Feature Review

Colonial Possessions

A Review of Stacy Schiff's The Witches: Salem, 1692

The Pulitzer Prize-winning author of The Witches: Salem, 1692 (Little, Brown and Co., 2015) calls the events of 1692 a "genie-releasing crack-up on the way to the Constitution." The nine-month ordeal began with two screaming girls and ended with the execution of fourteen women, five men, and two dogs. No convicted witch was burned at the stake as we might expect. They were all hanged except for one man, who was pressed to death. One of the dogs was shot.

The Puritans did not come up with the criteria for what constituted witchcraft; they brought them with them from Europe. In England, Protestants . . .

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more from the online archives

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