Sickness & Evil in the New England Colonies, 1620-1788, with Andrew Rapoza

Andrew Rapoza, historian and author of Promising Cures, a four-volume, three-century history of health in a New England community, presents the little-known evidence of Puritans using counter-magic to fight witchcraft in the years before, during, and after the infamous Salem witch trials of 1692. Click here for a 93-minute video of Rapoza’s October 15, 2023 presentation arranged by the Little Compton Historical Society.

Rapoza begins his presentation with a description of the belief in Satan and his influence in the lives of the early colonists.

Rapoza then covered some of the reports of sightings of witches and the more than 277 people who were accused of witchcraft. (Above, right) The berries of Mountain ash were thought to protect houses because it contains a five-pointed pentagram on each berry, a sign that God would protect the house against evil.

After describing some of the various marks that were carved in the beams of houses in the 17th century, Rapozo discussed the ways Little Compton’s Wilbor family protected themselves from evil at the Wilbor House Museum.