Historic Diary of 17th Century Witch Trials Now Online
London, 1645: Nehemiah Wallington is an English Puritan who is documenting the fearful and tragic events happening all around him, especially the terrible trials of citizens accused of witchcraft.
350 years later, his diary detailing the harrowing stories of those tried and convicted of witchcraft is now available to read online.
Carol Burrows, who worked to digitize this historic manuscript, says that it is written in English, and will be easy to read for contemporary viewers.
Most scholars now consider the witch trials both in Europe and in the United States to have been the bitter fruit of a superstitious mind set, an overbearing Church, and a politically suppressive governmental structure that lead to a hysterical populace. Strangely, Wallington recounts in his diaries and decidedly different point of view. In his words, many of the accused freely admitted to devil worship and witchcraft, in some cases even turning themselves in. check my source“Divers (many) of them voluntarily and without any forcing or compulsion freely declare that they have made a covenant with the Devill,” he wrote.
He also tells the story of a woman named Rebecca West, a suspected witch who confessed (under torture certainly) that she had slept with the devil because “she found her selfe in such extremity of torture and amazement that she would not enure (endure) it againe for the world.” This confession lead to her being spared from a terrible fate. Most weren’t so lucky. Visit this site to see a list of “just some of the thousands of poor souls wrongly tried during the Witch Hunts. Let them not be forgotten, nor the pain they went through.” find this
While Wallington believed clearly that many of these “witches” were indeed involved in devilish deeds, it is more likely that most if not all of the “confessions” were obtained via extreme torture. Nonetheless, it is a fascinating read.
The notebook can be viewed free of charge at: http://chiccmanchester.wordpress.com/