ne26To speak of witches in history is to speak of the Salem which trials. The infamous events surrounding the small community of Salem, Massachusetts in 1692 have been retold for generations, and have become a standard inclusion in American History taught in today’s classrooms. However, what is not taught, and generally goes overlooked, is the practice of magicks, sorcery, and witchcraft by early setters in this Country. Many brought books and practiced a variety of beliefs. These beliefs had little if anything to do with devil worship. However, the practice was feared by many and led to witch trials. These practices and subsequent trials started long before Salem and continued after. Most historians glossed over events regarding witchcraft. Then in 1869 Samuel G Drake choose to examine and expose the history of witchcraft in the colonies from 1632 to 1728. His results were published in book form, in Annals of Witchcraft in New England and Elsewhere in the United States.

Seventeenth century court records, diaries, and other records contain accusations of witchcraft and demonic possessions. However, many of these records are fragmented and while offering up clues rarely told complete stories. Drake show the witchcraft worry spread far beyond Salem, and for a period long before and after.

Drake was one of the founders of the New England Historic Genealogical Society. This same organization is responsible for having reprinted and making available this book. “Drake’s work is a resource worthy of renewed interest, one giving us a closer view into witchcraft in New England through the presentation of original materials, useful commentary, and the inclusion of several intriguing and lesser-known cases.”

Annals of Witchcraft in New England and Elsewhere in the United States is available from Family Roots Publishing; Price: $17.59.