The Salem witchcraft trial of 1878,also known as the Ipswich witchcraft trial and the second Salem witch trial, was an American civil case held in May 1878 in Salem, Massachusetts, in which Lucretia L. S. Brown, an adherent of the Christian Science religion, accused fellow Christian Scientist Daniel H. Spofford of attempting to harm her through his "mesmeric" mental powers. By 1918, it was considered the last witchcraft trial held in the United States. The case garnered significant attention for its startling claims and the fact that it took place in Salem, the scene of the 1692 Salem witch trials. The judge dismissed the case.
Salem is a historic coastal city in Essex County, Massachusetts located in the North Shore region. It was settled in 1626 and was one of the most significant seaports in early American history.
Christian Science is a set of beliefs and practices belonging to the metaphysical family of new religious movements. It was developed in 19th-century New England by Mary Baker Eddy, who argued in her 1875 book Science and Health that sickness is an illusion that can be corrected by prayer alone. The book became Christian Science's central text, along with the Bible, and by 2001 had sold over nine million copies.
The Salem witch trials were a series of hearings and prosecutions of people accused of witchcraft in colonial Massachusetts between February 1692 and May 1693. More than two hundred people were accused. Thirty were found guilty, nineteen of whom were executed by hanging. One other man, Giles Corey, was pressed to death for refusing to plead, and at least five people died in jail.
Daniel Spofford was one of the earliest adherents of Mary Baker Eddy (then known as Mary Baker Glover). Spofford was born in New Hampshire and grew up as a menial laborer and watchmaker's apprentice in eastern Massachusetts.At 19, he enlisted in the United States Army and served in the American Civil War. After the war, he worked in a shoemaker's shop in Lynn, Massachusetts, and around 1867 obtained copies of some of Glover's early writings on Christian Science. Spofford left Lynn to travel out west, but returned to Lynn in 1870 and met Glover. Spofford took one of Glover's classes in metaphysical healing in the early spring of 1875, and graduated in April.
Mary Baker Eddy was an American religious leader who founded Christian Science, a new religious movement, in New England in the latter half of the 19th century.
New Hampshire is a state in the New England region of the northeastern United States. It is bordered by Massachusetts to the south, Vermont to the west, Maine and the Atlantic Ocean to the east, and the Canadian province of Quebec to the north. New Hampshire is the 5th smallest by area and the 10th least populous U.S. state.
Massachusetts, officially known as the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, is the most populous state in the New England region of the northeastern United States. It borders on the Atlantic Ocean to the east, the states of Connecticut and Rhode Island to the south, New Hampshire and Vermont to the north, and New York to the west. The state is named after the Massachusett tribe, which once inhabited the east side of the area, and is one of the original thirteen states. The capital of Massachusetts is Boston, which is also the most populous city in New England. Over 80% of the population of Massachusetts lives in the Greater Boston metropolitan area, a region influential upon American history, academia, and industry. Originally dependent on agriculture, fishing and trade, Massachusetts was transformed into a manufacturing center during the Industrial Revolution. During the 20th century, Massachusetts's economy shifted from manufacturing to services. Modern Massachusetts is a global leader in biotechnology, engineering, higher education, finance, and maritime trade.
Immediately thereafter, Spofford organized a group of Christian Science students to provide financial support to Glover (so that she might continue to teach them the tenets of her religious beliefs) and to rent a meeting space for them.He also set up several offices around the area to practice Christian Science healing, and began calling himself "Dr. Daniel Spofford." When Glover had difficulty finding a publisher for her book, Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures , Spofford acted as publisher, while fellow students George Barry and Elizabeth Newhall put up the money for the publication. Spofford even distributed handbills alongside Glover to promote the book. He also introduced Glover to her future husband, Asa Gilbert Eddy. Glover and Eddy soon married, and Spofford was called on to help arrange the ceremony. The now-Mrs. Eddy continued to call on Spofford for assistance in handling the mental drain of her many students and the preparations for the second edition of her book.
Along with the Bible, Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures is the central text of the Christian Science religion. Mary Baker Eddy described it as her "most important work." She began writing it in February 1872 and the first edition was published in 1875. However, she would continue working on it and making changes for the rest of her life.
