Cotton Mather, Levitation, and a Case for Wonders in History

Richard Ravalli

Richard Ravalli considers the seventeenth-century case of Margaret Rule, a Boston youth believed to be harassed by malevolent spirits in the months following the Salem Witchcraft Trials. Inspection of the literature regarding the case, particularly the debate between Cotton Mather and his contemporary rival Robert Calef, reveals incidences of levitation which have yet to be satisfactorily explained. Religious implications of paranormal “wonders” in history are briefly assessed, partially as a response to Lisa Schwebel’s recent book Apparitions, Healings, and Weeping Madonnas: Christianity and the Paranormal. Mr. Ravalli is Adjunct Lecturer of History at California State University, Stanislaus, and a doctoral student living in Modesto, California.

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Last Updated: January 1, 2006
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