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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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“Very Awful and Amazing”

“Very Awful and Amazing”

Witch Panics and the Bewitched

Chapter:
(p.143) Chapter 6 “Very Awful and Amazing”
Source:
Detestable and Wicked Arts
Author(s):

Paul B. Moyer

Publisher:
Cornell University Press
DOI:10.7591/cornell/9781501751059.003.0007

This chapter brings into focus witch panics that stood apart in terms of their scale and intensity from more ordinary instances of occult crime. It sheds light on a variety of accusers who often helped trigger episodes of witch panics. It also analyses supposedly bewitched individuals whose distinct social profile and startling symptoms of supernatural affliction distinguished them from other victims of black magic. The chapter talks about Elizabeth Kelly who died in 1662 at the age of eight after being pinched, pricked, and choked by an assailant only she could see and who she identified as a near neighbor, Judith Ayers. It emphasizes how Elizabeth Kelly's death helped trigger an epidemic of fear and suspicion that led to the largest witch hunt in New England before the Salem crisis of 1692.

Keywords:   witch panics, occult crime, supernatural affliction, black magic, witch hunt, New England

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