Still, it was worth it for the chance to get past the paywall that blocks Evans Digital Database. I dug around in the witchcraft sections and found what I'd always wanted out of life: a PDF of a Cotton Mather book on witchcraft published in 1689, only three years before the infamous witch trials. The book, which had the cumbersome title of Memorable Providences, Relating to Witchcrafts and Possessions, was perfect for me in terms of its publication date. It was published early enough to influence the Salem Witch Trials, and recently enough to still be remembered when they began. Poring through it, I found so many potentially intriguing things: Endorsements from other leading clergymen, a dedication to someone named Wait Still Winthrop, and remarks about the supposed demonic possession and sexual licentiousness of Quakers. Moreover, I found an explosion of new editions in 1697, implying that the witch trials had a positive effect on sales.
It's a juicy read, and I can't wait to really get into it. I especially want to compare the accounts in Mather's book to the accounts given by supposed victims of witchcraft in Salem. In the meantime, though, I need more cough drops.