Lecture by John Demos


Author of The Enemy Within:  2000 Years of Witch-Hunting in the Western World

October 16, 2008



On May 26, 1647, long before the famous Salem witchcraft trials, Windsor’s Alse Young became the first person in the American colonies to be executed for witchcraft.  History records her name and date of death – and that is all.  Seven years later in 1654, the townspeople of Windsor accused Lydia Gilbert of directing a stray bullet to kill Henry Stiles during a town militia drill three years earlier.  Although there was no question that the bullet had come from the musket of Thomas Allen, who had been duly convicted of “homicide by misadventure” for that crime three years before, Lydia Gilbert was tried, condemned and hanged. 


Join us at Windsor Historical Society on Thursday, October 16th at 7 p.m. to hear John Demos, Samuel Knight Professor of History at Yale University, the nation’s foremost scholar on early American witchcraft, and direct descendent of John Putnam, a lead prosecutor in the Salem witch trials, who will speak on his just-published book The Enemy Within:  2,000 years of Witch-Hunting in the Western World.   Using dramatic vignettes, Demos tells the story of women and men from two continents spanning a period of two thousand years -- all accused of committing horrific supernatural crimes by their families and neighbors and swiftly executed in order to calm the community’s deep fear of “evil”.  Demos postulates that this cycle of indictment and supposed justice has never ended.  In The Enemy Within, John Demos shows how modern day witch-hunts like McCarthy’s search for communists and the hysteria of child sex-abuse cases in the 80s are the direct descendents of Cotton Mather, the religious authorities of medieval Europe and the Roman communities who rid themselves of Christian cultists. 


Cost for this program is $6 for adults, $5 for seniors and students and $4 for WHS members.  Copies of The Enemy Within will be available for purchase at $25.95 and the author will be happy to sign copies.  The Society’s new Faces of Windsor exhibition will be also open after the lecture. Parking is available in the Windsor Discovery Center parking lot and around Palisado Green.




Windsor Historical Society       96 Palisado Avenue       Windsor, CT 06095  


Tel:  860-688-3813

Fax:  (860) 687-1633

E-mail:  info@windsorhistoricalsociety.org



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