Witchcraft In the Past What can we learn from ancient sources as to our beliefs today

This is the beginning of a journey in "witch" documents will be read and discussed to try and determine why we believe as we do in regards to witchcraft and the practice of magic. Can we determine a set of events that are typical when people are accused? Has good and evil always played a role in witchcraft? The term witchcraft has a negative ring to it and is that fair? So as we take this journey of reviewing documents lets see if we can put ourselves in the shoes of those involved always remembering the who? what? where?why? in order to seek truth in a snapshot in time.

xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx1-27-2017.......My thoughts on Apuleius: The power of witches. We see a young man is attending Olympian games in Miletus and is confronted and hired to watch over a corpse and must stay awake in order to keep witches from doing evil to said corpse. Things such as witches gnawing on the dead and using these bits of flesh in there concoctions was thought to have occurred at night before the burial of a corpse. The family would then hire someone to stay up all night with the body. This is written in (c.115-200ce.) What grabbed my attention about this story is this. The superstition of staying up with the dead continued with American Folklore into modern day. Example: My mother told me of her grandmother passing away and her body being displayed in their parlor in the 1940's. Someone would have to stay up with the body at night in order to keep rodents from gnawing at the corpse. This sounds the same as the witch of Apuleius story but with a modern day explanation. Story of Apuleius from: Levack Brian P. The Witchcraft Sourcebook (p.16-21). Herbal Tip for the week: Bad breath chew some parsley.-Mother Earth News (Oct/Nov, 2010)


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More from Brian Levack's book The Witchcraft Sourcebook.

St. Augustine: Demonic Power in Early Christianity (pg 27-29) St, Augustine was the Bishop of Hippo in northern Africa and Levack writes he fathered Christianity in this region. The church afforded him great power and he was recognized as a writer of christian beliefs that many Protestant as well as Catholics adhered to. This has always bothered me when writers lay Christianity at the feet of a man Like St. Augustine or any organized religion. People read your Bible! Yes! That includes the Old Testament. The Old Testament for tells the coming of Christ. The New Testament talks of Christ short life and teachings. No where in the Hebrew or Greek transcripts does the Church exist as we know organized religion today. The very idea of the Catholic Church being the mother church is a blatant fabrication. Think people where does Catholic Church foundation come from. The Roman Empire! The first Pope was a Roman Emperor. The Romans an Jewish religious leaders are the ones who crucified Christ. I believe leaving out these details is part of our PC world and damages the credibility of Christianity. Another is that all Protestant religions came out of the Catholic church. I don't claim to be the greatest scholar an you don't have to accept my views but you do owe yourself to pursue truth based on true facts. I only make these points to challenge you to not accept the PC accounts written in today's world. Ok! Why do I harp on this point. Doctrines of people and Church's often are dangerous and lead to mass hysteria. The following Doctrine taught by St. Augustine directly or indirectly caused the persecution of a group of people because they didn't accept his teachings. These people were Pagans in the view of the so call Church.

So what were some of these doctrines: From Saint Augustine (The City of God), trans M. Dods (New York, 1950), pp. 312-16.

St. Augustine


Chapter 9. Prohibits the worship of other gods. "Moreover , they wrought by simple faith and godly confidence, not by incantations and charms composed under the influence of a criminal tampering with the unseen world"

Chapter 10. Talks about Satan deceiving the wretched souls of people by "Satan transforming himself into a angel of light" and that this deception causes many people to believe in false gods and turn away from true worship of the true God.

Chapter 11. The difference of Demons. St. Augustine describes demons as foolish and attracted to vapors. The have the ability to open closed doors and things. St. Augustine describes demons as a race of deceitful forms that make wickedness. Lastly, " We should sympathize with this great philosopher in the difficulty he experienced in acquainting himself with and confidently assailing the whole fraternity of devils, which any Christian old women would unhesitatingly describe and most unreservedly detest...."

