Tuesday, October 31, 2006

We're Not in Salem Anymore

From The Indiana (Pa.) Democrat of Oct. 30, 1879:

Several girls were recently brought before a justice in Scranton, Pa., on a charge of stoning a peaceable old lady. Their defence was that she was a witch, and they believed it to be their duty to stone her to death.
From The Marion (Ohio) Daily Star of Mar. 6, 1882:
A Wisconsin farmer has been put under bonds to keep the peace on account of his attempts to mutilate an old lady whom he believes to be a witch. He avers in defense that she had bewitched his cattle and has repeatedly entered his domicile through the chimney, the keyhole and other inconvenient and inappropriate apertures, contrary to his wish and to his great terror and distress.
From The Madison County (Ill.) Courier of Apr. 19, 1866:
The following witty yet suggestive anecdote is related of Chief Justice Holt, before whom an old woman was once brought accused of witchcraft. The evidence against her was that she had been seen to ride through the air on a broomstick.

"Well, my good woman," said the humane judge to the demented old creature, "did you ride through the air, as the witnesses say?"

"Yes, sir," replied the accused, supposing that what everybody said must be true.

"And I know of no law against it," said the judge, who immediately discharged the prisoner.

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