Monday, October 29, 2007


As I’ve mentioned before, whenever a book comes into the store
that covers the colonial and 19th century American historical
periods, I look through it to see if a relative might be mentioned
in it.

One such book is Stephen Hawley Martin’s “A Witch in the
Family: an award-winning author investigates his ancestor‘s
trial and execution.”

I have two Salem witches among my ancestory, Mary Townes
Estey (or Eastey) and Rebecca Blake, so I was naturally
interested in the book. Mr. Martin’s Salem ancestress was
Susannah North Martin who was hung on June 29th, 1692.
Apparently her story was well known in his family so his
book is not a genealogical investigation so much as one of the
whole Salem witch trial phenomenon, and while I don’t find
myself agreeing with some of his views, they are interesting .
The Appendix contains documents from Susannah North
Martin’s case, such as the arrest warrant and testimony at her
trial and also the text of Cotton Mather’s tract on witchcraft,
“Memorable Providences”.

One jarring note: the blurb on the outside rear book cover refers
to the Salem Witch Trials as the “ultimate reality show.”
Another book on witches is Edward Lodi’s “Witches of Plymouth
. Although the events in Salem and Connecticut are more
notorious there were people believed to be witches in the
Plymouth area as well, and some of their stories are here. Mr.
Lodi has written quite a few books on occult events, such as “The
Haunted Pram” and “Ghosts From King Philip’s War”, and along
with tales of actual people there is sometimes a eerie short story
or two set in the locale.

Finally, there are the books of author Joseph Citro, such as
“Passing Strange” and “Cursed in New England: Stories of
Damned Yankees”. He also writes horror fiction but his occult
books have been fairly popular in our store, and the best selling
one is “Weird New England” , part of a series of books written by
different authors that are guidebooks to the more offbeat travel
destinations nationwide. ( “Weird New York”, “Weird Michigan”,
etc.). It’s the only hardcover out of all the books I’ve mentioned
so far and it’s sold the most copies.

As I’ve said, most of these books are paperback with prices under
$20 and there are others out there like them written about other
parts of the country. Go haunt a bookstore for them!

The “Haunted Bookstore” will conclude with a post on one of my
favorite local authors, Edward Rowe Snow.

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