As we see with the above quotes that St. Augustine couldn't even describe what he or others were dealing with. A very large disclaimer wouldn't we all say.

So again we see people labeled as pagan, anti-god, practicing devil magic using herbs. Which brings up the topic of herbs. I gave a herbal tip in an earlier blog without explanation to why. I did this to point out the simple fact that herbs have been used for centuries for healing purposes and are still used today for healing and the soothing of ailments. So here is my herbal tip.

Herbal Tip: Aloe Vera for burns. Most of us have heard this our whole lives. Yet recently I've talked to young people who have never heard of this. Simply, take a Aloe Vera Leaf break it in half and squeeze the aloe salve from leaf and apply to burn. Mother/Earth News (October/November 2010).


People don't believe every blog, tweet, or any other kind of social media without facts. We just came through a awful election period which both sides used misinformation to sway people to vote in a way that was unhealthy for this country.

The witch trials of the past were not so different. Division and accusations was used to persecute groups of people. Whether you are Democrat, Republican, or Independent be truly informed. Don't be guilty of being part of your own witch-hunt.

Question everything someone writes and be slow to anger! Including my writings. I always accept criticism if you can show me a new path of enlightenment. May the Great Spirit! always show us the way. Yes! I'm part Native American from the Lumbee Tribe from N. Carolina.

If you have read this far I provoked you to think!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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A little housekeeping!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! People! People! People! Think outside the box. Anyone can replay information and copy photos. My intentions are to provoke free thought and provide a twist on the facts. No! not make them up but try and make you realize there are many different perspectives. If I provoke you to dig deep and think harder about a topic I've done what I set out to accomplish.


Once again the Herbal Tip at the end is to remind you that natural medicine has been around since the beginning of mankind. Cunningfolk used it and so called witches too. Natural medicine is a lost skill and has great value even today if you have the knowledge of such things.

More from the Witchcraft Sourcebook by Brian P. Leveck. pg 117-171.

The trial and punishment of witches in the 15th, 16th, and 17th centuries were described in these sources and give accounts of the activities of these trials.

The very act of identifying a witch was a difficult task by the written court records and dialogue. The courts didn't have authority to prosecute a witch until the church gave it to local magistrates. Prior to this authority being given to local courts the power to convict and punish witches was solely the job of Bishops and church leaders. There was a constant power struggle as to whose authority to listen too. The local magistrate or church.

How can you prosecute someone if the crime in question happened at night with no witnesses. Well you create laws that fit the circumstances or people you wish to put on trial. Call it church heresy and you can get the church to do your dirty work.

Let's look at a couple examples of trial procedure and punishments.


Levack pg. 119-122.

Pope Innocent VIII issues a edict called summis desiderantes. This edict gives authority to two inquisitors to hold courts. The first was Heinrich Kramer and the second was Jacob Sprenger. They will hold the jurisdictional authority to prosecute witches directly from Pope innocent VIII that causes some discourse among local Bishops.

Quickly, these two inquisitors will see resistance and will need cooperation from secular courts in order to be successful in prosecutions. The church feels witchcraft impedes its advance into new regions and for the church to be successful it must aggressively stamp out the practice.

Witchcraft Sourcebook, Brian P. Levack. pg. 123-127.

Heirich Kramer: The Torture of Accused Witches, 1486.

Remember that Kramer is the author of Maleus maleficarum. This book of laws in modern terms is the witch trial law manuel or how to book. In this book of laws Kramer allows just about anything. If you need it to apply to the prosecution of a witch use this book.

Malleus maleficarum allows torture to obtain a confession. All sorts of witnesses can be used enemies, children of all ages, etc. The following are sourcebook examples of torture and how it can be applied.

Must have confession to get a conviction. But guess what? It's OK to torture your accused to get that conviction. Types of torture performed.


The Swimming Test: Accused witches were dragged to the nearest body of water, stripped to their underwear, bound by their hands and feet and tossed into the water to sink or float. Since witches spurned the sacrament of baptism, it was thought that the water would prevent them from sinking or reject them. Only, a innocent person would sink to the bottom, but a witch would float.

