The Lost Book of Salem by Katherine Howe

Publisher: Penguin Books
Hardback, large print, 459 pages,
ISBN: 9781408430538


SOURCE FROM: Library Collection


Minet Library –

NOTE: the word Salem means in the Book of Genesis, ‘Salem’ is a name of place in which Melchizedek is king. Genesis 14:18 and in the KJV bible it renders this as “Melchizedek king of Salem, the priest of the most high God (El Elyon).” The Hebrew root Salem means “whole, complete” in the idiomatic sense of “at peace”.



The book was good. Instead of being written in just English though, it had the American dialect of New England, as well as the Old English from the 16th century to contend with when reading this book, so you had to be abit of an imagined linguist of being able to put each character and setting part into the context of the narrative. As as that of the Salem Witches stories within the book were written in Old English, that of the New England dialect, which even the main character had difficulty understanding what was being said to her in that twang, but then you relaxed when it got to the 20th century English language that is well understood currently.

My interest was peaked in trying to work out the motive for the Witch hunts, as we had learnt just some of this from my history class when it came to the Reformation and how the Witches were caught up in this, so much so that I thought I’d put my own theory forward:


The motive for the witch hunt goes back in history to Margery Kempe (1373-1438) who made a pilgrimage during 1413, going to the shrine of St. Thomas a Becket in Canterbury. At a local Monastery, a monk challenged her, asking what she knew of God, and she answered that she knew. The monk asked her to name his secret sin, and she replied “Lechery.” He was taken aback, and asked “With single women or married.” “Married,” she replied, and he cried, “She is a right holy woman!”


Now what if this piece of verbal exchange certainly carried around Britain as gossip, as the Kempe woman was examined in public by the Monk within earshot of others, and therefore God’s secret sin was no more a secret then. And any woman of certain social class wanted to be the next Mary, that God sought for sexual liaisons, and if not him the next best would’ve been Christ. And what if then God could be entrapped by ‘cunning women’ feared the human men, they’d see this as an affront to their masculinity also, although I guess not much has changed from this thought in Western society. The outcome?

Forward to 1692, and what if the educated women of Salem, got to know what the town name of Salem meant in Hebrew, that is being God, whole and complete and in peace. The townspeople would all have had differing motives: rivalry at its very worse and sexual competition. The males wanting to show God how virtuous they were, the young females how innocent they were, and older women how righteous they were. All stated in this novel ‘the lost Book of Salem’ through the character of Deliverance Dane, a God fearing woman.

And although the main character Connie was able to read peoples’ outward manifestations of impression and expression, she couldn’t read their inner motives. But the accused witch Deliverance Dane could, on pages 311 and 402 as to the given examples within the book without resorting to spellbinding, for she was a healer only.

So why the witch-hunt in a far-off place such as Salem, New England, says it in the name really and in the behaviour of the residence back then. They wanted to root God in time and in that location, they did an incantation that went wrong, and didn’t want to reverse it, if God could be kept among them, but wait, healing women could free God, that was a risk they couldn’t take, for the Holy Ghost has many benign gifts that he empowers females with as beknown, hence only those that were visibly in their spiritual gifts were charged; the healing women accused of witchcraft being put to death by hanging.

I truly believe that no-one really believed that the Holy Spirit exists, for it astounds me that no-one asked for his help and some still don’t today. But there is a clue within the book of the Holy Ghost’s presence being that of the ability of ‘Divination’ which includes ‘prayer intentions’ such as:

Arise, Lord! Lift up your hand, O God
Do not forget the helpless.
Why does the wicked man revile God?
Why does he say to himself,
“He won’t call me to account?”
But you, O God, do see trouble and grief;
You consider it to take it in hand.
The victim commits himself to you;
You are the helper of the fatherless.
Call him to account for his wickedness
That would not be found out.
The Lord is King forever and ever;
Your hear, O Lord, the desire of the afflicted;
You encourage them, and you listen to their cry
Defending the fatherless and the oppressed
In order that those who are of the earth,
may terrify no more.

(Psalm 10 v.12-18)

And mentioned in the book on page 374 of “…Will? It was not quite, but almost. Intention. In the book it was called variously ‘technick, crafte and authoritie.’ So there would’ve been no need for persecutions


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Filed under Crime/Thrillers, Historical

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