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The Devil in Massachusetts

Uploaded by Renster25 on May 10, 2005

The Devil in Massachusetts: a Modern Enquiry into the Salem Witch Trial
Marion L. Starkey Garden City, New York.: Anchor books, 1949
Pp. 1, 311

The Devil in Massachusetts: a Modern Enquiry into the Salem Witch Trial by Marion L. Starkey is an historical narrative of people and events surrounding the Salem Witch Trials. The format of the book is narrative with dialogue from actual trial records. The trial records applied with a modern psychiatric knowledge surrounding the witchcraft hysteria. Starkey recreates the sense of pity and terror that surrounded Salem and the suffering that many endured. The Devil in Massachusetts presents an account of the accusers, accused, prosecutors and defenders surrounding the trials at Salem.
The book begins with the theory that two young and very deceiving girls began to explore witchcraft because they thought their lives consisted only of working but they lived like princesses. The girls egg on the Negro slave women of the Parris household to teach them some witchcraft. This was not hard to do since Tituba often babysat the young girls. Tituba introduced the girls to several tricks and spells similar to the voodoo she learned at home in Barbados. Starkey notes that the relation of the children and Tituba based on tradition rather then record. The only Evidence to these accounts is from the court record of the examination (pg.272).
When three neighborhood girls hear of Tituba power, they join the two young girls in a witchcraft circle. The neighborhood girls being a bit older than the other two are seeking fortune telling from Tituba since they are unmarried and frowned upon in the puritan society. Everything seems fine until one of the younger girls, Betty leashes out with compulsive attacks and the doctor could not find a physical explanation. A few days later, the other girls begin having these same attacks. When a new doctor examines the girls, he notes that the attacks are from a spell. Starkey states that no detailed accounts of the “afflictions” exist but she bases her information on “early course of similar afflictions of the Goodwin children in Boston,” “an acute analysis made by Putnam of Corwin’s report of Tituba’s examination” and “general characteristics of early phases of hysteria as described by Sigmund Freud’s Selected Papers on Hysteria and other Psychoneuroses (pg. 274).” The book continues by exploring the accused witch’s of Salem that seem to be endless. With instructions...

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Uploaded by:   Renster25

Date:   05/10/2005

Category:   Book Reviews

Length:   4 pages (853 words)

Views:   3856

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