training and relied heavily on their various religious backgrounds. Rebecca's two sisters were also accused for many of the same reasons. Several years earlier Rebecca's mother had been accused of witchcraft. She was, however, never tried. Local gossip during the trials suggested the profession was passed down from mother to daughters. The trial itself was a sham and a virtual mockery of the judicial system. The complaint was signed by Edward and Jonathan Putnam. The charge was for afflicting Ann Putnam Jr. and Abigail Williams. Ann Putnam, Sr. testified that the ghosts of Benjamin Houlton, Rebecca Houlton, John Fuller, and her sister Baker's children (6 of them) as well as her sister Bayley and her three children came to her at various times in their winding sheets and cried for justice of being murdered by Rebecca Nurse. John Putnam, Sr. and his wife Rebecca (Prince) Putnam actually refuted charges that their daughter Rebecca Shepard and their son-in-law John Fuller had been murdered by Rebecca Nurse. Sarah Nurse (Rebecca's daughter) testified she saw Goodwife Bibber (an afflicted woman in the trial) pull pins out of her clothes and hold them between her fingers, and clasp her hands around her knees, and then she cried out and said, "Goody Nurse pricked me." On June 2, 1692, two physical exams to search for witches marks were performed by midwives. On June 28, 1692, Rebecca petitioned the court for another physical exam citing one previous examiner to be of contradictory opinion from the others. At her trial, testimonials regarding her Christian behavior, care, and education of her children brought a verdict of not guilty. William Stoughton then politely asked the jury to again retire and reconsider their verdict. So much for not being tried twice for the same offense. On July 3, 1692, the Reverend Nicholas Noyes had Rebecca brought from her prison cell to the church. When she arrived, the Reverend excommunicated her before the congregation. How shattering would this be to such a deeply religious person as she was known to be? A petition was drawn up and signed on May 14, 1692 by most of the richest and most influential people such as Israel Porter (his name appears first), Daniel Andrews, even John Putnam, Sr. and his wife along with 35 other were cosigners of the petition. The petition was sent to Governor Phipps who responded with a temporary reprieve. The reprieve ran out and Rebecca, along with four other ladies, was hanged on July 19, 1692. She was buried in such a shallow grave on that rocky hill that some body parts remained exposed. Her family came in the dark of night, collected her remains, and reburied her on the family's property. John Greenleaf Whittier wrote the epitaph for her gravestone: Rebecca Nurse Yarmouth, England 1621 Salem, Mass. 1692 O Christian Martyr who for truth could die When all around thee owned the hideous lie! The world redeemed from Superstition's sway Is breathing freer for thy sake today
Mary Easty
Mary Easty was the daughter of William Towne, of Yarmouth, Norfolk County, New England, where she was baptized on August 24, 1634. Two of Easty's sisters, Rebecca Nurse, and Sarah Cloyse were also accused of Witchcraft during the Salem outbreak, although there is ample evidence that all three were innocent. At the time of her questioning, Easty was about 58 years old and was married to Isaac Easty, with whom she had had seven children. Isaac owned and lived upon a large valuable farm. Her examination followed the pattern of most in Salem: the girls had fits, and were speechless at times, and the magistrate expostulated with her for not confessing her guilt, which he deemed proven beyond doubt by the sufferings of the afflicted. "How far have you complied with Satan?" "Sir, I never complied with him but pray against him all my days. What would you have Easty do?" "Confess if you be guilty" "I will say it, if it was my last time, I am clear of this sin." During the exam, when Easty clasped her hands together, the hands of Mary Lewis, one of the afflicted were clenched and not released until Easty released her hands, and when she inclined her head, the afflicted girls cried out to have her straighten her neck, because as long as her head was inclined their necks were broken. Easty was committed to prison after her examination. For a reason not disclosed in any of the remaining records, Easty, after spending two months in prison, was discharged on the 18th of May. She and her family believed she would now be safe from further accusations. They were wrong. The release seems to have been very distasteful to the afflicted girls, they became determined to not let the matter rest, and redoubled their energies to get her back into prison. On the 20th, Mary Lewis spent the entire day experiencing fits of unprecedented severity, during which time she said she was being strangled, and claimed "they will kill Easty out right." Several of the other afflicted girls claimed that they could see the apparition of Easty afflicting her, and people came from all around to see the fits. That evening a second warrant was issued for Easty's arrest. At midnight, after experiencing two days of liberty and being reunited with her family, Easty was rousted from her sleep by the marshal, torn from her husband and children, and taken back to prison where she was loaded with chains. Once Easty was back in prisons with chains, Lewis's fits stopped. Easty was tried and condemned to death on September 9th. She was executed on September 22, despite an eloquent plea to the court to reconsider and not spill any more innocent blood. The court had long since ceased to pay any attention to anything that was said by the condemned. On the gallows she prayed for a end to the witch hunt. Easty's parting communications with her husband and children were said by those who were present to have been "as serious, religious, distinct, and affectionate as could be expressed, drawing tears from the eyes of almost all present." In November, after Easty had been put to death, Mary Herrick gave testimony about Easty. Herrick testified that she was visited by Easty who told her she had been put to death wrongfully and was innocent of witchcraft, and that she had come to vindicate her cause. Easty's family was compensated with 20 pounds from the government in 1711 for her wrongful execution. Mary Easty, a wife and a mother of seven, was well respected in Salem. She was a kind, religious woman whose dignified demeanor fit the strict