Word of the Week 061021

Bridget Bishop

Bridget Bishop

Greetings Word of the Week fans and welcome to the June 10 edition of Clarion County's favorite word game.

It was on this date in 1692 that the first victim of the Salem witch trials, Bridget Bishop, was hanged for witchcraft in the colony of Massachusetts that's 329 years ago.

Willing to please others was examined due to her accusation of suspicion of "sundry acts of witchcraft."

A record was given of her trial by Cotton Mather in "Wonders of the Invisible World." In his book, Mather recorded that several people testified against Bishop, stating that the shape of Bishop would pinch, choke or bite them.

The shape also threatened to drown one victim if she did not write her name in a certain book. During the trial, anytime Bishop would look upon one of those supposed to be tortured by her, they would be immediately struck down and only her touch would revive them

Some rather odd stuff if you ask us.

But nowhere in the transcripts of the trial does the word complaisant appear.

Does complaisant mean:

A: Mysterious. There was no doubt Bridget Bishop was complaisant, but it wasn't fair to call her a witch.

B: Willing to please others. With her pleas of innocence, Bridget Bishop was not complaisant with her testimony.

C: Foul smelling. Part of Bridget Bishop's problem with her neighbors was she was just plain complaisant nobody wanted to be near her.

D: Pleasant. If Bridget has been more complaisant with the town elders, she might have survived the trial.

Even Bishop's own husband claimed she praises the devil. Bridget's trial lasted eight days and was recorded to be the first woman to die from hanging. During her sentencing, a jury of women found a third nipple upon Bishop (then considered a sure sign of witchcraft), yet upon a second examination the nipple was not found.

In the end Mather states that the biggest thing that condemned Bishop was the gross amount of lying she committed in court.

According to Mather, "there was little occasion to prove the witchcraft, it being evident and notorious to all beholders."

The correct answer to the Word of the Week challenge is "B."