Hi, I'm currently looking at potential dissertation topics and am currently exploring the prevalence of witchcraft in the United States during the 19th century. Searching newspapers, I have found over two dozen court cases related to witchcraft in some way--mostly someone is accused of being a witch and is then violently attacked, which generates the court case, rather than someone actually being put on trial for practicing witchcraft. However, I have so far had no luck finding the court documents that substantiate the claims made in newspapers. I'm wondering if anyone has researched or come across this topic before in southern history.
My interest with this largely rests with why certain people are accused of witchcraft and not others. What is the thought process that goes into selecting the accused person and what can this tell us about the communities in which these people lived.