Daily Hampshire Gazette - Established 1786
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Weekend planner — talk

Mary Bliss Parsons

Mary Bliss Parsons Purchase photo reprints »

In 1674, 17 years before the outbreak of witch hysteria in Salem, Mary Bliss Parsons of Northampton was accused of trafficking with the devil and placed on trial. While she was found not guilty, questions and gossip lingered, and eventually Mary and her husband were forced relocate to Springfield. Mary’s 11th great-granddaughter, Karen Vorbeck Williams, has written a novel about her ancestor’s tribulations. Titled “My Enemy’s Tears: The Witch of Northampton,” it’s the product of years of research into a story Williams first heard as a child at her grandmother’s knee.

On Sunday Williams will be at Wistariahurst Museum in Holyoke to speak about the basis for the early modern belief in the power of Satan and his witches. Her talk, “The Witchcraft Delusions of 17th Century New England,” begins at 2 p.m. $5 suggested donation.

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