The Devil and Mrs. Maddox
EVIL TO THE CORE
The Nefarious Queen
It was an eerily cold dark morning in Clarkstown, Massachusetts on October 24th, 1792. Joan Maddox got up that morning to make some tea and biscuits for her ailing husband. Mrs. Maddox was cherubically beautiful and exhibited youthfulness which belied her forty-five years on this earth. She was also statuesque and blonde with what could be described as cat eyes i.e. hazel eyes with green flecks. Although Mrs. Maddox's neotonic and cherubic face makes her look angelic, her actions could be described as infernal.
Talk around Clarkstown was that Mrs. Maddox is involved in the nefarious arts which included necromancy. She was also a leader of a coven of witches and warlocks who practiced evil rites which included summoning demonic spirits and entities. .Clarkstown, Massachusetts was established in 1620 by Puritans and its population as of 1792 was around 1,987 people. The population of Clarkstown was composed of farmers, sailors, petty merchants, and a small percentage of wealthy traders. Clarkstown residents are quite religious and very conservative regarding morality.
In Clarkstown, men and women have clearly delineated gender roles. Men were the masters of the world and in their domain. Clarkstown men were expected to be obeyed by their womenfolk and children without question. Women and children in Clarkstown were in very subordinate roles -they were to be seen, not heard. Women and children in Clarkstown were indoctrinated to obey their husbands and fathers without question.
Girls in Clarkstown were inundated to be docile and not to have an independent thought. Their main purpose was to eventually become wives and mothers. Women's lives revolved around the kitchen, children, and church. Independent and freethinking women were seen as pariahs and are ostracized in Clarkstown.
Mrs. Maddox was not your typical Clarkstown woman. She was unconventional and did not conform to Clarkstown's conventions. She professed to being a freethinker regarding women's rights and sexual freedoms. She also did not believe in organized religion because it was her contention that it imprisoned women into rigid social behaviors, was an archaic and outdated superstition, and it caused unsound prejudices. Because Mrs. Maddox did not believe in religion and attending religious services, she was an object of derision by the townspeople.
Mrs. Maddox's maiden name was Winthrop. The Winthrops were an elite family comprised of Congregationalist ministers from several generations including two brothers, a father, two uncles, a grandfather, and a great grandfather. Besides having ministers in the family, the Winthrops had judges, doctors, wealthy merchants, and educators. The Winthrops were pillars in the town and everyone looked up to them.
One distant relative, Jeremiah Winthrop, was a judge who tried and sentenced witches and warlocks to hang in Clarkstown during the late seventeenth century. Mrs. Maddox was raised strictly by her father Reverend Winthrop. She was exhorted by her father to lively prudently as she had to set an example for the town. She was further instructed to never sully the Winthrop name.
Mrs. Maddox bristled under Reverend Winthrop's strict tutelage. She rebelled against her parents' beliefs in many ways. When she was sixteen years of age, she became involved with a older married trader, Isaiah Cane. This clandestine affair caused a scandal in the town. When Reverend Winthrop heard of the affair, he sent her to live with her maternal relatives, the James, in a nearby town. However, despite her tenure with the James family, she continued to be rebellious and her own person.
When Mrs. Maddox was eighteen years of age, she struck out on her own. She remained single for a while. She also had various jobs that included being a business merchant and trader which made her a very lucrative living. At twenty-nine years of age, she got married to her husband, Paul Maddox.
Mr. Maddox was an extremely wealthy yet pious man. He also attended religious services regularly. However, Mrs. Maddox never attended religious services throughout their marriage. She was attracted to practicing the darker side of witchcraft. The Maddoxes marital relationship was frequently stormy. Arguments were rife in the Maddox household. It was understood that Mrs. Maddox did not love her husband but merely tolerated him.
Although Mrs. Maddox was married, she indulged in quite a few extramarital affairs;however, her husband never discovered the affairs. She was so love with a famous town elder, who was a reckless sea captain, from the British West Indies, that she was thinking of leaving her husband. However, this came to naught with the sea captain being killed in a duel by a scion of a wealthy British West Indian family over a beautiful octoroon slave.