Puritan mold. But even she was not safe from the hysteria. In April 1692, she was accused of witchcraft. The accusation shocked the village. Unlike some of the other alleged witches, she was not a social outcast or an outspoken woman who may have offended the villagers. Perhaps the accusation was inspired by envy—the Eastys owned a valuable farm in Salem—or maybe Mary was a likely target after the conviction of her sister, Rebecca Nurse. Mary was calm and respectful during her examination, but the afflicted girls’ cries were insistent, and she was sent to prison. She was set free a few days later, but Mercy Lewis cried out that Easty’s apparition was strangling her. Her fit was so severe, Mary was put back into jail. On September 9, Mary Easty was tried and condemned despite her plea: “I never complied, but prayed against [Satan] all my days … I will say it, if it was my last time, I am clear of this sin.” Before her execution, she wrote a letter to the judges asking that “no more innocent blood be shed.” Her letter raised sympathy and doubt in Salem Village, but could not prevent the last round of hangings. Easty and seven others were carted to Gallows Hill on September 22. John Calef described the scene in More Wonders of the Invisible World: Mary Easty, Sister also to Rebecka Nurse, when she took her last farewell of her Husband, Children and Friends, was, as is reported by them present, as Serious, Religious, Distinct, and Affectionate as could well be expressed, drawing Tears from the Eyes of almost all present. Sarah Cloyce
She stormed out of church services on Sacrament Sunday, most probably outraged by the meaning of the minister's message. A meaning that implied her sister, Rebecca Nurse, was a Devil. To stand up for a sister accused of witchcraft (during Puritan times) was enough to be named as a witch in and of itself, as Sarah Cloyce would find out in Salem Village in 1692. A few days before this particular Sunday in history, a well-known Reverend Lawson had visited Salem Village to assist with the witch crisis. It seems the teen girls of the village were now seeing more and more witches in their midst - the village was full of fear. Rev. Lawson's sermon supported the use of spectral evidence in the trials, feeling it was better to accuse the innocent than to allow a Devil to go free. The sermon was rushed into print with the endorsement of many of the most prominent ministers in that time and region. Then Salem's own minister, Reverend Parris, gave a similar sermon during Sacrament Sunday on April 3rd - Just after Sarah's sister, Rebecca Nurse, was accused of witchcraft. The service opened peacefully and the afflicted girls were present, as usual. The title of the sermon that day was "Christ knows how many Devils are in his church and who they are." The title would bring to mind Sarah's sister, as Rebecca was the first active church member accused of witchcraft in the community. A stunning event for just about everyone because Rebecca had been a model Puritan citizen during her ~70 year-long life. Reverend Parris went on to name a Biblical text about Judas that states, "I have chosen you twelve and one of you is the Devil." At this, Sarah stood up and left the church - some say she slammed the door and others say the door was slammed shut by the wind when she left so abruptly. What matters, however, is that she left the church in defiance just after the text was read. In such times, it is no wonder that Sarah became the next witch to be cried out upon by the young girls. In fact - this happened before the service concluded that day - they soon claimed to see her specter in communion with the Devil. "Oh Goodwife Cloyce, I did not think to see you here. Is it time to receive the sacrament? You ran away on the Lord's Day and scorned to receive it in the meeting house, and is this a time to receive it? I wonder at you!" stated one of the girls in testimony. Sarah was younger than her sisters, Rebecca Nurse and Mary Easty: She is only 48 in 1692. The Movie, Three Sovereigns for Sarah, depicts Sarah as the most rebellious of the three accused sisters. She had time to flee due to a delay in her arrest warrant. She chose to stay and to fight during the hearings, despite the urgings of male family members who told her she was only one woman and could not hope to win. She fought based on her own interpretation of the Bible and cause of the witch hunts. She could even recite the Lord's Prayer perfectly in court (something a witch could not do), only to have the girls fly into fits - saying they could see the Devil whispering the words into her ear on the witness stand. At this point in the trial, Cloyce nearly fainted. She asked for water, only to have the afflicted girls accuse her spirit of leaving the court (with the fainting) to visit her sister, Rebecca, in jail. After the trial, a Putnam family member (a close friend of Reverend Parris and active in the witch hunt hysteria) is said to have stated that is was no surprise about Rebecca and Sarah being witches - for their mother was an accused witch years before. Shortly after, Putman's eight week old baby died and Putman felt the cause of the death was that the child had been tortured by Nurse and Cloyce because of what he had said about them. His testimony about the death of his child is an example of spectral evidence and was an important part of the convictions against both sisters. Unlike her sisters Rebecca and Mary, Sarah lived. Her trial was, for some reason, delayed (perhaps because of over crowding of the jails during the witch craze) until after the trials had been stopped. Sarah was imprisoned for nearly a year - and during a time when accused witches immediately lost all their possessions and had to pay room and board to their jailors. One can only imagine what went through Sarah's mind during and after her imprisonment and the loss of her two sisters. One can only wonder if she struggled with survivor guilt, post traumatic stress disorder, or rage during her latter years on earth. According to some sources, she did everything she could to clear her sisters' names after the witch hunts came to an end. It seems likely that she fought the injustice she saw until her dying days - just as she had in church on April 3rd, 1692. Perhaps the words that the afflicted girls used against her (when she nearly fainted) were not so far from the truth - that her spirit was imprisoned along side her sister(s), even when she was physically absent from them.