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Illustration from The Kingdom of Darkness

Illustration from The Kingdom of Darkness  Written by Nathaniel Crouch Published in London by A. Bettesworth and J. Batley, 1728 World Imprints CollectionWritten by Nathaniel Crouch
Published in London by A. Bettesworth and J. Batley, 1728
World Imprints Collection

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.

 Detail from the Complaint against Katherine Harrison, 1669. Manuscript Collection.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.