July 12 (July 2, o.s.)

Massachusetts: The Court of Oyer and Terminer convenes in Salem for the trial of Sarah Wilds of Topsfield, who was indicted by the grand jury on June 30.  Wilds has long been suspected of witchcraft, and her trial proceeds as is by now usual.  It begins with spectral evidence presented by Mary Walcott, one of the afflicted girls.  Ann Putnam, another of the girls, testified before the grand jury but is not called now because some of the girls’ adult relatives, who usually testify to corroborate their accounts, are concerned about the reliability of her story that Wilds began tormenting her as early as March (for which there is no support in their detailed notes on the girls’ fits).  Thomas Putnam, Ann’s father, has only gone so far as to say that he “often” heard the girls cry out that Wilds was afflicting them without attaching a specific date to the events.

Most of the evidence against Wilds, however, takes the form of testimony from neighbors and acquaintances of hers telling stories of her suspicious behavior over the years, and this is the main factor that convinces the jury to find her guilty.

After Wilds’s trial is complete, the grand jury hears evidence against Dorcas Hoar of Beverly, who was first accused on April 30 and examined on May 2.  The jury find the evidence convincing and issues indictments against Hoar.  The court then adjourns, ending its second session.

After the adjournment the Salem magistrates, who are among the judges, go to Thomas Beadle’s tavern in Salem Town to question two witchcraft suspects.  The first is Mrs. Mary Bradbury of Salisbury, who was initially accused on May 26 but has only recently been brought in to face the charges.  Her examination is typical, with the afflicted girls crying out upon her arrival and throughout the questioning.  She maintains her innocence, but the magistrates are more inclined to believe the girls and order her sent to jail.

The next suspect to be questioned is Ann Pudeator of Salem Town.  The magistrates begin by asking her about the claim by the confessed witch Sarah Churchwell in her confession on June 1 that Pudeator had brought her the Devil’s book to sign.  Pudeator denies having ever even seen Churchwell before, and the magistrates move on to another accusation, by one Lieutenant Jeremiah Neal, who claims that Pudeator used to often threaten his wife, eventually killing her.  Although Pudeator insists that she is innocent, the afflicted girls continually cry out and have fits.  Mary Warren, the former afflicted girl who has since confessed to witchcraft, has a fit that ends abruptly when Pudeator, at the urging of the magistrates, takes her wrist.  Mary Walcott, another of the afflicted girls, then cries out that she has recently seen Pudeator’s specter with that of Rebecca Nurse, who was convicted of witchcraft on June 29.  This is enough for the magistrates to send Pudeator to jail along with Bradbury.

Published in: on July 12, 2008 at 12:00 am  Comments (4)  


  1. Witchcraft is still practiced in my family

  2. […] grand jury hears evidence against Mrs. Mary Bradbury of Salisbury, who was initially examined on July 2.  The evidence consists of both accounts of spectral torments and the statements of confessors, […]

  3. […] order of business is the trial of Dorcas Hoar of Beverly, who was indicted by the grand jury on July 2.  The trial follows the usual pattern, with testimony from the afflicted persons first, followed […]

  4. […] – bookmarked by 2 members originally found by uberwald on 2008-12-14 July 12 (July 2, os) https://america1692.wordpress.com/2008/07/12/july-12-july-2-os/ – bookmarked by 4 members […]

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