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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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“The More Women, the More Witches”

“The More Women, the More Witches”

Gender and Witchcraft

(p.92) Chapter 4 “The More Women, the More Witches”
Detestable and Wicked Arts

Paul B. Moyer

Cornell University Press

This chapter details how witch fears intersected with gender constructs. It refers to John Bradstreet, who came before a Massachusetts court in 1652 on suspicion of having familiarity with the Devil after stating that he had consulted a book of magic in order to invoke a demonic spirit. It also talks about Margaret and Thomas Jones who stood accused of occult crime in 1648, but only Margaret was hanged for it. The chapter illustrates how the treatment of witch suspects in the Puritan colonies often varied according to sex, and women bore a greater risk of accusation, trial, and execution. It elaborates how female suspects outnumbered male ones by more than two to one, emphasizing that of the fifteen people sent to the gallows for witchcraft, thirteen were women.

Keywords:   witch fears, John Bradstreet, demonic spirit, Puritan colonies, occult crime, witchcraft, gender constructs

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