100 books like Salem Possessed

By Paul Boyer, Stephen Nissenbaum,

Here are 100 books that Salem Possessed fans have personally recommended if you like Salem Possessed. Shepherd is a community of 10,000+ authors and super readers sharing their favorite books with the world.

Shepherd is reader supported. When you buy books, we may earn an affiliate commission.

Book cover of Entertaining Satan: Witchcraft and the Culture of Early New England

Bryan Le Beau Author Of The Story of the Salem Witch Trials

From my list on the story behind the Salem Witch Trials.

Why am I passionate about this?

A native of Massachusetts and married to a descendent of two of the accused, the Salem witch trials have long fascinated me. Armed with a Ph.D. in American studies from New York University – focused on American history, literature, and religion – a significant portion of my academic career has been devoted to research, publications, classes, and public lectures on the Salem witch trials, reflected in the third edition of my book, The Story of the Salem Witch Trials. The book is only one of several books and many articles I have published on various aspects of American cultural history, many of which relate in some way to what happened in Salem in 1692.  

Bryan's book list on the story behind the Salem Witch Trials

Bryan Le Beau Why did Bryan love this book?

John Putnam Demos remains the “dean” of historians of the Salem witch trials. 

Entertaining Satan remains his most impactful contribution to the study of the events of 1692 by providing their cultural context in early New England, upon which historians have built over the years expanding upon Demos’ findings.

Perhaps his greatest contribution is his interdisciplinary approach invoking the research tools of psychology and sociology, as well as cultural history. His concluding chapter, “Communities: Witchcraft over Time,” provides broadly, excellent insights drawn from his extensive research.  

By John Putnam Demos,

Why should I read it?

4 authors picked Entertaining Satan as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

In the first edition of the Bancroft Prize-winning Entertaining Satan, John Putnam Demos presented an entirely new perspective on American witchcraft. By investigating the surviving historical documents of over a hundred actual witchcraft cases, he vividly recreated the world of New England during the witchcraft trials and brought to light fascinating information on the role of witchcraft in early American culture. Now Demos has revisited his original work
and updated it to illustrate why these early Americans' strange views on witchcraft still matter to us today. He provides a new preface that puts forth a broader overview of witchcraft and…


Book cover of Records of the Salem Witch-Hunt

Bryan Le Beau Author Of The Story of the Salem Witch Trials

From my list on the story behind the Salem Witch Trials.

Why am I passionate about this?

A native of Massachusetts and married to a descendent of two of the accused, the Salem witch trials have long fascinated me. Armed with a Ph.D. in American studies from New York University – focused on American history, literature, and religion – a significant portion of my academic career has been devoted to research, publications, classes, and public lectures on the Salem witch trials, reflected in the third edition of my book, The Story of the Salem Witch Trials. The book is only one of several books and many articles I have published on various aspects of American cultural history, many of which relate in some way to what happened in Salem in 1692.  

Bryan's book list on the story behind the Salem Witch Trials

Bryan Le Beau Why did Bryan love this book?

This latest compilation of the records of the Salem witch trials is a must for anyone researching any aspect of the trials. 

Its importance lies not only in its comprehensive documentation of the events of 1692, but also in its inclusion of several documents newly discovered since previous publications offering such records. It also provides corrections that have been made in previous collections, dating to the work of the WPA in the 1930s.

The records are arranged chronologically, but also well indexed, along with a general introduction, linguistic introduction, biographical notes, and bibliography.  

By Bernard Rosenthal,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Records of the Salem Witch-Hunt as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

This book represents a comprehensive record of all legal documents pertaining to the Salem witch trials, in chronological order. Numerous manuscripts, as well as records published in earlier books that were overlooked in other editions, offer a comprehensive narrative account of the events of 1692-3, with supplementary materials stretching as far as the mid-18th century. The book can be used as a reference book or read as an unfolding narrative. All legal records are newly transcribed, and included in this edition is a historical introduction, a legal introduction, and a linguistic introduction. Manuscripts are accompanied by notes that, in many…


Book cover of A Storm of Witchcraft: The Salem Trials and the American Experience

Bryan Le Beau Author Of The Story of the Salem Witch Trials

From my list on the story behind the Salem Witch Trials.

Why am I passionate about this?

A native of Massachusetts and married to a descendent of two of the accused, the Salem witch trials have long fascinated me. Armed with a Ph.D. in American studies from New York University – focused on American history, literature, and religion – a significant portion of my academic career has been devoted to research, publications, classes, and public lectures on the Salem witch trials, reflected in the third edition of my book, The Story of the Salem Witch Trials. The book is only one of several books and many articles I have published on various aspects of American cultural history, many of which relate in some way to what happened in Salem in 1692.  

