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When the North End was bewitched

Examination of a Witch, by T.H. Matteson 1853.
Courtesy of the Peabody Essex Museum

Many of us have heard about the witchcraft craze in Salem of 1692. Less well known is a witchcraft incident in 1688, a crucial part of which took place in the North End, and involved Cotton Mather (1663-1728), leader of Boston’s 2nd Church in North Square. Mather recounts the incident in his work “Memorable Providences, Relating to Witchcrafts and Possessions,” published in 1689. Both this book and Mather would become crucial players in the events at Salem in 1692. The North End case began in the summer of 1688 at the home of the Goodwin family, John, Martha, and their ...

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