Salem Witch Trials: Colonial America in 1692 Project

Started by Erica "the Disconnectrix" Howton on Wednesday, October 13, 2010


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Showing 61-90 of 256 posts
10/14/2010 at 11:09 PM

Finally figured out also why everyone keeps saying that this Margaret Jones was the first person executed in Massachusetts in 1648, when Achsah Young was executed a year earlier. I guess I had the place wrong. She was executed in present Connecticut and not Salem (someone I stole the data from must have been confused). I'll have to adjust my timeline.

10/15/2010 at 1:29 AM


Dr. John Fian did you say Cunningham? Have you found his Geni profile? What year was the North Berwick Witches of Scotland? (I think you typo'd 2004). Did you know there's a Conjurer Family in the Cherokee Tree? Wonder if they're related. Those Scots got around you know.

I'm adding the site to resources for the Witch Trials Project page, it's excellent.

10/15/2010 at 1:40 AM

Been posting lots of references to good sites in the timeline for Rebecca.

I think this Cunningham probably didn't have much to do with the New World. I think the North Berwick Witches were in the 1580s... I could look it up on Wikipedia, but I'm lazy.

Haven't looked for Dr. Fian/Cunningham on Geni yet... no... probably will get around to it in the morn, er, afternoon :)

10/15/2010 at 1:48 AM

Wow... someone did do up a Wikipedia page for John Fian:

But I guarantee you he would hate being called a "warlock". The word apparently derived from "warloga" which I guess in old Saxon was supposed to mean "liar". Not a particularly nice term in that day and age.

10/15/2010 at 1:50 AM

Sadly, he doesn't come up in the Scottish Witchcraft Database... wonder what the deal is there...

10/15/2010 at 1:56 AM

I've run across the name of John Fian before. Must have been related to "Hand of Glory" --

He has his own timeline in fact:

And check out "Lives of the necromancers"

Did you want his spellbook?

I have Scottish Cunninghams, that's why I was looking.

10/15/2010 at 1:59 AM

Apparently the proper term for John Fian is not warlock nor witch, it is Temperstarii.

In medieval lore, Tempestarii were magicians, specifically weather-makers, dwelling amongst the common people, who possessed the power to raise or prevent storms at will. For this reason, anyone reputed as a weather-maker was the subject of respect, fear, and hatred in rural areas.

The most famous storm believed to be caused by witches was recorded in 1591 during the North Berwick Witch Trials. John Fian and his alleged coven of witches were accused of raising a sea storm to drown James VI and Queen Anne on their way from Denmark.

10/15/2010 at 2:08 AM

Excellent timeline... but they don't have the cow story... that was the best part, I thought. Not sure I would have wanted his spell book though... really haven't been that much into cows.

I think it was Agnes Sampson that had the daughter that was his love interest. Glad they captured that in your necromancers link. Was about to be disappointed in not finding the story...

10/15/2010 at 2:09 AM

As to the Tempestarii... you know where the phrase "whistling up a storm" comes from, don't you?

10/15/2010 at 2:13 AM

The "chief witch" of the "Berwick Trials" was supposed to be Lord Bothwell:

Sir Francis Stewart, 1st Earl of Bothwell


Francis STEWART-HEPBURN 5th Earl of Bothwell
Birth: 1562
Death: 1624, Naples Italy in extreme poverty
Res: 16 Jun 1581, created earl of Bothwell by King james VI

Attempted to claim the title as fifth Earl of Bothwell but all the titles ceased.
Ref. "Mary, Queen of Scots" by Angus Hamilton. Death Year per Gwen Hepburn's chart.

Interesting footnotes here:

2. It is perhaps significant that the confession of John Fian, and the trials of both Barbara Napier and of Bothwell himself for witchcraft, have disappeared from the Justiciary Records.

Reading the accounts in the light of this supposition, it is seen that every one, including James, suspected Bothwell. Even if they did not acknowledge his divinity, they feared the magical powers which, as Chief of the Witches, he was supposed to wield. It is impossible to study the details of this period without realizing the extraordinary fear which James had of his cousin; it was fear with an underlying horror, totally different from his feeling towards his other turbulent subjects.

