Illustration from The Kingdom of Darkness
This book, published under the pseudonym Robert Burton, has a lengthy but descriptive subtitle, part of which reads: “The history of daemons, spectres, witches, apparitions, possessions, disturbances, and other supernatural delusions … Collected from authentick records … with a preface … and pictures of several memorable accidents.”
Most people in the 1600s believed in magic and the devil’s ability to influence witches to use magic against others. In 1647, 45 years before the more famous Salem witch trials, the first person executed for witchcraft in the American colonies, Alyse Young of Windsor, was hanged in Hartford. Over the next 40 years, ten more people were executed for witchcraft in Connecticut.
The Connecticut Historical Society has both primary and secondary materials related to the Connecticut witch trials, including the original complaint against Katherine Harrison of Wethersfield and a letter from Gershom Bulkeley, also of Wethersfield, in which he refutes allegations against him regarding his relationship with accused witch Mercy Disborough.