Prayer Test: This test was done because it was thought that witches couldn't recite holy scriptures. Usually the LORDS PRAYER was the scripture of choice. You had to recite without mistakes or any omission of text. Although, this simply showed a person was possibly illiterate or didn't know scripture.

Touch Test: The touch test worked like this. The victims would have a special reaction to being touched by the accused witch. So the accuser would have a motive to react like the trial magistrates wished them to in order to get a conviction.


Witch Marks: The accused were often stripped of their clothes and examined for signs of a blemish that witches were said to have place on them. Such things as a common skin tag could be said to be a "Witches Tit" used to suckle the witches animals.


More severe torture: Things such as burning with fire and the rack or stretching the limbs of the accused are more commonly known. These were the final stages before most admitted to witchcraft.

So we see that most people who were accused were destined to be tortured and executed in the end. Such acts all sanctioned by the church.


Church sanctions or edicts gave the power to enforce and execute trials and punishment. Without church sponsored witch hunts and trials I believe there couldn't and wouldn't have been so many executions.


A very sad history for people accused of being a witch.


Herbal Tip: Menstrual cramps raspberries or raspberry tea.


COMING SOON MORE HERBAL TIPS AND A HISTORY OF HERBAL MEDICINE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!



Male roles in witchcraft were often overlooked in the historical records. The Witchcraft source Book by Brian P. Levack contains two witch trials that I wish to examine. The first is "The Confession of Niclas Fiedler". The second is "The Confession of Johannes Junius at Bramburg".

In the late sixteenth century brutal and severe witch hunts occurred in German territories. They were held by the German electorate of Trier

The German electorate of Trier were appointed by the Holy Roman Emperor.


The rise of accusations and the fervor of this new electorate to get accused witches to name other people as accomplices increased the numbers of trials and most likely caused a increase in accused men.

Niclas Fiedler a former mayor of the city of Trier was accused of witchcraft even though he was a once prominent political figure. The use of torture will play a critical role in Fiedler's trial.



On a late afternoon in October of 1591 a man named Niclas Fiedler was brought into a courtroom accused of witchcraft.

No sooner had he been brought into the court room his confession is read to the court. Fiedler confesses wrong doing and admits he is guilty as charged. Fiedler admits he has wronged his fellow man. No! No! No! This is not what he admits to. The paper they read says so, but Fiedler begins to recant.

Fiedler actually tells the court if it was not for torture. The confession they have on paper would not exist. Fiedler persist that he is not guilty of the charges of witchcraft even though the court warns Fiedler on numerous occassion to stop saying he is not guilty.

Since Fiedler will not stop. The court orders his removal to the gallows to be hung by the neck. He is hoisted by the neck in the air by the hangmen. The rope that Fiedler is hanging by is hit with a stick until he submits.


Fiedler was hung and beat in the above manner for a half hour until he submits to the torture and begins to confess his sin of witchcraft.

Fiedler's confession includes the following as it is written in the: (The Witchcraft Source Book by Brian P. Levack.)

Niclas Fiedler starts by saying the witchcraft all started twelve years ago when his wife was sick. Fiedler admits sadness and depression from his wife's long illness.

At this point he admits consorting with the devil on the Devils sabbath and that the evil devil tricks him into denouncing Christ etc. etc.

The devil comes to him again and again tricking him to worship and vow allegiance. Fiedler is delusional most likely by this time. Making claims of flying off on a billy-goat with the devil to a mountain top over looking Trier.


The whole time the mayor of the town is listening to Fiedler confessing his pact with the devil. Remember Fiedler was hanging by the neck choking and beaten with a stick. The pain was horrible I'm sure.


The mayor knowing that this confession is worthless stops the torture. The mayor does however begin to instruct Fiedler on what to say and how to say it.