Bryan's book list on the story behind the Salem Witch Trials

Bryan Le Beau Why did Bryan love this book?

In his latest book, Baker explores the various explanations for the Salem witch trials. He concludes that there was no single factor, but rather the result of a convergence of conditions, political, social, cultural, and economic. 

He focuses on key players in the outbreak, including the accused, the accusers, the judges, and government officials who failed to deal with the hysteria in a timely manner, thereby sparing those who lost their lives in the process.

In his final chapter, he discusses the response of Salem town, “witch city,” to the events of 1692 and its attempt to mine the tourist opportunities while recognizing the personal tolls taken by the accused. 

By Emerson W. Baker,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked A Storm of Witchcraft as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Beginning in January 1692, Salem Village in colonial Massachusetts witnessed the largest and most lethal outbreak of witchcraft in early America. Villagers-mainly young women-suffered from unseen torments that caused them to writhe, shriek, and contort their bodies, complaining of pins stuck into their flesh and of being haunted by specters. Believing that they suffered from assaults by an invisible spirit, the community began a hunt to track down those responsible
for the demonic work. The resulting Salem Witch Trials, culminating in the execution of 19 villagers, persists as one of the most mysterious and fascinating events in American history.

Historians…


Book cover of The Witch-Hunt in Early Modern Europe

Bryan Le Beau Author Of The Story of the Salem Witch Trials

From my list on the story behind the Salem Witch Trials.

Why am I passionate about this?

A native of Massachusetts and married to a descendent of two of the accused, the Salem witch trials have long fascinated me. Armed with a Ph.D. in American studies from New York University – focused on American history, literature, and religion – a significant portion of my academic career has been devoted to research, publications, classes, and public lectures on the Salem witch trials, reflected in the third edition of my book, The Story of the Salem Witch Trials. The book is only one of several books and many articles I have published on various aspects of American cultural history, many of which relate in some way to what happened in Salem in 1692.  

Bryan's book list on the story behind the Salem Witch Trials

Bryan Le Beau Why did Bryan love this book?

Brian Levack is the leading authority on the history of witch-hunts in Europe.

Anyone seeking to fully understand the events of 1692 in Salem, needs to begin with a study of the 250 years of witch-hunts in Europe that preceded the outbreak in New England, which came late in the game but followed what occurred in many ways what preceded it. 

Levack’s book, now in its fourth edition, is the best source on this subject.  It includes information on the Salem witch trials in context of what happened in Europe. 

By Brian P. Levack,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked The Witch-Hunt in Early Modern Europe as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The Witch-Hunt in Early Modern Europe, now in its fourth edition, is the perfect resource for both students and scholars of the witch-hunts written by one of the leading names in the field. For those starting out in their studies of witch-beliefs and witchcraft trials, Brian Levack provides a concise survey of this complex and fascinating topic, while for more seasoned scholars the scholarship is brought right up to date. This new edition includes the most recent research on children, gender, male witches and demonic possession as well as broadening the exploration of the geographical distribution of witch prosecutions to…


Book cover of Witchcraft at Salem

Marilynne K. Roach Author Of Six Women of Salem: The Untold Story of the Accused and Their Accusers in the Salem Witch Trials

From my list on why the Salem Witch Trials occurred.

Why am I passionate about this?

After years of sporadic interest in the 1692 trials, Roach became obsessed with the subject after a 1975 trip to Salem itself. Her resulting history, The Salem Witch Trials: a Day-by-Day Chronicle of a Community Under Siege, called “a virtual encyclopedia of the entire affair,” and “a Bible of the witch trials,” led to her stint as a sub-editor for the Records of the Salem Witch-Hunt, and membership in the Gallows Hill Group that verified the site of the 1692 hangings, one of Archaeology magazine’s Top Ten discoveries of 2016. Her most recent book to date presents biographies of a half dozen of the major players in the tragedy, giving voices to women who, save for the tragedy, would likely have been lost to history.

Marilynne's book list on why the Salem Witch Trials occurred

Marilynne K. Roach Why did Marilynne love this book?

While I do not agree with all of the author’s conclusions, this book showed me the prevalence of folk-charms in the culture, as well as the psychological reactions humans have to stress that could explain some of what happened with the “bewitched.”

By Chadwick Hansen,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Witchcraft at Salem as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Trial documents and contemporary narratives are used in this discussion of the practice of witchcraft in seventeenth-century New England.


