One week after a triple murder in Escambia County, Florida, the sheriff announced the possibility that the murders may be linked to witchcraft.
While most people are familiar with the story of the infamous witch trials that took place in Salem, Massachusetts in 1692 and 1693, less well known are the legends told in the Mount Holly, NJ area of women being tried for witchcraft in that town in 1730. The story may stem from an article appeared on October 22, 1730 in the Pennsylvania Gazette, which allegedly chronicled a recent witch trial that taken place in Mount Holly. The article explained in depth both the reasons those accused were suspected of practicing witchcraft as well as the actions undertaken to determine if they were truly tapping into dark powers.
According to the Gazette, locals began fearing the worst when their animals began acting strangely. “...the Accused had been charged with making their Neighbours Sheep dance in an uncommon Manner, and with causing Hogs to speak and sing Psalms.”
The ability to control the actions of animals had long been considered a surefire sign of witchery, and the citizens of Mount Holly would not stand for it. They rounded up those they held responsible, one witch and one wizard, and proceeded to test their innocence. A rowdy mob of 300 townsfolk forced a man and woman to undergo trials. To validate the results, two members of the rabble also underwent these tests as a sort of litmus to prove their fair
First, the accused were weighed against copies of the Bible, -read more