Bishop, Bridget (d. 1692)

PaganGreen Pagan Witches

Bishop, Bridget (d. 1692) The first victim of the Salem
Witches hysteria in Massachusetts in 1692–93. Bridget
Bishop was the first to be accused and examined, and the
first to be tried and executed.
Bishop was an easy target when the hysteria began. She
was not well regarded by her neighbors, for she owned a
tavern and exhibited “loose” behavior. She dressed provocatively,
and some of her younger tavern patrons were
known to stay well past closing, drinking and playing
games.
According to the testimony lodged against Bishop, she
had bewitched a baby and a girl to death, paid a man in
disappearing money, caused various mishaps with carts
and horses and paid nocturnal visits to a man as a glowing
apparition that hopped around his room in a cloak. She
also had bewitched people into serious illnesses, caused
people to argue violently and bewitched animals.
John Lowder, 24, a laborer, testified that Bishop tormented
him numerous times after they argued over her
chickens damaging the gardens of Lowder’s employer.
Lowder said he woke up one night to find Bishop sitting
on his chest. She tried to choke him.
Lowder also said that he had other dark bedroom visitors:
a black pig and a flying demon that had the body of
a monkey, the feet of a rooster and the face of an old man.
The demon told him he was sent by the Devil and promised
him money if he would pledge himself. Lowder chased the
creature out of his room. It disappeared, but he saw Bishop
in the distance. When he returned to his room, the demon
came back. Lowder invoked God and it flew out, causing
apples to fall from trees. It kicked gravel into Lowder’s
stomach, and he was unable to eat for three days.
Cotton Mather said that when Bishop was brought
to trial, he had no doubt of her guilt. With a look, she
brought in an invisible demon who damaged part of the
courthouse.
Bishop was executed by hanging on June 10, 1692