In the spring of 1877, while Eddy was vacationing, she and Spofford disagreed over the terms of the publication of the second edition of Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures.On January 19, 1878, Spofford was expelled from the Association of Christian Scientists on grounds of "immorality". Eddy then sued Spofford for unpaid tuition, but lost the suit. Eddy and Spofford broke completely shortly thereafter. Modern commentators claim that Spofford felt shut out by Asa Eddy.
In her writings, Mary Baker Eddy developed the concept of "malicious animal magnetism" (MAM), seemingly a form of hypnosis or possibly mental control or mental energy which could harm others.Chapter V of the first edition of Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures was titled "Animal Magnetism Exposed," and explained how the mind can cure itself but also harm others ("mind crime"). Eddy apparently believed that such "mind crimes" could be stopped by having people in close physical proximity to her "intercept" these mental emanations.
Hypnosis is a human condition involving focused attention, reduced peripheral awareness, and an enhanced capacity to respond to suggestion.
MAM proved to be a lifelong concern of Eddy's after 1878.She rushed a truncated, second edition of Science and Health into print in 1878 so that her thinking on the issue could become public as soon as possible, and her lectures paid increasing attention to the issue. In 1881, a more complete, two-volume edition of Science and Health appeared, with the chapter on MAM greatly expanded and retitled "Demonology." (Later editions would remove this term from Science and Health.)
Lucretia Brown was a 50-year-old spinster who lived in Ipswich, Massachusetts, 12 miles (19 km) northeast of Salem, Massachusetts. An injury to her spine during childhood left her an invalid, but she said she had been healed through Christian Science. She suffered a relapse in 1877 and again in 1878, and accused Spofford of having interfered with her health through "mesmermism". Her lawsuit stated:a town about
...that Daniel H. Spofford, of Newburyport, ... is a mesmerist, and practices the art of mesmermism, and by his said art and the power of his mind influences and controls the minds and bodies of other persons, and uses his said power and art for the purposes of injuring the persons and property and social relations of others and does by said means so injure them.
And plaintiff further showeth that the said Daniel H. Spofford has at divers times and places since the year eighteen-hundred and seventy-five wrongfully and maliciously and with intent to injure the plaintiff, caused the plaintiff by means of his said power and art great suffering of body and mind, and spinal pains and neuralgia and a temporary suspension of mind, and still continues to cause the plaintiff the same.
And the plaintiff has reason to fear and does fear that he will continue in the future to cause the same. And the plaintiff says that the said injuries are great and of an irreparable nature, and that she is wholly unable to escape from the control and influence he so exercises upon her and from the aforesaid effects of said control and influence.
At least one witness claims that Eddy's attorney drew up the complaint for Brown.Eddy strenuously denied this. Some modern scholars have concluded that Brown acted without Eddy's influence, but others have asserted that Eddy was behind the suit.
The trial at the Supreme Judicial Court in Salem opened on May 14, 1878.Judge Horace Gray presided. Mary Baker Eddy and 21 other witnesses traveled to Salem to testify against Spofford. Judge Gray ordered Spofford to appear on May 17. The case garnered widespread attention from the media, with articles appearing in the Boston Globe, Newburyport Herald , and Salem Observer .
On May 17, Amos Noyes, Spofford's attorney (appearing on behalf of his client who did not attend the trial), filed a demurrer with the court, arguing that there was no question in equity and that the court had no jurisdiction in the case.
Brown's attorney, Edward Arens, claimed that mesmerism was an acknowledged fact and challenged the demurrer.Judge Gray dismissed the case, noting the claim was vague and the complaint "framed without a knowledge of the law of equity." The court ruled it was not clear how it could prevent such mental control, even if it were to imprison Spofford. Brown appealed the court's ruling, but the appeal was dismissed in November 1878. One critical observer called the trial "one of the most bizarre court-room sessions ever held in the United States." Eddy was strongly criticized in the press over the case.
Phineas Parkhurst Quimby was an American clockmaker, mentalist and mesmerist. His work is widely recognized as foundational to the New Thought movement.
The Christian Science Publishing Society was established in 1898 by Mary Baker Eddy and is the publishing arm of The First Church of Christ, Scientist in Boston, Massachusetts.
The Manual of The Mother Church is the book that establishes the structure and governs the Christian Science Church, functioning like a constitution. It was written by Mary Baker Eddy, founder of the church. It was first published in 1895 and was revised dozens of times. The final edition, the 89th, was published in 1910, two weeks after her death.
