Forty years before the infamous witch trials in Salem, Massachusetts, Hugh Parsons stepped out of his dirty, disease ridden prison cell in Boston and was carted off towards the courthouse in order to stand trial as a witch. He’d come from a small settlement named Springfield over a hundred miles away and spent the last year cooped up in a concrete prison with his life in the balance. The previous few years had seen the fear of witches spread like a disease throughout New England, with cases springing up like boils on a plague victim. Accused, tried and sent to prison to await a verdict, Parsons had survived the cold winter drinking filthy water and eating gruel in the overcrowded gaol and finally, he was to find out if he was to be lanced.

Pynchon, William (1651) Testimony Against Hugh Parsons Charged With Witchcraft. The New York Public Library Digital Collections. 1650 – 1651.

Gaskill, Malcolm (2021) The Ruin Of All Witches: Life And Death In The New World. Allen Lane, UK.

Handlin, Lilian (1985) Dissent In A Small Community. The New England Quarterly, Vol. 58, No. 2 (Jun., 1985), pp. 193-220 (28 pages). New England, USA.

Evans, Hillary & Bartholomew, Robert (2015) Outbreak: The Encyclopedia of Extraordinary Social Behavior. Anomalist Books, UK.

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