TEN YEARS HAVE GONE BY since this book was first published. More than twenty years have passed since I began the research upon which it is based. However I look at it, I have lived a long time with the women whose stories you have just heard.
Initially, Abigail Faulkner, Eunice Cole, Ann Hibbens, Elizabeth Knapp, and the scores of other women written about here were simply names recorded in documents that were somehow preserved, their lives almost wholly hidden from view by three centuries of disinterest and neglect. Slowly, painstakingly, I put together pieces of those lives, identifying accused witches' parents, recording the births of their children and the marriages and deaths of their siblings, searching out church records to see if possessed females were godly and court records to see whom if anyone they had offended. 1 Occasionally, I had a really good day, when one document led to another, and then another, and so on until I could glimpse a small episode or series of events in an individual life. More often, I came away with seemingly unconnected evidence, which only gradually took recognizable shape. Not