This will continue until Fiedler states the right confession the court wants to hear. Men and women are named as willing particapants with the devil by Fiedler just as Keston the mayor tells him to.

Niclas Fiedler will be executed for the crime of witchcraft.The pain and torture was the reason for his confession. Nothing more was written as to the fates of the other people named by Fiedler but most likely they would have been accused of witchcraft and put on trial also.

The second trial of a man I wish to mention is that of Johannes Junius at Bramberg. This source is also from (The Witchcraft Sourcebook) By Brian P. Levack.


In the German city of Bramberg some of the worst witch trials happened between 1626 and 1630. There are estimates as many as 630 people are accused of witchcraft. No exact number of executions are mentioned but we could assume that there were many since Germany has a ruthless reputation with witches and their persecution.


The trial and execution of Johannes Junius was one of those trials. What makes it unique is that it is a prominent citizen and that it is a man. The males put on trial for witchcraft numbered somewhere around twenty-five percent of the witches put on trial.


Again! We see with the Bramberg trials that torture is widespread and the use of it to obtain confessions and the names of others to accuse of witchcraft was a common practice and possibly used more often than other areas of Europe.


We see with the use of torture more prominent people are named as witches. The stereotype of the old widow women as a witch has evolved into a new creature that includes the wealthy. Johannes Junius was one of those unlucky accused.

The following is Junius acount from The Witchcraft Sourcebook by Brian P. Levack.


In June, 1628 Johannes Junius is brought before the court accused of practicing witchcraft. Junius is fifty-five years old and has never ever been accused of such wrong doing.

Junius enters his plea to the court. He pleads his innocence. Junius tells the court that he has never renounced God and boldly proclaims for the court to find one person that has seen him perform witchcraft or has seen him at a witch gathering.


The court presents two witnesses. The first was Dr. Haan who states he saw Junious at a gathering of witches a year and a half before. The second witness Hoffens Elsse saw Junius at a witch dance. Junius was given a chance to recant his plea of being innocent. Junius does not.


A couple of days later Junius is given another chance to recant and again he doesn't recant his original plea. The court orders the torture to begin.


Thumb screws are applied to Junius. Doesn't recant.

Leg screws are applied to Junius. Doesn't recant.

The torture is increased to the Strappado. Junius still doesn't recant and claims to know nothing of witchcraft.

The start of the torture began on June 30 and continued thru July 5 before Junius recanted his testimony. And admitted to witchcraft.

With the torture and exhortations Junuis finally confesses to the court. Junius admitted to being involved in witchcraft. Junius described a women or grass-maid who he submitted to and that she was a witch.


This women who he described as a witch transformed his spirit. Junius claimed she grabbed him by the throat and forced him to denounce God. From that moment Junius claimed to worship the Devil and recognized him as his new God. Junius admits to other things like breaking sacraments etc. all of which are forced and guided by his inquisitors. Junius fate is sealed and he is now destined to be executed for witchcraft.

The source continues with how Junius is forced to go to and fro in the town pointing out other possible witches. On one street he states he knows no one but is forced to name eight people as witches by his inquisitors.


The source ends with the description of Johannes Junius writing to his children begging for forgiveness. Not for being a witch but for not enduring the torture that caused him to name innocent people as witches.

Johannes Junius pleads for his children to keep his letter, a secret or he will receive more torture before his execution. Junius states his accusers were forced to say the things they said about him, just as he was forced to admit to witchcraft. Johannes Junius was executed sometime after he wrote this letter on July 24 almost a month after the start of his trial and torture.





Modern witch / herbalist

Were witches really witches or just Herbalists and Healers.

There were thousands of witches killed between 1500 and 1700. What often happened was a lot of those accused were often midwives or involved in herbal medicine. We didn't have a witch licensing board to control their medical practice. So the quality of care was questionable. So most were accused of witchcraft out of revenge, jealousy or possibly witch malpractice.

midwife 1500s

Many accused witches involved were into herbal healing and their lack of success to solve the persons problem or failure to solve a lovers problem as in Love Magic often led to accusations. Was this an early form of Medical Malpractice. Maybe!

