Just as you might imagine, people have been authoring books about 17th Century Salem ever since the witch accusations, trials and hangings took place. Unfortunately, the habit of sensationalizing the truth also had it’s beginnings back then. Consequently, it is really not known whether or not anyone will ever know the exact details of the occurrences. Due to the habit of sensationalizing the truth in books authored over the centuries, the inevitable occurred; the sensationalized versions of the truth became the “truth.”
In my lengthy research on the subject, I discovered a couple of books that I believe to be probably the closest of all to the truth. The author, Marc Aronson, recommends another author’s book as being the first book anyone considering investigating 17th Century Salem should read before reading any others. That book is Mary Beth Norton’s landmark new study of Salem, titled, “In the Devil’s Snare.” (Aronson cautions that even Arthur Miller’s “Crime and Punishment” was largely a product of sensationalism.)
There exists a web site that I found to be quite reliable. It is also listed below.
RECOMMENDED BOOKS TO AID IN UNDERSTANDING 17th CENTURY SALEM, MASSACHUSETTS
“IN THE DEVIL’S SNARE” by Mary Beth Norton (paperback)
“WITCH HUNT” by Marc Aronson (paperback)
“HIDDEN HISTORY OF SALEM” by Susanne Saville (paperback)
In any event, to anyone bound on the same journey through Salem that I just completed, I strongly recommend making time to research the library in Salem and in Danvers, Massachusetts. As usual, it tends to be one of the most reliable resources for investigating history.
Your Fellow History-Buff & Relentless Researcher,
~JC (Jeanie) Cooke-Fredlund, Published Author