When Bothwell, seeking pardon, was introduced into Holyrood Palace by Lady Athol in the early morning of July 24, 1593, he entered the King's chamber. James, always undignified, was caught in the middle of his morning toilet; he tried to run into the Queen's room, but the way was barred by Bothwell's friends and the door was locked. 'The king, seeing no other refuge, asked what they meant. Came they to seek his life? let them take it--they would not get his soul.'[1]

This remark, made in the urgency and excitement of the moment, is highly significant. Had Bothwell been, like many of James's other enemies, merely an assassin, James would not have spoken of his soul. But Bothwell as the Devil of the witches had the right to demand the yielding of the soul, and James was aware of the fact.

The birth of James's children removed Bothwell's hopes of succession; the power of the witch organization, of which he was the Chief, was broken by the death of its leaders. He had made a strong bid for power, he failed, fled the country, and finally died in poverty at Naples. There George Sandys the traveller heard of him: 'Here a certaine Calabrian hearing that I was an Englishman, came to me, and would needs perswade me that I had insight in magicke: for that Earle Bothel was my countryman, who liues at Naples, and is in those parts famous for suspected negromancie.'[2]

10/15/2010 at 2:15 AM

Now I know about "whistling up a storm," thank you. And also "hand of glory."

10/15/2010 at 2:19 AM

I remember hearing that Lord Bothwell was more likely the personage that represented Satan (according to the authorities' version of events), with Fian acting as head guy in the rituals. Hard to say exactly what they were doing in that church. As I remember, the church was destroyed in a storm in 1656 or thereabouts. The front doorway still stands,but the rest of it is just foundation stones (with a corner eroded away into beach). Used to have a piece of slate that came from the roof (you could find pieces like that all around the site), but not sure what I did with it since then. Got it in 1991... two decades is a long time.

10/15/2010 at 2:20 AM

Francis Stewart HEPBURN, 5th Earl of Bothwell is Erica Isabel Howton's 6th cousin 13 times removed!

Through Cunningham -> Douglas -> Stewart to
James I of Scotland

10/15/2010 at 2:21 AM

Have to admit... hand of glory is a new one on me... though melting of "poppets" I've heard of before. It's not a unique thing to Scotland to play around with wax figures...

10/15/2010 at 2:21 AM

You are related to "The Devil"? How quaint :)

10/15/2010 at 2:22 AM

It seems pretty clear Fian was the patsy.

10/15/2010 at 2:23 AM

I should be using a Scots term for "chump."

10/15/2010 at 2:26 AM

Well, I guess that's what you get when you use love spells to attract virgin heiffers... it's not a pretty world out there...

10/15/2010 at 2:52 AM

bah dah bing! And the beat goes on.

Great news about the miners being rescued.

10/15/2010 at 3:39 AM

And found "The Witches Reel" on Youtube:

<private> Baldwin
10/15/2010 at 3:41 AM

Is there a link behind all the witchcraft trials and the Plague that swept Europe? I there a common FEAR of impending death that transferred to cause some may people in so many countries to focus blame for disasters onto certain individuals???

From reading about Martha Allen Carrier the fear of the spread of smallpox seems to have been a motivator in the hysteria which resulted in her being hung...she was also a pretty liberated woman who, ahead of being a suffragette...was pretty self sufficient...also going against the accepted role for woman...and quite verbal about it too...all fuel for the fire.

She was pardoned AFTER death and apology made to the terribly nice of the authorites...a ittle late in the game...but a quaint way to avoid being held accoutable for urging on the hysteria.

Whistling up a that where we also got the phrase "Whistling in the wind?"

10/15/2010 at 3:57 AM


I don't think it was just plague. It's what we call nowadays a meme - an idea which spreads by imitation - which is the cultural equivalent of gene.

More about Fear of Witchcraft here:

10/15/2010 at 3:58 AM

Great story about Martha Allan Carrier, by the way.

10/15/2010 at 6:01 AM

Janet Douglas is your first cousin 14 times removed.

Janet Douglas, Lady Glamis

She died on 17 July 1537 at Castle Hill, Edinburgh, Midlothian, Scotland, burned at the stake for threatening the life of King James V with sorcery.

Private User
10/15/2010 at 6:25 AM

Janet Douglas is your 6th cousin 12 times removed

The Salem witch trials are one thing. You have to expect problems when you threaten the life of a King with sorcery.

10/15/2010 at 6:46 AM

How undemocratic of them.

Sorry I've gotten off track Mayflower. I needed to work with my dark side.

10/15/2010 at 6:49 AM

OK, I now have the theme for the next Project.

The Witches in My Family

That way we can cover all of history.

What do you think?

10/15/2010 at 6:54 AM

Janet Douglas is your fifth cousin 11 times removed.

Showing 61-90 of 256 posts

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