By Owen Davies
The USA Bewitched is the 1st significant historical past of witchcraft in the USA - from the Salem witch trials of 1692 to the current day.
The notorious Salem trials are etched into the recognition of recent the US, the human toll a reminder of the risks of intolerance and persecution. The chorus 'Remember Salem!' used to be invoked usually over the consequent centuries. As time handed, the rigors turned a milepost measuring the space the US had stepped forward from its colonial earlier, its sufferers now the righteous and their persecutors the shamed. but the tale of witchcraft didn't finish because the American Enlightenment dawned - a new,
long, and chilling bankruptcy was once approximately to begin.
Witchcraft after Salem used to be not only a narrative of fire-side stories, legends, and superstitions: it persisted to be a question of lifestyles and dying, souring the yankee dream for plenty of. we all know of extra humans killed as witches among 1692 and the Fifties than have been finished sooner than it. Witches have been a part of the tale of the decimation of the local americans, the adventure of slavery and emancipation, and the immigrant event; they have been embedded within the spiritual and social historical past of the rustic. Yet
the historical past of yankee witchcraft among the eighteenth and the 20 th century additionally tells a much less stressful tale, one who exhibits how diverse cultures interacted and formed each one other's languages and beliefs.
This is accordingly even more than the story of 1 persecuted neighborhood: it opens a desirable window at the fears, prejudices, hopes, and goals of the yankee humans as their nation rose from colony to superpower.
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Additional resources for America Bewitched: The Story of Witchcraft After Salem
18 The town was abandoned a few years later during the Revolutionary War. 19 The same Bible that had underpinned the Salem trials was now seen as the ultimate weapon for vanquishing the witchcraft of benighted others. The hypocrisy was all too apparent to some. In 1821 newspapers reported a speech made by the Iroquois chief and Seneca orator Red Jacket at the trial instigated by New York State of a Seneca man, Tommy Jemmy, for killing a supposed witch: What! Do you denounce us as fools and bigots, because we still continue to believe that which you, yourselves, sedulously inculcated two centuries ago?
She went on to tell of a Scots woman that boarded with them who they believed was the witch responsible. ’ asked Mrs May. The reporter confided to his readers that his experience had been ‘confined principally to witches of the ham sand kind’. The discussion then took a darker tone when Mrs May asked him: I think a witch is worse than a murderer that kills a person: don’t you? For a murderer only just kills you all at once, and it’s over, but a witch kills you by inches. I think witches ought to be killed.
Thaddeus Norris, writing on ‘Negro Superstitions’ in 1870, stated that association with the white man ‘humanized’ their ‘superstitions’. But too much contact could also be detrimental to the white man; African ‘superstition’ could be contagious. 27 In 1879 the Indianapolis Sentinel reported the case of William Padgett of Meade County, Kentucky, who murdered his wife under the delusion that she had bewitched him. The paper described Padgett as ‘an ignorant, unsophisticated Kentuckian, who was raised among the Negroes in the old slave times, and partook of their superstitions and wild vagaries.