Love Potions

So yes witches tended to be herbalist, healers and midwives.

Witches in Britain were often accused of failure to identify a thief and failed in their powers of divination. If they did succeed in using divination to identify a thief they to were accused of witchcraft.

The Protestants didn't approve of divination or magic and also tried to put a stop to the practice. They even accused Catholic Priest of turning wine and bread into the body and blood of Christ. A practice of divination.

During the period called "The Burning Times" when witches were being burnt at the stake. People were accused and burnt. Not that they were even practicing witchcraft.

Consider the Salem witch trials. There were 200 people accused. Nineteen were hung and one was evened crushed to death. The man crushed was a lawyer, he failed to enter a plea for a accused witch. There was no evidence in any of these cases of actually practicing divination. It seems the best way to avoid death was to admit to witchcraft. Then you could repent of your sins name some others as witches and live. From the accounts I've read all who pleaded innocent were executed. None who pleaded guilty were executed.

I might go with the idea of a " Witch Panic". The moral ideals of Salem and social anxiety of life living so close together often led to accusations. Maybe mob rule led to these executions. In the case of Salem you have two distinct family groups all maneuvering for power in the community. But like in statistics you have outliers. The first two people accused and executed were social outcast. It wasn't until things heated up did all social classes begin to be accused and two distinct family units emerge. When the elite begin to be accused things shut done rapidly in Salem an the trials end.

When you look at Britain fewer accusations of witchcraft an most were hanged. As in Salem most were hanged and a shorter mob mentality. Most likely from the British influence. We all know Germany burned and executed many more witches and lasted much longer in their quest to execute witches.

Not to be forgotten is the economic impact of witch hunts. People who identified witches could claim fees and confiscate property. I believe this intensified witch hunters to obtain convictions.

Salem Village

"Herbals Tips for the week"

Herbalalism in Magic

Herbs have enormous magical power because they hold healing effects that are from they earth and not man made. Each herb has benefits unique to itself. No wonder people of long ago felt it was magic.


Lavender Bundle

It was used in dream pillows, or pillows lined with lavender to aid in sleep. We use it today for incense and oils often for relieve of stress and anxiety. Lavender is associated with happiness, love , sleep and psychic knowledge.

Harvest lavender herb in the morning after the sun has dried the morning dew. Ty with twine into a bundle and let dry on counter top until slightly brittle. This bundle can be put in your pillow case in which you can enjoy the relaxing aroma.

Finally a POEM.

By Lyall Watson- Supernature, 1973.

There is life on earth- one life, which embraces every animal and plant on the planet. Time has divided it up into several million parts, but each is an integral part of the whole. A rose is a rose, but it is also a robin and a rabbit. We are all of one flesh, drawn from the same crucible.

Do one act of kindness this week.


Source: Lecture Dr. Lucas


Salem witch trials and the Putnam family.

Numbers of family members listed or involved in trials: Ann Putnam Jr., Ann Carr Putnam, Sr. Edward Putnam, Hannah Cutler Putnam, John Putnam. Jr., John Putnam. Sr., Jonathan Putnam, Nathaniel Putnam, Thomas Putnam. Jr., Captain Jonathan Walcott, Mary Walcott.

Putnam house front view
Putnam house back view

The Putnam house was originally built around 1648 on a hundred acres farm. The first owner was Lieutenant Thomas Putnam. There were twelve generations of Putnam who have lived in this home. It was donated to the Danvers Historical Society in 1991. Danvers being the name for the old Salem Village.

Salem village

The Putnam family was from Buckinghamshire England, the family came to America in around 1634. They were part of the Massachusetts Bay Colony. Being farmers they quickly found the land at Salem village much more fertile for crops and moved there. Salem village is approximately five miles from Salem town. The Putnam controlled most of this good crop land.