Robert Arthur Peel was a Christian Science historian and writer on religious and ecumenical topics. A Christian Scientist for over 70 years, Peel wrote editorials for the Christian Science Monitor, a publication owned by the Church of Christ, Scientist. He was also a counsellor for the church's Committee on Publication, set up by Mary Baker Eddy (1821–1910), the religion's founder, to protect her own and the church's reputation.
Emma Curtis Hopkins was an American spiritual author and leader. She was involved in organizing the New Thought movement and was a primary theologian, teacher, writer, feminist, mystic, and prophet who ordained hundreds of people, including women, at what she named the Christian Science Theological Seminary of Chicago. Emma Curtis Hopkins was called the "teacher of teachers" because a number of her students went on to found their own churches or to become prominent in the New Thought Movement.
Christian Science is a 1907 book by the American writer Mark Twain (1835–1910). The book is a collection of essays Twain wrote about Christian Science, beginning with an article that was published in Cosmopolitan in 1899. Although Twain was interested in mental healing and the ideas behind Christian Science, he was hostile towards its founder, Mary Baker Eddy (1821–1910).
Goodwife "Goody" Ann Glover was the last person to be hanged in Boston as a witch, although the Salem witch trials in nearby Salem, Massachusetts, occurred mainly in 1692.
Septimus James Hanna, an American Civil War veteran and a judge in the Old West. He was a student of Mary Baker Eddy, who founded the Christian Science church. Giving up his legal career, he became a Christian Science practitioner, lecturer and teacher. Hanna occupied more leading positions within the church organization than any individual, serving as pastor, then First Reader of The Mother Church, as editor and associate editor of the periodicals, member of the Bible Lesson Committee, he served two terms as president of The Mother Church, he was teacher of the Normal (teachers) Class of 1907, later vice president and then president of the Massachusetts Metaphysical College.
Julius A. Dresser was an early leader in the New Thought movement. Along with his wife Annetta, Dresser was the first proponent of the "Quimby System of Mental Treatment of Diseases", named after Phineas Parkhurst Quimby. Julius and Annetta were also the parents of prolific New Thought author Horatio Dresser, who, along with them, led a long-time dispute against Christian Science founder Mary Baker Eddy over whether she used Quimby's teaching unattributed in her writing.
The Life of Mary Baker G. Eddy and the History of Christian Science (1909) is a highly critical account of the life of Mary Baker Eddy, the founder of Christian Science, and the early history of the Christian Science church in 19th-century New England. Largely ghostwritten by the novelist Willa Cather, it was published as a book in November 1909 in New York by Doubleday, Page & Company. The original byline was that of a journalist, Georgine Milmine, but it later emerged that Cather was the principal author.
Georgine Milmine also known as Georgine Milmine Adams, was a Canadian-American journalist known for her research into Mary Baker Eddy, the founder of Christian Science. Along with Willa Cather and others, Milmine worked as a researcher on 14 investigative articles about Eddy that were published by McClure's in 1907–1908. The only major investigative work on Eddy to be published in her lifetime, the articles were instigated by Milmine: S. S. McClure purchased her freelance research before assigning a group of reporters to verify, expand and write it up.
Annie M. Knott was an early student of Mary Baker Eddy and became a Christian Science practitioner and teacher. She first turned to Christian Science in an emergency involving her toddler son, afterward taking up the study of the religion and devoting her life to it. She later became a member of the Bible Lesson Committee and was the first woman to become a member of the Christian Science Board of Directors.
Calvin Augustine Frye was the personal assistant of Mary Baker Eddy (1821–1910), the founder of Christian Science.
John Valentine Dittemore was director of The First Church of Christ, Scientist, the Christian Science church, in Boston from 1909 until 1919. Before that he was head of the church's Committee on Publication in New York, and a trustee for ten years of the estate of Mary Baker Eddy (1821–1910), the founder of Christian Science.
Sibyl Wilbur O'Brien Stone, best known as Sibyl Wilbur, was an American journalist and author of a biography of Mary Baker Eddy.
Samuel Putnam Bancroft, best known as Samuel P. Bancroft was an American Christian Scientist.
Adam Herbert Dickey, best known as Adam H. Dickey was a Christian Scientist and private secretary to Mary Baker Eddy.