Bob Selig will present at our July 21 Zoom meeting. His topic will be: "Do you believe in Magic? Spells and Witchcraft during the American War of Independence."
Dogs that would not bark, horses that would not walk, women who turned into animals at night: the belief in the existence of witches and witchcraft was widespread during the second half of the eighteenth century. Sometimes these powers were employed in the cause of American Independence, sometimes against it. Decades later veterans would record these super-natural occurrences in their pension applications or tell them to people collecting oral history accounts and traditions of the war.
Based on pension applications and accounts found in oral history collections such as the Asa Fitch Papers, the McDonald Papers, and the Draper Collection, this talk presents some of these events, looks into the medieval origins of these beliefs, and places them into the historical context of the War of Independence.