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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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“A Forward, Discontented Frame of Spirit”

“A Forward, Discontented Frame of Spirit”

The New England Witch

(p.65) Chapter 3 “A Forward, Discontented Frame of Spirit”
Detestable and Wicked Arts

Paul B. Moyer

Cornell University Press

This chapter outlines the traits that characterized the accused and explores why New Englanders associated them with occult crime. It talks about Mary Parsons (née Lewis) and Mary Parsons (née Bliss), who coincidentally had the same name and were accused as witch suspects, who came to the attention of New England authorities in the 1650s. It also stresses the lack of theological or legal stipulations limiting who could be accused of witchcraft, in which people in New England and across the English Atlantic did not equally share the risk of denunciation. The chapter investigates why certain individuals were more vulnerable to suspicion and, once accused, more apt to suffer arrest, trial, and conviction of witchcraft. It refers to Reverend John Davenport's sermon in 1965, which stated that a person with a forward-discontented frame of spirit was a subject fit for the Devil.

Keywords:   occult crime, Mary Parsons, witch suspects, witchcraft, New England, English Atlantic

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