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Detestable and Wicked ArtsNew England and Witchcraft in the Early Modern Atlantic World$
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Paul B. Moyer

Print publication date: 2020

Print ISBN-13: 9781501751059

Published to Cornell Scholarship Online: May 2021

DOI: 10.7591/cornell/9781501751059.001.0001

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“Being Instigated by the Devil”

“Being Instigated by the Devil”

The Crime of Witchcraft

(p.36) Chapter 2 “Being Instigated by the Devil”
Detestable and Wicked Arts

Paul B. Moyer

Cornell University Press

This chapter discusses the identification of occult mischief as a crime by exploring what is witchcraft and the various ways New Englanders envisioned it. It cites Elizabeth Garlick, who travelled from her home in Easthampton, Long Island to stand trial in Hartford for witchcraft. It also mentions that John Godfrey was prosecuted for occult crime in Massachusetts in March 1666, but he eventually went free. The chapter uses the stories of Elizabeth Garlick and John Godfrey to illustrate New Englanders' understandings of witchcraft, viewing it as a crime rooted in English law and culture. It describes witchcraft as maleficium, a Latin term referring to injury or harm committed through magical means, which dominated the views of ordinary folk who tended to be most concerned with the immediate threat that witches posed to their lives and livelihood.

Keywords:   witchcraft, Elizabeth Garlick, John Godfrey, occult crime, maleficium, occult mischief

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