Lucretia Brown of Ipswich, Christian Scientist, last witchcraft trial in AmericaHouses

Lucretia Brown and the last witchcraft trial in America

lucretia-brownIn 1875, the last charge of witchcraft in this country was brought to trial in Salem. Lucretia Brown, an invalid living on the South Green in Ipswich was a disciple of Mary Baker Eddy, and when she suffered a “relapse” in 1875, Mrs. Eddy convinced her that Daniel Spofford of Newburyport, (whom Mrs. Eddy had recently excommunicated) was exercising mesmeric powers upon her. She had her lawyer in Lynn draw up a bill of complaint in Lucretia Brown’s name, making the following assertion:

“The defendant practices the art of mesmerism and by his said art and the power of his mind influences and controls the minds and bodies of other persons for the purpose of injuring the persons and property and social relations of others.”

The judge threw the case out on the grounds that it was not within the court’s power to control Mr. Spofford’s mind. Read the full story


Lucretia Brown lived in the John Baker house on the South Green, still standing.

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