Thursday, October 25, 2012


There's always some new surprise waiting for me in my genealogy
research. My previous post detailed the testimony my ancestors
Benjamin Abbot(t) and his wife Sarah (Farnham) Abbot(t)gave that
helped convict Martha Carrier of witchcraft.

On the day Martha was executed, 19 August 1692 another ancestor,
Rebecca Eames, was in the crowd watching and was accused by another
spectator of causing them to have a pinprick in the foot.  Rebecca was
taken in for questioning right away, readily confessed to be a witch and
claimed that her eldest son Daniel Eames was as well.

The following is from Records of Salem Witchcraft: Copied from the
Original Documents, Volume 2
  (Priv. print. for W. E. Woodward, 1864)
pp  143-146.The questions and answers were mixed in with the observations
of the court officers in long run on paragraphs so I've used line spaces to
make the document easier to read.:  

"Examination of Rebecca Eames.

Rebecca Eames examined before Salem, Majestrats, Aug" 19: 1692. She owned
she had bin in ye snare a monthe or 2 : and had bin persuaded to it 3 monthes
and that ye devil apeared to her like a colt very ugly ye first time but she would
not own y1 she had bin baptised by him she did not know but y1 ye devil did
persuade her to renounce god and christ and ffolow his wicked wayes and that
she did take his Counsell and that she did afflict Timo: Swan she did not know
but that ye devil might ask her body and soul and she knows not but yl she did
give him soul and body after ward she sd she did do it and that she would forsake
god and his works: and ye devil promised her to give her powr to avenge herself
on them that offended her afterward she P ye devil apeared to her 7 year agoe
and that he had tempted her to ly and had made her to afflict persons but she
could not tell their names that she first afflicted.

Q: who came wth ye devil when he made you a witch
A: a ragged girl : they came together and they persuaded me to afflict: and J
afflicte mary Warin and an other fayr face it is abot a quarter of a year agoe: J
did it by sticking of pins

:but did you afflict Swan
: yes, but I am sorry for it

: Q. where had you your spear
A. J had nothing but an all

 :but was it with yor body or spirit you came to hurt these maydes
: A. with my spirit

Q. but can you ask them forgivnes
A: I will fall down on my knees to ask it of them

She would not own that she signed ye devils book when he askd her body
and soul: but he would have had her done it nor to a burch Rign nor nothing:
She sd ye devil was in ye Shape of a hors when he caried her to afflict: but
would not own anybody went with her to afflict but ye afflicted sd her son
Danll went with her to afflict

: Q did you not say ye Devil baptised yor son daniell.
A. he told me so;

Q but; did you not touch the book nor lay yor hand on book nor paper.
 A: I layd my hand on nothing without it was a peice of board

: and did you lay yor hand on ye board when he bid you.
A: yes;

mary Lascy sd she had given her son Danllto ye devil at 2 years old: and y1
her apertion told her so: but she could not remember it: she was bid to take
warin and lazy by ye hand and beg forgivnes and did so, and they forgave her
she sd if she had given her son Danll to ye devil it was in an Angry fitt she did
not know but she might do it nor J do not know he is a wich but J am afrayd he
is : mary lascy saw her son Danll stand before her and sd Danll bid his mother
not confess he was a Wich: his mother did not know she sd but she might se him
for she saw a burlling thing before her: Mary Lascy sd she had baptized her son
Danll and she had bin babtized in five mile Pond: she sd ye reason she feared
Danll was a witch : was becaus he used dredfull bad words when he was Angry:
and bad wishes; being asked the age of Danll sd he was 28 years old; she was
told she had bin long a witch; then, if she gave her son to ye devil at 2 years old
she owned she had bin discontented since she had bin in league with ye devil:
she knew not but ye devil might come once a day lik a mous or ratt: she sd she
knew Sarah parker but did not know her to be a wich: but she heard she had
bin crossed in love and ye devil had come to her and kissed her

: who was with you when you afflicted swan
: A. nobody but my son Danll he was there when J came theether

: she would have Danll perswaded to confes but was told she were best
to perswade him becaus me knew him to be a wich: she was afkt if she was
at ye execution: she sd she was at ye hous below ye hill: she saw a few folk
: the woman of ye hous had a pin stuck into her foot : but she sd she did not
doe it

: but how do you afflict:
 A: J Consent to it

: but have you bin a witch 26 years

: A  no, J cannot remember but 7 years and have afflicted about a 
quarter of a year

:but : if you have bin a wich so long : why did you not afflict before 

seing you promised to Sen ye devil,
A: others did not Afflict before and the devil did not require it

: but: doth not ye devil threaten you if you not do what he ses
: A, yes he thretens to tere me in peices

: but did you use to goe to meeting on Sabbath dayes
; yes, but not so often as J should have done

: what shape did the devil com in when you layd yor hand on ye board
: A. J cannot tell except it was a mous."

There are numerous theories on what produced the outrageous claims
made during the Witch Trials. One theory is that they were caused
by hallucinations brought about by a bread mold. I think there may be
something to that because a lot of the testimony reads like bad LSD
trips from the 1960's!

Eventually Rebecca was convicted and sentenced to be hung the following
22Sep 1692.  The sentence was reprieved and she spent most of that fall
and winter in jail before being released. 

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