In 1660's Salem village began to want independence from Salem town. They desired to have their own church. Remember they are all Puritans and as such not really used to showing independent thought between church members. Everything is a sin and so they prayed and fasted together always fearful of not making it to heaven. Creating a schism between Salem Village and Salem town. Those loyal to Salem town disliked this new found independence. Those in Salem town didn't like the potential loss of tax revenue.

So Salem village gained the right to have their own church and minister in 1672. The villagers were allowed to appoint a group of five to collect taxes from the villagers. But we have a problem. What is that problem? Having two groups of villagers with separate loyalties would be the beginning of a perfect storm. Two families emerged to become quarreling adversaries. The Putnam's and the Porters. This weeks focus is on the Putnam's.

The Putnam's are simple farmers and followed Puritan lifestyles . They along with other villagers believed Puritan traditions must be kept. The Putnam family believed the thriving farm community was because of living the Puritan life. But as villagers became more wealthy so does pride and self interest. This again will lead to conflict with the Porters who thrive from being merchants who trade with Salem town. The Porters must keep close relationships with Salem town and don't like cutting ties with them.


The Putnam family's wealth stagnated as farmers while Porters merchant opportunities increased.


The Porter family dam that powered their sawmill flooded the Putnam farm which resulted in a lawsuit for damages against the Porters. This happened in 1672 and made frictions worse between families. That is the same year when Salem village was granted the right to build a church and hire a minister. The Porter family opposed the new church and separation from Salem town.

Salem 1st meeting house

Having gained approval to build a church and minister Salem village brought its first minister Rev. James Bayley in Oct. 1672. The village would quarrel even after obtaining a church and minister. The following minister Rev. George Burroughs came next and would find himself embroiled in the witch trials some years later. The stage is set for these two family's and their roles in the Salem village witch trials that are still yet to come.

Stay tuned the best is yet to come!!!! More on the Porter family and start of witch trials next week!!!!

Herbal Tip

Incense in Magic

Incense long has been associated with magic and witchcraft. The use of incense in witchcraft has three areas. Stimulating one's sense of smell, connection with spells, and when a spell is done the incense smoke carries the spell.

From Southern Hemisphere Pagan

More on herbs and how it relates to today's world. Next week.



Porter Family home

Porter Family And Salem Witch Trials Background

The Salem witch trials were mostly between two families, the Putmans and Porters. John Putman Sr. was the patriarch of the Putman's. John Porter Sr. was the patriarch of the Porter's. These two families had battled for dominance in Salem village economically for some time an it was just a matter of time before they collided in a battle of jealousy and revenge.


The Putman's were farmers an led a simple life. (See blog last week for more detail) The Porter's had many business interest in trade an commerce. The Porter's were entrepreneurs an considered more worldly than Putman family. The Porter's business interest allowed their family wealth to increase all the while the Putman's wealth was stagnant.

When the Porter dam flooded the Putman's farm as mentioned last week the subsequent lawsuit fueled the rivalry and the Salem witch accusations were just around the corner.

The arrival of Rev. Parris and support of the new minister by the Putman's was another reason for division. Since the Porter family hadn't wished to separate from Salem town or the church there. Rev. Parris was seen as another adversary. The accusations against Rev. Parris will soon come as accusations of witchcraft in his home and the hysteria begins.

Rev. Parris

The hysteria in Salem village was not about the devil but about competition and greed between two family's. The disagreement over separating from the Church and town of Salem Town. Lastly, the constant fear of death prevalent in a society built on Puritan values.


Interesting how a once close knit community can divide and split into two different kinds of people an developed behaviors an habits that result in witch accusations that lead to the death of so many of their own neighbors and friends.

Salem Witch Trials Background

In 1692 the panic began in Salem village. By the end of the trials nineteen will be hanged and several more will die in prison. One man will be crushed by a mass of stone piled on him trying to gain a confession.


Many lives an families will be destroyed and the Salem witch trials will remain a legacy for this area of Massachusetts forever.

