Richard Francis

Mass hysteria in Massachusetts: the 17th-century witch crisis in America

Malcolm Gaskill describes how, decades before the Salem outbreak, the town of Springfield was convulsed by rumours of witchcraft and heresy

William Pynchon conducted the prosecutions of Hugh and Mary Parsons for witchcraft while being accused of heresy himself. Credit: Getty Images

Already a subscriber? Log in

This article is for subscribers only

Subscribe and get your first month of access for free. After that it’s just £10.99 a month.

There’s no commitment, you can cancel any time.

  • Unlimited access to our website and app
  • Enjoy Spectator newsletters and podcasts
  • Explore our online archive, going back to 1828


A blooming good offer

Join the conversation with other Spectator readers by getting the next 3 months for £3.

Already a subscriber? Log in