The Trial and Execution of Sarah Good: A Case Study in Selective Theocracy

Beginning on March 1, 1692, Sarah Good, of Salem, Massachusetts, was examined on charges of witchcraft. Witnesses would later testify that she had engaged in witchcraft, ridden on brooms and poles, appeared as an apparition and tormented children, and otherwise bewitched various people in the community. Good denied all charges, including having familiarity with evil spirits and making a contract with the devil. The final recorded comments of her examination included the following exchange:

John Harthorn: who doe you serve?

Sarah Good: I serve god.

Harthorn: what god doe you serve?

Good: the god that made heaven and earth

In short, she denied all charges and claimed to be just like her examiners in serving God. She was executed by hanging on July 19, 1692.

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