Book cover of The Witches: Suspicion, Betrayal, and Hysteria in 1692 Salem

T.M. Blanchet Author Of Herrick's End

From my list on truth that is stranger than fiction.

Why am I passionate about this?

I write about magic, witches, and weirdness—and all of it is inspired by the strange and startlingly true stories that hide just below the simmering surface of America’s melting pot. As a former journalist, I learned that everyone has an interesting tale to tell. And as a fiction writer, I’ve learned that all of that truth can be spun into something even more fun and fantastical. Reality, after all, is relative. 

T.M.'s book list on truth that is stranger than fiction

T.M. Blanchet Why did T.M. love this book?

For me, Stacy Schiff’s masterpiece is the end-all, be-all resource when it comes to the history of early America’s witchcraft trials—which, it turns out, extended far beyond the village of Salem. The seed for my own novel came from one tiny line in the book’s “Cast of Characters” index: “Herrick, George, well-born, handsome Salem deputy sheriff in his thirties…Spends 1692 rounding up and transporting witches.”

By Stacy Schiff,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Witches as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

This book is written specifically for family or primary care physicians who encounter substance abuse in their daily practice. A Clinical Guide to Drug and Alcohol Problems provides a comprehensive overview to help diagnose and treat these problems. The first five chapters provide basic information on historical and cultural issues, plus the pharmacology of all abused drugs the physician is likely to come into contact with and the epidemiology and etiology of substance abuse problems. The author then addresses the clinical manifestions and course of addiction; diagnostic techniques; principles of clinical management, treatment, and rehabilitation of addictive and other associated…


Book cover of A Delusion of Satan: The Full Story of the Salem Witch Trials

Neill McKee Author Of Guns and Gods in My Genes: A 15,000-mile North American search through four centuries of history, to the Mayflower

From my list on to understand the true founding of America.

Why am I passionate about this?

During my childhood in Canada, I was fascinated by the “Wild West” and the fact that my maternal grandmother, who lived with us, was born in Wisconsin in 1876, when Jesse James was still robbing trains. I became an international multimedia producer, and I always took an entertainment-based approach to my work, grounded in research. After I retired, I began to search for my roots, uncovering interesting stories of my ancestors. Besides accessing websites and books, I traveled to where they lived to gain insights, meet historians, and distant cousins. I also engaged expert genealogists to prove my lineage back to the Mayflower and Puritan settlers of New England. That allowed me to join the Mayflower Society.

Neill's book list on to understand the true founding of America

Neill McKee Why did Neill love this book?

I read this book because Salem was founded by another ancestor of mine, Roger Conant. He first settled in Plymouth but could not abide the Pilgrims’ fanatical creed. He was a Puritan but not a religious separatist. Most Puritans had dreams of reforming the Church of England, starting in America. Fortunately, Conant died before the Salem Witch Trials began, for he would have been shocked at these developments. (Unfortunately for him, the town stuck his statue in front of the Witch Museum.) Frances Hill’s book is a blow-by-blow account of how the hysteria of some adolescent girls captured the minds of Massachusetts’ residents, including educated people, causing the death of 20 innocent people. It is also a study of Puritan culture, as it went more and more “off the rails.”

By Frances Hill,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked A Delusion of Satan as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

This acclaimed history illuminates the horrifying episode of Salem with visceral clarity, from those who fanned the crisis to satisfy personal vendettas to the four-year-old "witch" chained to a dank prison wall in darkness till she went mad. Antonia Fraser called it "a grisly read and an engrossing one."


Book cover of The Salem Witch Hunt: A Brief History with Documents

Lu Ann Homza Author Of Village Infernos and Witches' Advocates: Witch-Hunting in Navarre, 1608-1614

From my list on the trauma of European witch-hunting.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am a historian of early modern Europe, with a research focus on Spain and Italy. I first encountered archival documents from the Spanish Inquisition during research for my first book: I was already a fan of religious history but quickly became a fan of studying the law. I am fascinated by the ways in which people between the 1500s and 1700s used the legal systems at their disposal to recapture honor and pursue enemies. I am always on the lookout for ways in which religious prescriptions from centralized authorities did not match what was happening on the ground with ordinary, usually illiterate people.

Lu's book list on the trauma of European witch-hunting

Lu Ann Homza Why did Lu love this book?

Godbeer’s introductory essay to this collection of primary sources is a model of clarity and up-to-date findings about America’s most famous witch hunt.

