The Devil in the Shape of a Woman: Witchcraft in Colonial New England

Front Cover
Vintage Books, 1987 - Witchcraft - 360 pages
16 Reviews
Confessing to "Familiarity with the Devils." Mary Johnson, a servant, was executed by Connecticut officials in 1648. A wealthy Boston widow, Ann Hibbens, was hanged in 1656 for casting spells on her neighbors. In 1662, Ann Cole was "taken with very strange Fits," and fueled an outbreak of witchcraft accusations in Hartford a generation before the notorious events in Salem took place. The witch-hunting hysteria that seized New England in the late seventeenth century still haunts us today. Why were these and other women likely witches? Why were certain people vulnerable to accusations of witchcraft and possession? In this fascinating work, Professor Carol Karlsen of the University of Michigan draws a compelling, richly detailed portrait of the women who were persecuted as witches. And in what Kirkus Reviews calls "an enlightening contribution to U.S. historical studies." The Devil in the Shape of a Woman gives us an unforgettable look at a society in transition, where fears and witch hunts were manifestations of much deeper sexual, religious, and economic tensions.

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Review: The Devil in the Shape of a Woman: Witchcraft in Colonial New England

User Review  - Naomi Baker - Goodreads

I enjoyed parts of the book. One can tell it was written for a dissertation or thesis, and is fairly academic, but I skipped the tables and got some tidbits. Read full review

Review: The Devil in the Shape of a Woman: Witchcraft in Colonial New England

User Review  - Janel Tortorice - Goodreads

"If witches really are a thing of the past, why, we must ask, are their simultaneously alluring and demonic shapes still so viciously tormenting men today?" From the afterword to the Norton paperback ... Read full review

Contents

One New Englands Witchcraft Beliefs
1
Two The Demographic Basis of Witchcraft
46
Three The Economic Basis of Witchcraft
77
Copyright

4 other sections not shown

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About the author (1987)

Karlsen is professor of history at the University of Michigan.

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