Tom Holland

Speaker: Malcolm Gaskill

Topic: Witches of the New World

Venue: Vinson Lecture Theatre

Time: 10:30-11:30 Saturday 8 October

Talk Summary:

In 1651, in the American frontier town of Springfield, strange things began to happen. Precious food quickly spoils, animals become ill, children die and property disappears. The people of Springfield are seized by fits and plagued by visions and dreams. Amid the turmoil, rumours abound of witches and heretics. For one young couple – Hugh and Mary Parsons – the result is tragedy. By focussing on the terrible events surrounding the Parsons family, Professor Gaskill captures a troubled society torn between a supernatural world and the age of Enlightenment.

Malcolm Gaskill is Emeritus Professor of Early Modern History at the University of East Anglia and one of Britain’s foremost experts on the history of witchcraft. His works include Witchfinders: A Seventeenth Century English Tragedy (2006) and Between Two Worlds: How the English Became Americans (2014). His latest, highly acclaimed work is The Ruin of Witches: Life and Death in the New World.