His great great grandmother (if I read right) was hung for being a witch
Yeah, things usually didn't end well for people who ran afoul of Cotton Mather. Good for Martha for not admitting to or confessing anything!
"Cotton Mather denounced her as a 'rampant hag' whom the Devil had promised 'should be the queen of Hell.' She was arrested, convicted and, on August 19, 1692, hanged on Salem's Gallows Hill. Later it was recorded that of all the New Englanders charged with witchcraft, 'Martha Carrier was the only one, male or female, who did not at some time or other make an admission or confession.'"
I forget where, but I recently read a piece about him that described him as the first paranormal investigator in North America, because he collected stories of supernatural events allegedly caused by the Devil or his followers in the colonies and wrote accounts of them. I've read some of those in a book I have called America Begins
, which is a fascinating collection of 17th Century essays and articles on a variety of subjects by prominent colonial figures of the time, and they're pretty wild. Of course, he didn't personally witness any of the events, but he solemnly vouches for the veracity and "Godliness" of all the witnesses. Sounds like he would have made a great guest for Art back in the day!