Before Salem: Witch Hunting in the Connecticut River Valley, 1647-1663

Before Salem: Witch Hunting in the Connecticut River Valley, 1647-1663

by Richard S. Ross

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Overview

Before Salem: Witch Hunting in the Connecticut River Valley, 1647-1663 by Richard S. Ross

Decades before the Salem Witch trials, 11 people were hanged as witches in the Connecticut River Valley. The advent of witch hunting in New England was directly influenced by the English Civil War and the witch trials in England led by Matthew Hopkins, who pioneered “techniques” for examining witches.
This history examines the outbreak of witch hysteria in the Valley, focusing on accusations of demonic possession, apotropaic magic and the role of the clergy.
Although the hysteria was eventually quelled by a progressive magistrate unwilling to try witches, accounts of the trials later influenced contemporary writers during the Salem witch hunts. The source of the document “Grounds for Examination of a Witch” is identified.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781476666488
Publisher: McFarland & Company, Incorporated Publishers
Publication date: 07/04/2017
Pages: 344
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 8.90(h) x 1.10(d)

About the Author

Richard S. Ross III is a retired college librarian and professor emeritus from Trinity College. His scholarly interests include 19th and 20th century German history. He lives in Broad Brook (East Windsor), Connecticut.

Table of Contents

Table of Contents


Acknowledgments v

Preface 1

Introduction 5

 1. The English Civil War and the Revival of Witch Hunting in England 11

 2. The “old serpent” Disturbs the Peace of the New England Churches 35

 3. Settling Windsor in the New England Wilderness 46

 4. Conditions in Windsor Increase the Fear of Satan 66

 5. Old England and the Origins of Witchcraft in New England 80

 6. “The devil is amongst thee now” 102

 7. “Ah! Witch! Ah! Witch!” 128

 8. “The Devill will have you quick” 149

 9. A More Compassionate Magistracy 172

10. “A world of sin was doubtlessly committed” 194

11. “The Glory is departed, & Evill come upon the people of God” 210

12. Demonic Possession and the Witch Hysteria in Hartford 231

13. “They seeke my inocent blood” 265

Appendix: Grounds for Examination of a Witch 277

Chapter Notes 287

Bibliography 313

Index 325

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