Local History Book on Goody Garlick Released

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Loretta Orion and her new book, right, on witchcraft in East Hampton. Courtesy photos

Loretta Orion became interested in the Goody Garlick witchcraft case first because it fit her doctoral dissertation at Stony Brook University — research on the history of witchcraft throughout Europe and the Americas — and then because it unfolded in her own backyard.

The longtime Amagansett resident was curious to find how the story either paralleled the witchcraft hysteria in Europe and New England, or how a different outcome was realized in East Hampton, she said, which she explores in her new book, “It Were As Well to Please The Devil as Anger Him: Witchcraft in the Founding Days of East Hampton,” written with Hugh R. King, Catherine Tremblay and Aimee Webb, and published by the East Hampton Library.

“This story and the other witchcraft cases mentioned in my book highlight how the act of dehumanizing people can lead society to inflict awful treatment on those individuals because they are not considered ‘human’ and therefore must be evil,” Orion said in a press release.

The East Hampton Library, located at 159 Main Street, will host a book talk and signing with the authors on Saturday, February 2, from 2 to 4 p.m. The book is available for $20 at the library and BookHampton in East Hampton, as well as Amazon. All proceeds will benefit the Long Island Collection of the East Hampton Library.

“This is a fearsome tale of neighbor against neighbor in the early days of East Hampton, when the now-familiar street names still belonged to the town’s landowners, tenant farmers, pastors, whalers, rogues and heroes,” according to author Dava Sobel. “Here, thirty years before the infamous Salem witch trials, Goody Garlick stood accused of casting her evil eye on a defenseless young mother, and causing her death. Loretta Orion’s gripping account of the case alternately chills and warms the heart.”

For more information, call (631) 324-0222 or visit easthamptonlibrary.org.

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