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THE WICKED WITCH OF EAST HAMPTON
Where Money Meets The Atlantic
THIS SECTION IS RATED R. IT CONTAINS POLITICALLY AND SEXUALLY EXPLICIT AND IMPLICIT LANGUAGE PLUS AN INDEPENDENT COUNSEL REPORT
In 1657, five years after six English witches were tried and executed in Maidstone, Kent and a generation before the infamous Salem witch trials, East Hampton, Long Island had its first and only witchcraft trial. And it had all the drama, innuendo and initial denial of Willie "Slick Tongue" Clinton and "That Woman". We'd finally found an ancestor almost as good as a pirate. Goody Garlick, however, didn't have to bite her lip and say, "I'm sorry" again and again and again ad nauseam.
Her victim was the fifteen-year-old daughter of the most powerful man on eastern Long Island, Lion Gardiner, who owned and lived on Gardiners Island where, in 1700, privateer William Kidd would store part of his treasure. Goody Garlick was the wife of the town carpenter and had been a serving woman on Gardiners Island. The plot thickens.
Shortly after giving birth, Elizabeth Howell, nee Gardiner, said to her husband, Arthur Howell, "Love, I am very ill of my head and fear I shall have the fever." She nursed baby Elizabeth Jr., turned off the TV and took to her bed. As the fever rose, she screeched, "A witch, a witch, now you have come to torture me because I spoke two or three words against you." Lion Gardiner was called to his daughter's bedside and, while he was there, she cried out again and said that there was a black thing at the foot of her bed. Her husband had to restrain her as she struck out violently while raging against the witch.
The town magistrates held a hearing to determine whether or not to send Goody Garlick to Hartford, Connecticut to be tried for witchcraft. All capital offenses were held in the state capital and in 1657 Long Island was part of Connecticut.
At the hearing, Samuel Parsons testified that, as the girl lay senseless with Goody Simons in the bed next to her, he and Arthur Howell heard something scratching on the side of the bed as if something had scratched very hard. Suspicion quickly centered on Goody Garlick the former serving persun (is that PC, or is that PC?) to the Gardiners.
Goody Simons testified that while Elizabeth was nursing Elizabeth Jr., Elizabeth the Elder said, "Goody Garlick was a double-tongued women and did you not see her last night by the bedside ready to pull me to pieces and she pricked me with pins". Goody Simons asked Elizabeth who she saw and was told that it was Goody Garlick in one corner and the black thing in the other corner.
The town was mightily pissed off. Turns out that Goody Garlick was an entrepreneur. She set herself up in the nursing business, sort of a boobs for rent kind of thing. Goody Edwards testified that Goody Garlick had nursed some of the village infants who sickened and died.
Goody Birdsell testified that the child of Goody Davis, another serving persun on Gardiners Island and wife of John Davis - a convicted masturbator who was placed in the pillory and publicly flogged - died as soon as Goody Garlick held it in her arms.
The Red Gods of fate were angry. Dark clouds had gathered over Goody Garlick's head. The town magistrates appointed an independent counsel to investigate the charges. After he rendered a 4,000-page report, she was charged with the evil eye, the sickness of infants, the torments of prickling pain, the blasts of atmosphere by droughts and unseasonable frosts on growing corn, and the death of cattle. She might have been able to cop a plea had it not been for the cattle. Cattle were to East Hampton what camels are to Saudi Arabia.
But behind those dark clouds was a pewter lining. Joshua Garlick the Elder, on his wife's behalf, dialed 1-800-LAWYERS and filed a defamation action against Goody Davis. It's rumored that their Philadelphia lawyer, Johnny Cockroach, was seeking a £1,000 judgement and punitive damages of 6 cows. It's further rumored, that he took the case on contingency. After he learned that Goody Davis and her masturbating husband had no land or money, however, he dropped the case and returned to Philly.
Next enter Lion Gardiner. Through Gardiner's testy intervention, she was acquitted. He let it be known that Goody Davis' baby had not died because of Goody Garlick. The baby had died because Goody Davis had starved it by becoming a wet nurse to an Indian child for the lucre of a little wampum. Goody "The Witch" Garlick was acquitted, though the East Hampton magistrates fined Joshua Garlick £30 on his wife's account. That was to defray the cost incurred by the special prosecutor.
Is there a moral here? Several. First, with such convincing testimony against Goody Garlick, what kind of serving did she do for Lion Gardiner when she was on his island? Could Lion have had a distinguishing mark on his body that would have been known only through intimacy? Had Goody Garlick blackmailed Lion? Did Lion fear his reputation might be damaged if she filed a sexual harassment suit? Or was she just a hapless victim to whose aid he came?
Second, if you're ever in East Hampton, bring lots of money - you'll need it - then check out Lion's body-length tombstone at the cemetery on Main Street. It's truly awesome. Third, don't even think about masturbating in East Hampton. If you must, at least don't get caught. And last, when driving down Main Street in East Hampton, wave a $100 bill and shout GOODY, GOODY, GOODY. Every female in town will come running.