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William Barker's Confession of Witchcraft

Privacy Level: Open (White)
Date: 1692 to 1692
Location: Salem, Massachusttesmap
Surname/tag: Barker
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William Barker's Confession of Witchcraft

"He confesses he has been in the snare of the Devil three years. That the Devil first appeared to him like a black man and perceived he had a cloven foot. That the Devil demanded of him to give up himself soul & body unto him, which he promised to do. He said he had a great family, the world went hard with him and was willing to pay every man his owne. And the Devil told him he would pay all his debts and he should live comfortably. He confesses he has afflicted Sprague, Foster and Martin, his three accusers. That he did sign the Devil's book with blood brought to him in a thing like an inkhorn, that he dipped his fingers therein and made a blot in the book, which was a confirmation of the covenant with the Devil.

"He confesses he was at a meeting of witches at Salem Village where he judges there was about a hundred of them. That the meeting was upon a green piece of ground near the minister's house. He said they met there to destroy that place by reason of the peoples being divided & their differing with their ministers.

"Satan's design was to set up his own worship, abolish all the churches in the land, to fall next upon Salem and so go through the country. He says the Devil promised that all his people should live bravely, that all persons should be equal; that there should be no day of resurrection or of judgement, and neither punishment nor shame for sin. He says there was a sacrament at that meeting, there was also bread & wine. Mr. Burse was a ringleader in that meeting. It was proposed at the meeting to make as many witches as they could. And they were all by Mr. Burse and the black man exhorted to pull down the kingdom of Christ and set up the kingdom of the Devil. He said he knew Mr. Burroughs and Goody Howe to be such persons. And that he heard a trumpet sounded at the meeting and thinks it was Burse that did it. The sound is heard many miles off, and then they all come one after another.

"In the spring of the year the witches came from Connecticut to afflict at Salem Village, but now they have left it off. And that he has been informed by some of the grandees that there are about 307 witches in the country. He says the witches are much disturbed with the afflicted persons because they are discovered by them. They curse the judges because their society is brought under. They would have the afflicted persons counted as witches but he thinks the afflicted persons are innocent & that they do God good service. And that he has not known or heard of one innocent person taken up & put in prison. He says he is heartily sorry for what he has done and for hurting the afflicted persons, his accusers; prays their forgiveness; desires prayers for himself, promises to renounce the Devil and all his works. And then he could take them [the afflicted persons] all by the hand without any harm by his eye or any otherwise. 5 September 1692. The above said is the truth as witness my hand, William Barker."

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