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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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“According to God’s Law”

“According to God’s Law”

Witch-Hunting as a Judicial Process

Chapter:
(p.171) Chapter 7 “According to God’s Law”
Source:
Detestable and Wicked Arts
Author(s):

Paul B. Moyer

Publisher:
Cornell University Press
DOI:10.7591/cornell/9781501751059.003.0008

This chapter explains why some witch suspects went free while others went to the gallows, by dissecting the terminal phase of many witchcraft cases. It reviews the judicial process that transformed informal suspicions against the accused into formal, criminal prosecutions. It also mentions Elizabeth Seager, who was set free after being acquitted of occult crimes three times. The chapter elaborates how Seager's experience is considered a reminder that court proceedings were a critical component of witch-hunting. It reviews Seager's odyssey through the legal system that involved the arrest warrants, indictments, and trials familiar to any criminal prosecution and notes it as one of the longest and most complex judicial process among most witch suspects.

Keywords:   witchcraft, witch suspects, Elizabeth Seager, occult crimes, witch-hunting, judicial process

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