September 18 (September 8, o.s.)

Massachusetts: The Court of Oyer and Terminer meets in Salem Town for the trial of Martha Corey, who was initially accused of witchcraft way back in March, questioned on March 21, and indicted on August 4.  In addition to the usual spectral evidence given by the afflicted girls and the damning accounts of confessors, many of whom named Corey specifically in their confessions, the prosecution’s case involves the testimony of Ezeckiel Cheever and Edward Putnam about their encounter with Corey on March 12.  Unusually, there are no accounts of previous misdeeds or suspicious encounters with Corey, indicative of her good reputation within Salem Village before the witchcraft crisis.  Nonetheless, the jury is convinced by the testimony against her, and she is convicted.

After the court adjourns without hearing any more cases, the Andover women brought to Salem the previous day after being subjected to a surprise touch test are questioned by the Salem magistrates, who apply tremendous pressure to get them to confess.  Unsurprisingly given the circumstances, most of them do.  They admit to anything and everything suggested by the judges, which results in confessions that align closely with previous ones and support many of the contentions of the judges that have come under increasing scrutiny, particularly the idea that the Devil cannot afflict in the image of an innocent person.

New Mexico: Juan Ruiz de Cáceres and his brother-in-law Miguel Luján, the two soldiers whom Governor Vargas gave permission to leave with Luis Picurí on September 16 to visit relatives at San Juan Pueblo, return to Vargas’s campsite. They relate that at every pueblo they passed on the way to San Juan the people had abandoned their houses and fields and retreated to the mesas, but that when Picurí ordered them to come down they did, and that when Picurí told them what Vargas had said to him they were happy. They also relay a message from Picurí saying that he and his men will arrive in Santa Fe the next day to prepare for any necessary joint military action.

Published in: on September 18, 2008 at 12:00 am  Comments Off on September 18 (September 8, o.s.)  
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