May 15 (May 5, o.s.)

Massachusetts: Ann Putnam, the afflicted girl of Salem who first claimed to see the apparition of George Burroughs on April 20, sees the specter of the clergyman, now held in custody at Thomas Beadle’s tavern in Salem Town, again.  She says he tortures her grievously to try to get her to sign his book, which she refuses to do, then tells her that his first two wives would appear to her soon and tell her lies that she should not believe.  And, indeed, the apparitions of two women in winding sheets immediately appear and tell Burroughs’s specter that he “had been a cruel man to them, and that their blood did cry for vengeance against him” in Ann’s account.  They further predict that he will be “cast into hell,” at which point his specter disappears, leaving Ann alone with the two women.  They tell her that Burroughs killed both of them, the first in Salem Village while Burroughs was minister there, the second as she was returning to Salem Village from Maine via ship.  They further tell her that she should tell the magistrates what they have told her when Burroughs appears for his examination on May 9, and that they may reappear then if Burroughs does not admit his guilt for their deaths.

Meanwhile, Elizar Keyser, a resident of Salem, meets Captain Daniel King, a frontier militia leader who knew Burroughs in Maine.  King insists that Burroughs is innocent and a “child of God,” and that Keyser should go to Beadle’s tavern to speak to him.  Keyser is reluctant to go, first claiming that he doesn’t feel comfortable speaking to such a learned man as Burroughs, then admitting that he actually suspects Burroughs of being the ringleader of the witches, in which case the Devil has surely already told him that Keyser has been telling people that he is.  King is insistent, however, and eventually convinces Keyser to go.  When he gets to Beadle’s and meets with Burroughs, the minister fixes him with a piercing, steadfast glare.

Later, at night, Keyser notices some “very strange things” appearing in his chimney, which seem to “quaver with a strange motion.”  He then sees a light about the size of his head, which quivers and shakes, and which his maidservant also sees.  He becomes convinced that these strange happenings are Burroughs’s doing in revenge for the rumors he has been spreading about him.

Published in: on May 15, 2008 at 12:00 am  Comments Off on May 15 (May 5, o.s.)  
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