Notable Historical Trials II – The Suffolk Witches

I recently finished this chapter in the Folio Society compilation of historical trials.  This one is from the mid 17th Century and apparenly is one of the last ones that ended up with a conviction and execution.

The evidence seems to have been mostly a few girls who were going into states of insensibility and producing pins and nails from their mouths at intervals. Since they got worse in the presence of the witches, there you have it. Of course, when they were not able to see they got worse at the touch of a court spokesman, but this was dismissed. There was also a droll matter where when it was found that the ‘insensible’ girls could remember what went on when they were out, somehow this was considered a credit rather than a sign the girls were faking.

It all seems very familiar to one who has read about the Salem trials later, and nobody who has a sister will be shocked that they might get a charge out of getting somebody into trouble.


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