The Battle of Rhode Island Association

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Virtual Lecture: Sickness and Evil in the New England Colonies

October 25, 2023 @ 7:00 PM - 8:00 PM


Evil – the Puritans felt surrounded by it. As they settled in the Massachusetts Bay and Plymouth colonies throughout the 17th century, their faith was constantly tested and their fears often seemed overwhelming – with good reason. They were assaulted by life-threatening challenges: droughts, snow in the springtime, crop failures, sudden death of farm animals, bread that wouldn’t rise, butter that wouldn’t thicken, and family members who fell sick from strange, unrecognized sickness. They were convinced the Devil was using witches to destroy them. Many Puritans tried to fight the black magic of witchcraft by using their own white magic, even though their ministers warned they were falling under Satan’s power. But they were desperate.


Andrew Rapoza, historian and author of Promising Cures, a four-volume, three-century history of health in a New England community, will present 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. He will also discuss the ways Little Compton’s Wilbor family protected themselves from evil at the Wilbor House Museum.


This presentation is sponsored by the Little Compton Historical Society. The Zoom presentation is on 25 October at 7 PM; the subject matter and images are appropriate for adults and teenagers, but not young children.

Click here to register.


October 25, 2023
7:00 PM - 8:00 PM
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