Image from page 68 of "The history of Springfield in Massachusetts, for the young; being also in some part the history of other towns and cities in the county of Hampden" (1921)
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ng long hair and women were fined for wearing betterclothes than they could afford. One of the most interesting trials that ever took place inSpringfield occurred in the last years in which Judge WilliamPynchon held Court. It was the trial of Hugh Parsons forwitchcraft. In England many thousand people had beenhanged because they were thought to be witches in league withthe evil one to injure others. In Springfield this suspicion fellon Hugh Parsons, whose house was at the south end of thestreet, near Mill river. Witches were always supposed to be ugly in appearance.Parsons was not a very agreeable man and probably not good WITCHCRAFT 55 looking. He was a brick mason and used to wear a red coat.Having, for some reason, got provoked with Blanche Bedortha,he said to her, Gammer, I shall remember you when you littlethink on it. Parsons probably forgot all about it, but not soBlanche Bedortha. She kept thinking of him and wonderingif he was casting the evil eye upon her. Everything strange
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Witches. that happened she laid to Hugh Parsons aided by the devil.She looked out on the marsh, where Mill river entered theConnecticut and saw strange Hghts. No doubt it was innocentWill-o-the-Wisp. One night, when she went to bed in thedark, some sparks came from her flannel waistcoat, suchHttle sparks as electricity brings in cold weather. But sheknew nothing of phosphorescence and electricity; neither didher neighbors; so they began to think that Hugh Parsonswas really a witch. The belief spread up the street, encouragedby every trifling coincidence. Parsons called at Mr. Edwardshouse for milk and soon after the cow dried up. GeorgeLancton took a bag pudding out of the pot and, laying it on
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