His scholarship has all the right pieces: attention to the often young female accusers, an exposition of how and why Puritanism highlighted the diabolical as a constant fear, and an assessment of potential failures of masculinity among the accused men.

By Richard Godbeer,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Salem Witch Hunt as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Get a clearer understanding of why the Salem Witch Trials actually took place as Salem Witch Hunt explores how gender norms, social tensions, and the Puritan's worldview influenced this infamous period in colonial history.


Book cover of Narratives Of The Witchcraft Cases, 1648-1706

Marilynne K. Roach Author Of Six Women of Salem: The Untold Story of the Accused and Their Accusers in the Salem Witch Trials

From my list on why the Salem Witch Trials occurred.

Why am I passionate about this?

After years of sporadic interest in the 1692 trials, Roach became obsessed with the subject after a 1975 trip to Salem itself. Her resulting history, The Salem Witch Trials: a Day-by-Day Chronicle of a Community Under Siege, called “a virtual encyclopedia of the entire affair,” and “a Bible of the witch trials,” led to her stint as a sub-editor for the Records of the Salem Witch-Hunt, and membership in the Gallows Hill Group that verified the site of the 1692 hangings, one of Archaeology magazine’s Top Ten discoveries of 2016. Her most recent book to date presents biographies of a half dozen of the major players in the tragedy, giving voices to women who, save for the tragedy, would likely have been lost to history.

Marilynne's book list on why the Salem Witch Trials occurred

Marilynne K. Roach Why did Marilynne love this book?

This collection of contemporary 17th century works covering (mostly New England) witch-related cases before, during and after the 1692 trials was one of the earliest sources I discovered at my local public library back in the early 1960s. It provides a window into the varying reactions people had to the uncanny and what they did about it.

By George Lincoln Burr,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Narratives Of The Witchcraft Cases, 1648-1706 as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

This book has been considered by academicians and scholars of great significance and value to literature. This forms a part of the knowledge base for future generations. So that the book is never forgotten we have represented this book in a print format as the same form as it was originally first published. Hence any marks or annotations seen are left intentionally to preserve its true nature.


Book cover of Death in Salem: The Private Lives Behind the 1692 Witch Hunt

Diana Rubino Author Of For The Love Of Hawthorne

From my list on the 1692 “witch” hunts in Salem Village.

Why am I passionate about this?

I write historical and biographical novels, and have had a fascination with the Salem witch trials since childhood. With my first visit to Salem, I felt a strong connection to my surroundings and its history. When I walked through the House of the Seven Gables for the first time, I felt I’d been there before. Three past-life regressions brought me back to 17th century Salem. In my biographical novel For The Love Of Hawthorne, I delved deeply into the soul of my favorite author, his devoted wife, and the shame his family suffered at the hand of his ancestor Judge Hathorne. The story came from my heart, as I lived their story along with them. 

Diana's book list on the 1692 “witch” hunts in Salem Village

Diana Rubino Why did Diana love this book?

Diane Foulds, a descendant of one of the victims condemned to death during the Salem Witch Trials, thoroughly researched many of the people involved in the events that led to the execution of 19 innocent victims. I am not a descendant, but these events have fascinated me since childhood, because they were so outlandish and led to such unnecessary tragedy. In this book you will learn about not only the victims, but the ‘afflicted’ young girls whose wild, unfounded accusations and theatrics during the trials convinced the judges that many people were witches. It is easy to connect with each individual, as the book centers on them, to understand why the entire episode was character-driven. It is even easier to sympathize with the victims and appreciate how they suffered. 

By Diane E. Foulds,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Death in Salem as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Salem witchcraft will always have a magnetic pull on the American psyche. During the 1692 witch trials, more than 150 people were arrested. An estimated 25 million Americans-including author Diane Foulds-are descended from the twenty individuals executed. What happened to our ancestors? Death in Salem is the first book to take a clear-eyed look at this complex time, by examining the lives of the witch trial participants from a personal perspective. Massachusetts settlers led difficult lives; every player in the Salem drama endured hardships barely imaginable today. Mercy Short, one of the "bewitched" girls, watched as Indians butchered her parents;…


5 book lists we think you will like!

Interested in the Salem witch trials, witchcraft, and Massachusetts?

10,000+ authors have recommended their favorite books and what they love about them. Browse their picks for the best books about the Salem witch trials, witchcraft, and Massachusetts.

The Salem Witch Trials Explore 26 books about the Salem witch trials
Witchcraft Explore 306 books about witchcraft
Massachusetts Explore 134 books about Massachusetts