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The Boston Globe

North

Across the Pond

Boston’s Irish witch set the scene for Salem’s trials

DUBLIN — In the season of the supernatural that just passed, the city of Salem gets some serious media coverage outside New England on account of its witch trials, which from June through September 1692 saw 19 men and women tried, convicted, and hanged for the crime of witchcraft.

Four years earlier, though, the clergy of Boston got a jump on their Salem brethren when they presided over the hanging of Irishwoman Ann Glover for the same offense. This persecution of a household servant isn’t nearly as well known as Salem’s more pervasive witch mania, but at the time it caused a sensation in Boston, thanks to the notoriety accorded to the case in a popular contemporary book titled “Memorable Providences” by Puritan minister Cotton Mather, pastor of the Old North Church.

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