Saturday, October 10, 2015

A Connecticut Witch Catherine Harrison

Printed Saturday the 24th of November 1894 in the Grand Forks Daily Herald out of Grand Fork, North Dakota 
CATHERINE HARRISON, WITCH.
A Paper on the Early Witch Lore of Connecticut. 
Dr. C.J. Hoadly read a paper on “Catherine Harrison, Witch,” at a meeting of the Connecticut Historical society, Dr. Hoadly said that while Catherine Harrison was not executed two were undoubtedly executed for witchcraft in Connecticut, and there were others about whom there might be some doubt. This community was not swept by superstition as were some parts of Massachusetts, but there were those here who held to it.
Catherine Harrison was a house servant before her marriage, and one of the daughters of the house where she worked made oath that she was “notorious liar, a Sabbath breaker and a fortune teller.” The depositions said she had caused sickness to some people, death to others, had an unholy influence over animals, had been seen to appear as a calf and change back to her own shape, and that her form or face had frequently appeared at people’s bedsides and other unlikely places. At this trial she was not convicted. She was arrested again in May, 1669, and again committed to jail. At the following term of court she was indicted, pleaded not guilty and was tried before a jury. This jury then failed to agree, and she was remanded to jail until court should convene again in the fall. At that time the jury rendered a verdict of guilty, but the court was not satisfied. It obtained an expert opinion on witchcraft form some ministers, and still not being satisfied refereed that matter to the general court. She remained in prison until May, 1670, when the general court released her on the payment of the “just fees” of the trial and on condition she should leave the state.

Catherine Harrison left the state and went to Westchester, N. Y., but her reputation preceding her the inhabitants complained to the governor. For some time she was placed under bonds for good behavior. She was afterward released. –Hartford Times.