Executions · Massachusetts · Religion

Salem Witch Trials: Elderly woman hanged

July 19, 1692
Salem Village, Province of Massachusetts Bay (modern day Danvers, Massachusetts)
Susannah Martin (70) is hanged for the supposed crime of witchcraft

Martin had already been accused of being a witch twice before, once in either 1660 or 1661, and again in 1669. According to A Laughing Witch: Hanging Susanna Martin by C. L. Gammon, Martin was examined by several women under the supervision of a doctor. They were looking for a “witch’s tit” or “witch’s teat,” a third breast supposedly designed for witches to suckle their familiars. No such abnormality was found, though it was noted “in the morning her nipples were found to be full as if the milk would come”, though later in the day “her breasts were slack, as if milk had already been given to someone or something.” This “evidence” that she had fed an imp was used against her in court.

Martin faced her third trial with a sense of humor, laughing when she was accused of hurting Abigail Williams. The judge did not share in the amusement and asked why she laughed at the accusation, to which she replied “Well, I may at such folly.” It’s difficult to know whether or not her flippant attitude attributed to her guilty verdict. Regardless, she became one of the 19 hanged victims of the Salem witch trials on July 19.

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