In June 1692, a few months after the Salem witch trials began to cycle, a witch hunt began in Stamford, Connecticut. Seventeen-year-old, Katherine Branch, a maidservant of Daniel and Abigail Wescot, began succumbing to fits that had indicated that she was bewitched. Her fits consisted of randomly collapsing into convulsions, crying and screaming by complaining about being pinched by unseen creatures, falling into trances, going stiff like a stump, and collapsing to the ground. Then soon after, she started seeing witches in either cat form or human form. Many of the Wescot’s neighbors thought that Kate was either bewitched or “counterfeiting” her symptoms. Further along the lines, Kate was able to identify the witches that were causing her fits. She named off six women but only two of the women went to trial, Elizabeth ...
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...nfess that they were a witch then the court would have to make sure that their confessions were voluntary which was also very difficult. Mercy Disborough was found guilty but she was later acquitted due to a jury change that the Magistrates found to be illegal.
In conclusion, we received a better understanding of Godbeer’s arguement that Stamford’s witch trials were more typical of legal witch accusations in Colonial America by focusing on how easily it was for neighbors to accuse one another of being a witch after getting into heated arguments and how a man’s fear and suspicion of a woman having some sort of power makes her a witch. We also received a better understanding on how difficult it was for Magistrates to legally prove someone of being witch because majority of the testimonial evidence will always be hearsay making it the evidence inadmissible in court.
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