Sex Tips From Cotton Mather

Love really is one of The Wonders of the Invisible World, and so is witchcraft.

Dear Cotton Mather,

I’m in love. I can’t believe Rebecca Proctor and I are engaged. She is so virtuous. Beautiful smile, raven hair, also she’s got this beauty mark right above her lip. Wow! That really puts a spring in my step. Mark this, she’s smart too! She’s memorized the book of Matthew and Mark! I know, right?! I can’t believe my good fortune. You see… that’s the problem Reverend Mather. I can’t BELIEVE my good fortune. She’s smart, she’s pure and she’s… into me. She’s into Me?! Me! Somethings gotta be wrong, right?

—Waiting For the Other Shoe-Buckle To Drop


Of course something is wrong. SHE’S A WITCH! Smart? A beauty mark? Nay, that’s the devil’s mark! Don’t you know that? “It is commonly thought that when the Devil makes his covenant… he alwaises leaves his mark upon them.” Plus, no woman can memorize the book of Matthew and Mark. My Lord, how much more proof do you need? Remember, nothing is more dangerous than the appearance of virtue, except perhaps a pleasing face. My advice? Run. Or better yet turn her into the authorities.

No good can come of this.

Dear Reverend Mather,

I’m SO SICK OF DATING. Every man I go out with is either an insufferable bore, utterly repulsive, or a candlestick maker. The last date I had was especially horrendous. He took me to the stocks. Yeah, super romantic right? We just stood there while these goons were hooting at the witches. It was so loud and smelly. He didn’t even pay for my ale! Not acceptable. Not a gentleman. Then, at the end of night he walked me home and… shook. my. hand. The nerve. Also, he had insanely hairy knuckles. I thought I was gonna gag. I’ve already dated all of the unmarried men in my village. Yeah, all 5 of them. I just want a man who will plow the fields on Friday and go to Church on Sunday. I’d also love a fella who doesn’t talk much and has at least half his teeth. Am I reaching for the stars here? Ugh. Maybe I should just give up and get a bunch of poppets.

—The Future Poppet Lady of Salem


Wow, that is rough. Indeed, a man who so willingly presses his flesh against yours can not be righteous. A handshake before you are wed? How. Dare. He.

Take heart, while the world is full of many devils there are a few upright men. My child, you are being tested as all of God’s chosen ones are. You must submit yourself to the Lord. As a single Christian woman you are unmoored, untamed, running aimlessly through the wilderness that is the Salem dating pool. Fear not. Just as Christ was tested in the desert so you are being tested now. You must understand that “this wilderness is but a temporary condition through which we are passing to the promised land.” In other words, he’s out there. Pray to the Lord for a mute able-bodied man and He will provide. Also… Andover is but a three-day walk away. I hear Widower Spencer is looking.

Go in peace.

P.S. Please don’t buy a bunch of poppets. Those dolls are creepy.

Dear Cotton Mather,

I wish to marry my neighbor. He has a cow, three goats and has been baptized. It seems an especially suitable arrangement. Also my father’s farm is just next door. Moving is abhorrent under any circumstances but this would be easier, plus my folks are getting tired of feeding me.

There’s just one problem. When I’m around my neighbor I feel an odd stirring just below my abdomen. I also feel woozy when I watch his calloused dirty hands squeezing milk from the cows’ udders.

In addition to these physical afflictions, I find I can not pray when I kneel beside him in Church. Instead of thinking about the pain and suffering of our Lord, I find myself thinking about…er well it’s not important. What is this strange malady? Am I unfit for marriage?

—Hoping to be the Goody Next Door


You looked at the malefactor and were stricken ill? There was a stoppage of prayer when you are around him? Lo, it is rare but it is possible. This man is a WITCH! Indeed, in the army of the devil there are women as well as men (and even a stray dog or two). You must not waste time, report him to the church elders and pray for the redemption of his soul.

Get out now and move on. It is too late for him, but it is not too late for you.