The Wonders of the Invisible World was a book written by Cotton Mather and published in 1693. It was subtitled, Observations As well Historical as Theological, upon the Nature, the Number, and the Operations of the Devils. The book defended Mather's role in the witchhunt conducted in Salem, Massachusetts. It espoused the belief that witchcraft was an evil magical power. Mather saw witches as tools of the devil in Satan's battle to "overturn this poor plantation, the Puritan colony", and prosecution of witches as a way to secure God's blessings for the colony.
Its arguments are largely derivative of Saducismus Triumphatus by Joseph Glanvill.A copy of Glanvill's book was in Mather's library when he died.
Robert Calef published a refutation of Mather's book in 1700.
Cotton Mather was born in 1663. After graduating from Harvard College, he followed in his father's footsteps, becoming pastor of the Second Church of Boston. He continued in this role from 1685 until his death in 1728. 307:
Mather began with an explanation of how the people of God were living in the devil's territories. He discussed the devil's plan to overturn the plantation and churches with the help of witches.
"...An army of devils is horribly broke in upon the place which is the center, and after a sort, the first-born of our English settlements...
Mather prefaced the trials by saying he would recount them as a historian. One of the trials included was Martha Carrier's, who was "[t]he person of whom the confessions of the witches, and of her own children among the rest, agreed that the devil had promised her she should be Queen of the Hebrews." 313 Mather presented testimonies against Martha Carrier, all of which presumed her to be guilty.:
Mather presented himself as an unbiased informer to the reader. 310 He received his information from court records. He did not present defenses against the testimonies given.:
Mather’s background as a minister 307 showed in his references to religion. Mather went into details on the traditional religious view of the Devil and witchcraft. :308:
Puritan colonists feared the perceived witches among themselves , "and the houses of the good people are filled with the doleful shrieks of their children and servants, tormented by invisible hands.". 309:
Mather's book inspired the title of the 2006 album Last Days of Wonder by Chicago band The Handsome Family; lyricist Rennie Sparks has stated she was intrigued by what she called its "madness brimming under the surface of things."
Cotton Mather was a New England Puritan minister, prolific author, and pamphleteer. He left a scientific legacy due to his hybridization experiments and his promotion of inoculation for disease prevention, though he is most frequently remembered today for his involvement in the Salem witch trials. He was subsequently denied the presidency of Harvard College which his father, Increase Mather, had held.
Saducismus triumphatus is a book on witchcraft by Joseph Glanvill, published posthumously in England in 1681.
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.
Increase Mather was a powerful Puritan clergyman in the Massachusetts Bay Colony and was president of Harvard College for twenty years (1681–1701). He was influential in the administration of the colony during a time that coincided with the notorious Salem witch trials.
John Hathorne was a merchant and magistrate of the Massachusetts Bay Colony and Salem, Massachusetts. He is best known for his early and vocal role as one of the leading judges in the Salem witch trials.
Spectral evidence is a form of evidence based upon dreams and visions. It was admitted into court during the Salem witch trials by the appointed chief justice, William Stoughton. The booklet A Tryal of Witches taken from a contemporaneous report of the proceedings of the Bury St. Edmunds witch trial of 1662 became a model for and was referenced in the Trials when the magistrates were looking for proof that such evidence could be used in a court of law.
Elizabeth Proctor was convicted of witchcraft in the Salem Witch Trials of 1692. She was the wife of John Proctor, who was also convicted and executed.
Tituba was the first woman to be accused of practicing witchcraft during the 1692 Salem witch trials. She was enslaved and owned by Samuel Parris of Danvers, Massachusetts. Although her origins are debated, research has suggested that she was a South American native and sailed from Barbados to New England with Samuel Parris. Little is known regarding Tituba's life prior to her enslavement. She became a pivotal figure in the witch trials when she confessed to witchcraft while also making claims that both Sarah Good and Sarah Osborne participated in said witchcraft. She was imprisoned and later released by Samuel Conklin, but little to nothing is known about Tituba's life following her subsequent release.
Bridget Bishop was the first person executed for witchcraft during the Salem witch trials in 1692. Altogether, about 200 people were tried, and 18 others were executed.
George Burroughs, was the only minister executed for witchcraft during the course of the Salem witch trials. He is best known for reciting the Lord's Prayer during his execution, something it was believed a witch could never do.
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.
The Bury St Edmunds witch trials were a series of trials conducted intermittently between the years 1599 and 1694 in the town of Bury St Edmunds in Suffolk, England.
Robert Calef was a cloth merchant in colonial Boston. He was the author of More Wonders of the Invisible World, a book composed throughout the mid-1690s denouncing the recent Salem witch trials of 1692–1693 and particularly examining the influential role played by Cotton Mather.
Deodat Lawson was a minister in Salem Village from 1684 to 1688 and is famous for a 10-page pamphlet describing the witchcraft accusations in the early spring of 1692. The pamphlet was billed as "collected by Deodat Lawson" and printed within the year in Boston, Massachusetts.
Thomas Brattle was an American merchant who served as treasurer of Harvard College and member of the Royal Society. He is known for his involvement in the Salem Witch Trials and the formation of the Brattle Street Church.
Sarah Cloyce was accused of witchcraft but never indicted by a grand jury in the Salem Witch Trials
Last Days Of Wonder is the seventh studio album released by alternative country band The Handsome Family. It was released 2006 by Carrot Top Records / Loose Music (Europe). The title is a reference to Puritan scientist and witch-hunter Cotton Mather's 1693 book Wonders of the Invisible World, which lyricist Rennie Sparks found intriguing because of what she called its "madness brimming under the surface of things."
Martha Carrier was a Puritan accused and convicted of being a witch during the 1692 Salem witch trials.
In a letter dated September 2, 1692, Cotton Mather wrote to judge William Stoughton. Among the notable things about this letter is the provenance: it seems to be the last important correspondence from Mather to surface in modern times, with the holograph manuscript not arriving in the archives for scholars to view, and authenticate, until sometime between 1978 and 1985.
Samuel Wilkins II was an accuser in the Salem witch trials. He was the son of Henry Wilkins, and thus the grandson of Bray Wilkins and nephew of John Wilkins, two other accusers. He testified against his cousin-in-law, John Willard.