Witches and Warlocks of Massachusetts: Legends, Victims, and Sinister Spellcasters

Witches and Warlocks of Massachusetts: Legends, Victims, and Sinister Spellcasters

by Peter Muise
Witches and Warlocks of Massachusetts: Legends, Victims, and Sinister Spellcasters

Witches and Warlocks of Massachusetts: Legends, Victims, and Sinister Spellcasters

by Peter Muise


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Witches and Warlocks of Massachusetts is a collection of legends and historical accounts about witches and warlocks from the Bay State. Organized by region, city and town, the book's dozens of stories include the earliest Puritan accounts of 17th century witches, urban legends about desolate locations haunted by ghostly witch hunt victims, tales of Cape Cod sailors battling witches, and other stories of sinister (and sometimes sympathetic) spellcasters.

Massachusetts has a rich history of witchcraft that spans nearly four centuries. Most people are aware of the Salem witch trials but fewer know about the Dogtown witches, the Pepperell farmer who hired a hypnotist to save his bewitched daughter, or Half-Hanged Mary, the witch who died twice and inspired The Handmaid's Tale. These stories are known locally in the towns where they occurred but have never been collected into one book before.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781493060245
Publisher: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, Inc.
Publication date: 09/01/2021
Pages: 216
Sales rank: 287,951
Product dimensions: 5.90(w) x 8.90(h) x 0.70(d)

About the Author

Peter Muise is a lifelong resident of New England and holds degrees in anthropology from Bates College and Brandeis University. He has blogged about local folklore since 2008 at newenglandfolklore.blogspot.com and is the author of Legends and Lore of the North Shore (2014). His writing has also appeared in 13 Most Haunted Crime Scenes Beyond Massachusetts (2016) and The Real Witches of New England (2018), among other places. He has appeared on Mysteries at the Museum, podcasts, and radio shows to talk about local legends and folklore.

Table of Contents

Introduction vii

1 Greater Boston 1

A Necromancer in the Harbor (Boston) 2

The First Witch Executed in Massachusetts (Boston) 4

Alice Lake (Boston) 6

Ann Hibbins, the Wealthiest Witch in Town (Boston) 7

Mary Hale and the Poisoned Sailor (Boston) 9

Goody Glover (Boston) 12

The Possession of Mercy Short (Boston) 14

Margaret Rule and the Devil (Boston) 15

Stranger Than Fiction: Lovecraft and the Witch (Boston) 18

Elizabeth Kendall and the Lying Nurse (Cambridge and Watertown) 20

Sued by a Witch (Cambridge) 21

Raising Hell at Harvard (Cambridge) 23

The Haunted Church (Cambridge) 24

Graveyard Grass (Chelsea) 27

Ephraim Gray, the Man Who Wouldn't Die (Maiden) 28

2 Cape Cod and the Islands 31

Was Patience Gershom the Devil's Herbalist? (Aquinnah) 32

Aunt Betsy (Aquinnah) 34

Liza Tower Hill (Barnstable) 36

Maria Hallett and the Pirate (Eastham and Wellfleet) 39

Raising Demons (Martha's Vineyard) 42

Sarah Screecham Falls in Love (Mashpee) 43

Crookjaw (Nantucket) 46

The Sweet Milk of Satan (Truro) 49

Never Steal a Witch's Doughnuts (Truro) 51

3 Essex County 53

Witches Woods (Beverly) 53

John Godfrey, the Wandering Warlock (Essex County) 56

Peg Wesson and the Crow (Gloucester) 58

The Dogtown Witches (Gloucester) 59

Colonel Buck's Curse (Haverhill) 63

Aunt Mose (Haverhill) 65

Hiding the Necronomicon (Haverhill) 67

Ann Burt: Healer or Witch? (Lynn) 69

Moll Pitcher Tells the Future (Lynn) 70

Wizard Dimond (Marblehead) 72

Witch House #1 (Nahant) 74

The Ghostly Twins (North Andover) 75

Elizabeth Morse (Newbury and Newburyport) 77

Witch Rock #1 (Peabody) 80

Witch House #2 (Rockport) 82

John Bradstreet's Magic Book (Rowley) 83

Taken to the Devil's Sabbath (Salisbury) 85

A Satanic Hog (Topsfield) 87

The Ghosts of Witch Hill (Topsfield) 88

4 Salem and Danvers 91

Trouble in the Parsonage 91

Tituba 96

Deals with the Devil 101

George Burroughs the Conjuror 109

A Summer of Hangings 113

The Fall of 1692 121

Blood to Drink 127

The Legend of Giles Corey 129

Moldy Grain? 132

A New Witch in Town: 1811 134

The Witchcraft Trial of 1878 135

Witch City 137

Witch House #3 141

5 The South Shore and Southeastern Massachusetts 143

Dr. Perry (Fall River) 143

The Freetown Forest Witch (Freetown) 144

Dinah Sylvester and the Bear (Marshfield) 147

Witch Bridge (Norton) 149

Kidnapped by Witches (Plymouth) 150

The Devilish Bee (Plymouth) 152

Aunt Rachel's Curse (Plymouth) 154

Witch Rock # 2 (Rochester) 155

6 Metrowest 157

The Witch Caves and Salem End Road (Ashland and Framingham) 157

The Hauntings on Dudley Road (Billerica) 158

Elizabeth Knapp Meets the Devil (Groton) 160

Three Bewitched Sisters (Littleton) 163

Witchcraft at Dinglehole (Millis) 166

7 Central and Western Massachusetts 169

A Liar and the Son of a Witch (Hadley) 169

Half-Hanged Mary (Hadley) 170

Mary Bliss Parsons: Slander and Witchcraft (Northampton) 173

The Cursed Village (Pepperell) 176

A Witch, a Horse, and Animal Magnetism (Pepperell) 180

James Fuller: The Witch Who Bragged (Springfield) 183

Hugh and Mary Parsons: From a Cursed Pudding to Murder (Springfield) 184

The Haunted Room (Springfield) 188

The Witch with Twenty Cats (Sutton) 189

The Cat Which Lost a Claw (Western Massachusetts) 191

Cheating the Devil (Western Massachusetts) 192

Further Reading 195

Acknowledgments 203

About the Author 205

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