Mrs. Maddox was frustrated and wanted more for her life than to be a housewife. Mr. Maddox wanted their marriage to be blessed with children; however, she would have none of it. She regularly used preventives. She viewed children is a detriment to women's freedom. Mrs. Maddox wanted to work outside the home but in eighteenth century New England, married women seldom worked unless it was a dire economic emergency. So Mrs. Maddox sublimated most of her creative energy to her nefarious hobbies and practices.
Every Friday night without fail, Mrs. Maddox would assemble her coven of witches and warlocks in a desolate part of Clarkstown and begin to chant and summon the dark ones. This ritual occurred every Friday from nine o'clock p.m. until five o'clock a.m. Rumor was that one Friday night, there was an unearthly roar and laughing during the ritual which was heard within six miles of Clarkstown. Mrs. Cabe, a very old townswoman, indicated that one night while walking home from visiting her great granddaughter, she heard an infernal voice and saw that the already night sky darkened to a pitch black color. Her already alabaster complexion whitened and she made the sign of the cross and ran as fast as her legs carried her.
People were warned that on Friday nights to stay indoors after dark. Children were further warned that if they were bad, Mrs. Maddox would get and boil you. People have remarked that in addition to Mrs. Maddox practicing nefarious rituals and summoning dark spirits, there were talks that people would mysteriously vanish without a trace. Mrs. Maddox was a force to be reckoned with. No one would be impertinent enough to critique her or be unpleasant to her face. The townspeople remember that one woman, Grace Cook, a very staunch moralist, told Mrs. Maddox to change her ways. Mrs. Cook, a wife of a simple farmer, periodically chastised Mrs. Maddox regarding her freethinking and unconventional ways. Mrs. Cook further told Mrs. Maddox that she was a disgrace to Mr. Maddox and the town, informing her to be a more submissive and obedient wife.
Mrs. Maddox never liked Mrs. Cook and her puritanical, self-righteous friends. To her, Mrs. Cook and her friends are very unhappy women who elect to follow the town's societal conventions without question. Mrs. Maddox felt that Mrs. Cook and her friends are inwardly jealous of her because she is an assertive woman who will not follow any type of law but her own. However, one day Mrs. Cook got under her skin. So one evening, Mrs. Maddox pretended to make amends, inviting Mrs. Cook and all of her friends to her spacious mansion.
Mrs. Maddox had her servant,Betty, a Black woman from Jamaica, prepare a sumptuous feast of pumpkin soup, sourdough bread, roasted chicken with oyster and cornbread stuffing, green peas, buttered potatoes,, and Indian pudding. This was to be washed down with cider. Unbeknowst to the guests, the cider was spiked with a deadly soporific substance As the guests began to arrive, Mrs. Maddox hugged and kissed them. She had Betty show the guests to the dining room and had them seated.
The guests were enjoying their food and drink. Towards the evening, many of the guests become drowsy and disoriented. Mrs. Maddox temporarily left the dining room. When she returned twenty minutes later, all of the guests were dead. Mrs. Maddox instructed Betty and two of her fieldhands to bury the bodies at a very secret location. Betty and the two fieldhands complied with her order, burying all of the guests. As soon as Betty and the fieldhands returned, Mrs. Maddox thanked them and instructed them to retire for the day. Later that night, she went into each of their sleeping quarters to inject them with a deadly substance.
However, the townspeople became suspicious regarding what occurred to Mrs. Cook and her friends. Two weeks later, Mrs. Cabe saw Mrs. Maddox while she was on an outing. Mrs. Cabe inquired Mrs. Maddox as to the whereabouts about her neighhbor and close friend, Mrs. Cook. Mrs. Maddox icily and calmly replied that she did not know. However, Mrs. Cabe sensed that she was lying. Mrs. Cabe began inquriing other townspeople about what happened to Mrs. Cook.
Mrs. Maddox realized that Mrs. Cabe would indict her because she knew too much already. So she intended to get rid of Mrs. Cabe. On an eery night on Friday the 13th, Mrs. Cabe had to visit her great granddaughter's house on an emergency. As she was walking towards her great granddaughter's house, someone or something grabbed Mrs. Cabe and galloped away. The next morning, she was found dead, drained of blood and her heart missing. When her great granddaughter discovered this, she had a stroke from which she never recovered!