Legacy of false witness

The first trial occurred because the daughter of Rev. Parris (Betty) and his niece (Abigail Williams became ill. The girls were having epileptic like fits. The girls screamed and throw their bodies around the room.

The village doctor examines the girls and diagnosed them as being bewitched. The hunt for the witch who caused their affliction begins.


The first three women accused of witchcraft were all people looked down upon by the community. They were all of lower status. One lived as a beggar on the streets. One failed to attend the Puritan church as required by their faith. One was a black slave.


The fact of the matter is anyone accused of causing illness or death to anyone were accused of witchcraft. They were said to have a unlawful covenant with the devil.

Most people didn't have any evidence that these women had used witchcraft. Often spectral evidence was used. They could simply say the saw a ghost at their home.

There were many ways in which people were tested for witchcraft. One method was a witch cake. The cake used urine from the ill girls. The cake was then fed to a dog. When the dog ate the cake the witch would cry out in pain as if the dog had bitten them.

urine cake

The touch test was another method of testing for witchcraft. It was believed that if the accused witch touched their victim, and their victims symptoms stopped then they were the witch who caused the affliction.

Some people believed that witchcraft could be proved due to the appearance of 'witch teats' on victim's bodies. These were often just moles or blemishes on the body.

Summary of Salem Witch trials

Over 150 men and women were imprisoned because they were accused of witchcraft.

19 men and women were hanged , 1 man crushed and 7 people died in prison.

The place at Salem village where all the witches were hanged became known as Gallows Hill. People gathered to see the hangings there.

The witch trials finally ended when Salem's minister and his father urged people to consider the evidence they were presenting. The spectral evidence was declared insufficient to convict someone of witchcraft an put them to death.

spectral evidence

In the end those still alive or imprisoned who had been accused or suspected of witchcraft were released.


Dr. Wendy Lucas Power-point Lectures Spring 2017 History of Witchcraft , University of Central Arkansas.

Blog Source

Next week the trials of some accused will be discussed.

Herb Tip Of The Week

Herbal Medicines



The role Dr. Griggs played in the Salem Trials.

The beginning of the witch hysteria could be blamed on male roles models of Puritan Salem. Puritan men played a dominant role in society and often took the lead in parenting and religious matters. They were considered head of households and held authority over wives and children. Although, Puritan women had a larger role an equality than other women not of the Puritan faith.

Puritan women

Since Puritans believed in hard work and simple labor, many lived off the land raising crops an cattle. Additionally men performed every job an task necessary for life and betterment of the Puritan community, including blacksmith, store clerk, and doctor.

Blacksmith shop

According to the Puritan mind, Puritan men were pious and in charge of the spiritual well being of their families. They led their families in religious devotions and prayers. They ensured their families attended church services on Sunday.


The failings and sins of the family reflected poorly on the Puritan man and his ability to successfully lead his family along a righteous path, in the case of Salem village in 1692. We'll see that Puritan men and their role in society played an important role in the witch hysteria. The role of Dr. William Griggs and his powerful decision that three young girls are bewitched might be the match that lit the flames of hysteria that caused the death of nineteen men and women in addition, one man crushed to death.

bewitched girls

In January of 1692, Samuel Parris, Pastor of the Salem village, had a daughter of nine, and a niece of about eleven years of age, that became ill with fits. As the story goes the girls rolled on the floor, screaming in pain, and shouting aloud. The first instinct of Pastor Parris was to pray for his daughter and niece. When this didn't work, Parris began to pray and fast as was the puritan way in their religion.

Rev. Parris

When this didn't work, physicians were called to the Parris home. Several physicians were called to the home of Rev. Parris. Only one ultimately diagnosed the three girls as bewitched. This doctor was named Dr. William Griggs.

Dr. Griggs

Dr. William Griggs was in his late 70's in 1692. Nothing is really known or mentioned of his medical training. Dr. Griggs was most likely self=taught and he worked to establish his practice in Salem village where he would ultimately diagnose the afflicted girls Betty Parris and Abigail Williams.

