The Devil in Massachusetts

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The Devil in Massachusetts

Author: Marion Lena Starkey
Publisher: Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group
Copyright: 1949
Pages: 320
Cover Price: $ 16.00

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The reign of terror that swept Salem Village in 1692 is still the most celebrated of all witch hunts. It was a tragedy of individuals, which underlined as sharply as has any event in history the power of self-righteousness, fantasy and fear to turn decent people into fanatical persecutors. The accused were diverse personalities: a well-respected grandmother and an honest, skeptical farmer, as well as a pipe-smoking female tramp. One by one they were sent to the gallows by a pack of unbalanced young girls and a stiff-necked little Puritan community inflamed by the girls' testimony.

Born in the state that once countenanced these atrocities, Marion L. Starkey 1st published her deeply moving The Devil in Massachusetts in 1949. An authentic historical narrative, it takes its dialog from actual trial records but applies modern psychiatric knowledge to the witchcraft hysteria. At the same time the author's unerring sense of drama succeeds in creating the pity & terror so necessary to an understanding of the human capacity for evil and suffering.

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Background Information

Salem, Massachusetts, was an early settlement in the Massachusetts Bay Colony, best remembered today for the witch trials of 1692. Based on groundless accusations, the trials for witchcraft in Salem, Massachusetts in 1692 and 1693 resulted in the executions of 20 people. The Puritans were highly religious people who dissented from the Church of England and sought freedom of worship in the New World.