Escaping Salem The Other Witch Hunt of 1692

ISBN-10: 0195161300
ISBN-13: 9780195161304
Edition: 2004
Authors: Richard Godbeer
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Description: The Salem witch hunt of 1692 is among the most infamous events in early American history; however, it was not the only such episode to occur in New England that year. Escaping Salem reconstructs the "other witch hunt" of 1692 that took place in  More...

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Book details

List price: $19.95
Copyright year: 2004
Publisher: Oxford University Press, Incorporated
Publication date: 1/6/2005
Binding: Paperback
Pages: 192
Size: 4.50" wide x 6.50" long x 0.25" tall
Weight: 0.660
Language: English

The Salem witch hunt of 1692 is among the most infamous events in early American history; however, it was not the only such episode to occur in New England that year. Escaping Salem reconstructs the "other witch hunt" of 1692 that took place in Stamford, Connecticut. Concise and accessible, the book takes students on a revealing journey into the mental world of early America, shattering the stereotype of early New Englanders as quick to accuse and condemn. Drawing on eyewitness testimony, Richard Godbeer tells the story of Kate Branch, a seventeen-year-old afflicted by strange visions and given to blood-chilling wails of pain and fright. Branch accused several women of bewitching her, two of whom were put on trial for witchcraft. Escaping Salem takes us inside the Connecticut courtroom and into the minds of the surprisingly skeptical Stamford townspeople. Was the pain and screaming due to natural or supernatural causes? Was Branch simply faking the symptoms? And if she was indeed bewitched, why believe her specific accusations, since her information came from demons who might well be lying? For the judges, Godbeer shows, the trial was a legal thicket. All agreed that witches posed a real and serious threat, but proving witchcraft (an invisible crime) in court was another matter. The court in Salem had become mired in controversy over its use of dubious evidence. In an intriguing chapter, Godbeer examines Magistrate Jonathan Selleck's notes on how to determine the guilt of someone accused of witchcraft, providing an illuminating look at what constituted proof of witchcraft at the time. The stakes were high--if found guilty, the two accused women would be hanged. In the afterword, Godbeer explains how he used the trial evidence to build his narrative, offering an inside perspective on the historian's craft. Featuring maps, photos, and a selected bibliography, Escaping Salem is ideal for use in undergraduate U.S. survey courses. It can also be used for courses in colonial American history, culture, and religion; witchcraft in the early modern world; and crime and society in early America.

RICHARD GODBEER(Ph.D., Brandeis University) is professor of history at the University of Miami. Godbeer's research and teaching interests center on colonial and revolutionary America, with an emphasis on religious culture, gender studies, and the history of sexuality. His first book,The Devil's Dominion: Magic and Religion in Early New England(1992) won the American Historical Association Pacific Coast Branch Award for the Best First Book. He is also the author ofSexual Revolution in Early America(2002),Escaping Salem: The Other Witch Hunt of 1692(2004), andThe Overflowing of Friendship: Love Between Men and the Creation of the American Republic(2009).

Foreword
Acknowledgments
Prologue: "a Witch! a Witch!"
Katherine Branch's Fits
Who is It That Torments Her?
"by the Law of God and the Law of the Colony Thou Deservest to Die"
Angry Speeches and Strange Afflictions
Weighing the Evidence
"persisting in a Non-Agreement"
Afterword
Notes
Select Bibliography

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