By Owen Davies
The USA Bewitched is the 1st significant background of witchcraft in the USA - from the Salem witch trials of 1692 to the current day.
The notorious Salem trials are etched into the attention of recent the US, the human toll a reminder of the hazards of intolerance and persecution. The chorus 'Remember Salem!' used to be invoked usually over the consequent centuries. As time handed, the rigors turned a milepost measuring the gap the US had advanced from its colonial prior, its sufferers now the righteous and their persecutors the shamed. but the tale of witchcraft didn't finish because the American Enlightenment dawned - a new,
long, and chilling bankruptcy was once approximately to begin.
Witchcraft after Salem was once not only a narrative of fire-side stories, legends, and superstitions: it persisted to be a question of lifestyles and demise, souring the yankee dream for plenty of. we all know of extra humans killed as witches among 1692 and the Fifties than have been achieved earlier than it. Witches have been a part of the tale of the decimation of the local american citizens, the event of slavery and emancipation, and the immigrant adventure; they have been embedded within the non secular and social historical past of the rustic. Yet
the historical past of yank witchcraft among the eighteenth and the 20th century additionally tells a much less stressful tale, one who exhibits how various cultures interacted and formed each one other's languages and beliefs.
This is accordingly even more than the story of 1 persecuted neighborhood: it opens a desirable window at the fears, prejudices, hopes, and goals of the yankee humans as their kingdom rose from colony to superpower.
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Extra resources for America Bewitched: The Story of Witchcraft After Salem
Seventeenth-century British, French, and Spanish missionaries, explorers, and settlers saw Native Americans, with their strange religions and medicine men, as the Devil’s agents, potent workers of malign magic. They were pagan idolaters worshipping the Devil in the guise of their gods. 10 A century later the view remained pervasive. ‘The Devil’s kingdom now is spread, Where’er an Indian shews his head’, ran a deeply racist broadside entitled The Indian’s Pedigree, published in 1794. Yet Native Americans were rarely caught up in the legal prosecution of witches in English colonial America.
Both the Inquisition and civil authorities continued to pursue cases of witchcraft throughout the eighteenth century, mostly instigated by Spaniards accusing Native Americans or those of mixed race known as mestizos. In 1708, for example, a twenty-year-old Spanish woman accused two older Pueblo women with witchcraft. ’13 A case from 1733 illustrates the point in more detail. Bicente García and his wife, Spanish residents of Isleta on the Rio Grande, charged a Pueblo named Melchor Trujillo with bewitching them.
Do you denounce us as fools and bigots, because we still continue to believe that which you, yourselves, sedulously inculcated two centuries ago? Your divines have thundered this doctrine from the pulpit; your judges have pronounced it from the bench; your courts of justice have sanctioned it with the formalities of law; and you would now punish our unfortunate brother for adhering to the superstitions of his fathers! Go to Salem! Look at the records of your government, and you will find hundreds executed for the very crime which has called forth the sentence of condemnation upon this woman, and drawn down the arm of vengeance upon her.
America Bewitched: The Story of Witchcraft After Salem by Owen Davies