Abigail Adams

The two girls seemed to get worse after the diagnosis. In the book by Enders A. Robinson there are claims that the witch trials were a conspiracy led by Thomas Putman and Dr. Griggs. There is some evidence that Griggs would benefit from the bewitchment diagnoses and later accusations against Elizabeth Proctor a midwife and competitor against his practice. This could be evidence of the male figure of Dr. Griggs feeling slighted by a female in a male dominated Puritan society.

portrayal of Abigail Parris

Dr. Griggs niece also provided testimony in the Proctors trial. Could Dr. Griggs niece have been pushed by the good doctor to give false testimony? Dr. Griggs would have benefitted from the loss of a competitor.

Although, we have very little to go on. Information on Griggs and who he really was, yet he does appear in the narratives as the man who lit the flames of witch hysteria in Salem village in 1692.

There is nothing tidy about Salem village and its legacy. It appears likely that Dr. William Griggs diagnosed the girls, but regardless of who said witchcraft was the problem. There were many people who had personal motivations to create havoc for monetary or personal revenge.

anger/revenge quote

Sources: Enders A Robinson, The Devil Discovered, Long Grove Ill. Waveland Press(1991)

Book source

Herbal Tip

Herbal tip
Witchy tip

Next week, last blog and summary



Summary of The End of Salem Witch trials

Many people in the town of Salem Village started feeling that the trials were getting out of control. Many innocent lives had been taken by October 1692. Governor Phipps issued an order to protect the accused witches who were still in prison. This order suspended more arrest and current prisoners couldn't be harmed. Governor Phipps only issued the order to protect his own wife who was accused of witchcraft. Although, this was likely true many Salem residents had grown tired of the hysteria also.

Governor Phipps created the court of Oyer and Terminer to hear the rest of the witch trial cases. The court of Oyer and Terminer didn't allow spectral evidence, so nobody else was condemed. The last trial was held on January of 1693. The final count put to death was 19 hanged and one crushed by rocks.

copy of Oyer/Terminer court proceddings

The resulting aftermath of the Salem trials was terrible. Many Salem citizens were still stuck in prison. Many couldn't pay their debt owed to the court to get out of prison. Some had their land confiscated and were left homeless.

During the Salem trials many farms were unattended and crops weren't produced. This meant food shortage's caused starvation and sickness. Crop failure was a new hysteria to worry about.

Salem's Politics were also affected. The Parris loyalist were replaced by a anti-Parris committee. Reverend Parris knowing his job was in jeopardy made a sermon trying to make his involvement appear better. Admitting that he had put to much belief in spectral evidence. Reverend Parris wasn't forgiven and eventually agreed to leave Salem Village.

With Reverend Parris gone a new minister arrived Reverend Joseph Green. Green tried to bring the congregation back together. Reverend Green had a little success an the congregation was damaged for many years to come.

Many Salem residents after the witch trials couldn't get along. Many divisions were along family lines. Putman's against Porter's for example. Often the same division's as the accused and the accusers, forgiveness was not enough.

The Salem witch trials were over, there are no more deaths because of witchcraft or any more accusations of being one. The Salem trials had caused so much damage to the Salem name that Salem Village residents renamed the town Danvers and this is the named today.

Good Read!!
Good Read!!

Herbal Tips Conclusions

Herbal medicines are increasingly becoming the choice of most patients nowadays. The promise of preserving the natural qualities that promote a healthier method of healing our bodies will contribute to the popularity of herbal cures. Moreover, as these types of medicines are grown by individuals in our own home backyards. The cost of health care could be reduced. My challenge to any one who has read my herbal tips is too stay informed and take a active role in your health. Living is about quality of the life you live not the length. Although, people who have quality lives seem to live long lives as well.

Good source on herbal medicine


Created with images by Provenance Online Project - "Woodcut of St. Augustine"

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