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SWP No. 96.2

( Recantation of Mary Osgood as Reported by Rev. Increase Mather)

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[(October 19, 1692) ]

Mrs. Osgood freely and relentingly said, that the confession which she made upon her examination for witchcraft, and afterwards acknowledged before the honourable judges, was wholly false, and that she was brought to the said confession by the violent urging and unreasonable pressings that were used toward her; she asserted that she never signed to the devill’s book, was never baptised by the devill, never afflicted any of the accusers, or gave her consent for their being afflicted. Being asked, why she prefixed a time and spake of her being baptised, &c.: about twelve years since; she replyed, and said, that when she had owned the thing, they asked the time; to which she answered, that she knew not the time; but being told that she did know the time and must tell the time, and the like; she considered that about twelve years before (when she had her last child) she had a fitt of sicknesse, and was melancholy; and so thought that that time might be as proper a time to mention as any, and accordingly did prefix the said time.

Being asked about the cat, in the shape of which she had confessed the devill appeared to her, &c. she replyed, that being told that the devill had appeared to her, and must needs appear to her, &c.; (she being a witch) she at length did own that the devill had appeared to her; and being press’d to say in what creature’s shape he appeared in, she at length did say, that it was in the shape of a cat; remembering that some time before her being apprehended, as she went out at her door, she saw a cat, &c.: not as though she any whitt suspected the said cat to be the devill in the day of *** but because some creature she must mention, and this came thus into her mind at that time.

( Collections of the Massachusetts Historical Society, Boston, MA., 2nd ser., vol. 3 (Boston: John Eliot, 1815), pp. 222. )