This new interpretation of the New England Witch Trials offers an innovative, well-grounded explanation of witchcraft's link to organic illness. While most historians have concentrated on the accused, Laurie Winn Carlson focuses on the afflicted. Systematically comparing the symptoms recorded in colonial diaries and court records to those of the encephalitis epidemic in the early twentieth century, she argues convincingly that the victims suffered from the same disease. "A unique blend of historical epidemiology and sociology."-Katrina L. Kelner, Science. "Meticulously researched...the author marshalls her arguments with clarity and persuasive force."-New Yorker.
Laurie Winn Carlson has written frequently on the history of the West, including Cattle: An Informal Social History; Seduced by the West; Sidesaddles to Heaven; and Boss of the Plains. She lives in Cheney, Washington.
Part 1 Preface xiii Part 2 The Witch Craze in Seventeenth-century New England 3 Part 3 The Afflicted 9 Part 4 The Response 38 Part 5 Mental Illness and the Persecution of Witches 61 Part 6 The Forgotten Epidemic 76 Part 7 What Happened at Salem? 114 Part 8 Alternative Outcomes 147 Part 9 Could Encephalitis Lethargica Return? 157 Part 10 Afterword: Satanic Possession and Christian Beliefs 157 Part 11 Chronology 159 Part 12 Statistical Appendix 167 Part 13 Notes 171 Part 14 Bibliography 183 Part 15 Index 189