As of that moment, the townspeople steered clear of Mrs. Maddox. She was truly a very demonic and menacing presence but people warned each other to keep silent and to mind their own affairs. Many people believed that Mrs. Maddox was not human but an infernal entity from the lower rungs of hell.
Mrs. Maddox's relationship with her husband progressed from mere tolerance to outright hatred. Mrs. Maddox wanted out of her marriage; however, divorce was near to impossible in late eighteenth century Massachusetts. Mrs. Maddox figured that in order to dissolve her marriage, she had to get rid of Mr. Maddox.
On a cool, unusually crisp evening on October 2nd,1792, Mrs. Maddox prepared her husband's favorite dishes to be washed down with tea which has a very secret ingredient. Mr. Maddox was enjoying his dinner hardily. As he went into the parlor, he summoned Mrs. Maddox to bring his tea which she did. As he was drinking his tea, he got dizzy and passed out. Mrs. Maddox and her manservant, Ian MacGowan, a Scottish ex-convict, dragged Mr. Maddox to bed.
When she checked on Mr. Maddox four hours later, much to her chagrin, he was alive. However, he was paralyzed and permanently bedridden, needing constant and consistent care. Mrs. Maddox even had more responsibilities now. She perfunctorily cared for her husband. Repeatedly, she tried to get rid of him but to no avail.
Mrs. Maddox employed another caretaker, Anne Hawthorne, a corpulent sixty year old widow. When Mrs. Hawthorne cared for Mr. Maddox, his eyes revealed how happy he was; however, when Mrs. Maddox came towards him, his eyes showed fear. One early October evening, Mrs. Hawthorne noticed this when Mrs. Maddox was going to give him water. .Mrs. Maddox saw this and she warned Mrs. Hawthorne not to say nor reveal anything to anyone regarding Mr. Maddox.
She further warned Mrs. Hawthorne if she did reveal anything, she would be out of a job. Mrs. Hawthorne, as an indigent widow without family, realized the precarious situation and decided to endure it. Mrs. Maddox treated Mrs. Hawthorne more like a slave than a caretaker but Mrs. Hawthorne can do nothing about it. Mrs. Hawthorne's treatment under Mrs. Maddox ranged from outright verbal hostility to horrific physical abuse. Now, the whole town knew how Mrs. Maddox poisoned her husband to the point of paralysis and how she whipped Mrs. Hawthorne.
On a very preternaturally dark Halloween evening in 1792, Mrs. Maddox decided to retire for the evening. She went into her bedroom to read a Greek classics book and to rest. Later that night, she decided to go out for a brief walk. Women usually did not go out alone at night but Mrs. Maddox was never one to follow convention.
Mrs. Maddox left her mansion and started to walk towards a desolate forest. She heard an eerie sound which was nonhuman and not of this world. The sound became more eerie and louder; however, she chose to ignore it but as she approached the forest, she noticed a figure materializing out of thin air. The footsteps became louder and faster. Mrs. Maddox became scared and started to run but she cannot outrun the phantasmagorical apparition. The apparition materialized. What appeared before her was a tall male figure with very dark olive skin and jet black hair. His dark complexion was highlighted by black eyes that were extremely piercing.
The figure was strikingly handsome and dressed entirely in black leather. His hair was very long and he wore an earring in his left ear. His height could be estimated to be at least six foot six tall. He also was extremely muscular. Mrs. Maddox asked him who he was. The Dark Stranger did not answer her but bade her to go with him. However, Mrs. Maddox hesitated and he snatched her and they galloped away into the dark night. Mrs. Maddox was never heard from again.
Three weeks have passed and the town was awhirl about what happened to Mrs. Maddox. Some say that she left town with a lover. However, many people believed that the Devil in the guise of a human being snatched Mrs. Maddox away to Hell, remarking that she got what she deserved.
© 2010 Grace Marguerite Williams
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