Escaping Salem: The Other Witch Hunt of 1692 by Richard GodbeerEscaping Salem: The Other Witch Hunt of 1692 by Richard Godbeer

Escaping Salem: The Other Witch Hunt of 1692

byRichard Godbeer

Paperback | May 30, 2005

Pricing and Purchase Info

$15.70 online 
$18.95 list price save 17%
Earn 79 plum® points

Prices and offers may vary in store


Ships within 1-3 weeks

Ships free on orders over $25

Not available in stores


The Salem witch hunt of 1692 is among the most infamous events in early American history; however, it was not the only such episode to occur in New England that year. Escaping Salem reconstructs the "other witch hunt" of 1692 that took place in Stamford, Connecticut. Concise and accessible,the book takes students on a revealing journey into the mental world of early America, shattering the stereotype of early New Englanders as quick to accuse and condemn. Drawing on eyewitness testimony, Richard Godbeer tells the story of Kate Branch, a seventeen-year-old afflicted by strange visions and given to blood-chilling wails of pain and fright. Branch accused several women of bewitching her, two of whom were put on trial for witchcraft. Escaping Salemtakes us inside the Connecticut courtroom and into the minds of the surprisingly skeptical Stamford townspeople. Was the pain and screaming due to natural or supernatural causes? Was Branch simply faking the symptoms? And if she was indeed bewitched, why believe her specific accusations, since herinformation came from demons who might well be lying? For the judges, Godbeer shows, the trial was a legal thicket. All agreed that witches posed a real and serious threat, but proving witchcraft (an invisible crime) in court was another matter. The court in Salem had become mired in controversyover its use of dubious evidence. In an intriguing chapter, Godbeer examines Magistrate Jonathan Selleck's notes on how to determine the guilt of someone accused of witchcraft, providing an illuminating look at what constituted proof of witchcraft at the time. The stakes were high--if found guilty,the two accused women would be hanged. In the afterword, Godbeer explains how he used the trial evidence to build his narrative, offering an inside perspective on the historian's craft. Featuring maps, photos, and a selected bibliography, Escaping Salem is ideal for use in undergraduate U.S. survey courses. It can also be used forcourses in colonial American history, culture, and religion; witchcraft in the early modern world; and crime and society in early America.
Richard Godbeer is at University of California at Riverside.
Title:Escaping Salem: The Other Witch Hunt of 1692Format:PaperbackDimensions:192 pages, 4.69 × 6.61 × 0.31 inPublished:May 30, 2005Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0195161300

ISBN - 13:9780195161304

Look for similar items by category:


Table of Contents

ForewordPrologue: "A Witch! A Witch!"1. Katherine Branch's Fits2. Who Is It That Torments Her?3. "By The Law of God And The Law Of The Colony Thou Deservest To Die"4. Angry Speeches And Strange Afflictions5. Weighing The Evidence6. "Persisting In A Non-Agreement"AfterwordSelect Bibliography

Editorial Reviews

"Richard Godbeer's Escaping Salem is a thoughtful and lively retelling of a 'forgotten' witchcraft case. The strong story line is nicely balanced with astute commentary on the background and context. Indeed Godbeer uses the case to open up a broad vista of early New England life at groundlevel. And, in doing so, he shows a balance of interests and concerns that differs significantly from the endlessly hyped (but somewhat atypical) picture of the 'Salem witch-craze' in exactly the same year."--John Demos, Yale University