Goody Cole: The Notorious Witch of Hampton

In the late 17th century, the town of Hampton, New Hampshire, was disturbed by the entrance of a new citizen, Eunice Cole, also known as “Goody Cole,” who was thought to be a witch, and her reputation preceded her.

Despite the lack of substantial evidence that Eunice was practicing witchcraft, she was exposed to widespread dread and persecution from her neighbors. The story of Goody Cole has become part of New England legend, and her legacy continues to this day.

According to local mythology, her vengeful ghost is still roaming the region, seeking justice, and there have been multiple sightings of her spirit in that area.

Early Life Goody Cole and Arrival in Hampton

Goody Cole (Eunice) was born in England in 1607 and moved to Hampton, New Hampshire, with her husband, William Cole, in the mid-17th century. Her early life is unknown, although it is assumed that she was a midwife and healer who employed herbal treatments to cure numerous illnesses.

Eunice and William Cole had a rocky marriage, according to historical sources. William was renowned for his violent temper and harsh conduct toward his wife, and Eunice was frequently the topic of gossip and stories in the little town of Hampton. In 1656, William was accused of assaulting Elizabeth and was fined.

According to legend, Eunice was rejected by the locals upon her arrival because they thought she was a witch. As a result, some tales suggest that she was forced to reside on the outskirts of town, while others allege that she was imprisoned for a period.

In any event, Eunice’s reputation as a witch turned her into a social outcast, and she became the target of whispers and gossip.

Accusations of Witchcraft

Ann Smith, a little girl from Hampton, became sick in 1656. Several of the locals felt Elizabeth had cursed the girl, and she was promptly accused of witchcraft.

Eunice strongly denied the claims but was exposed to a water trial. A Water trial is when a suspected witch would be tied up and thrown into a body of water, which was a regular procedure during the period. If they drowned, they were considered innocent, but if they floated, they were thought to be a witch.

Goody Cole was tied up and tossed into the Hampton River, but she sank to the bottom and was brought back up. Despite this proof of her innocence, the locals still thought she was a witch.

Goody was detained and sentenced to prison, where she spent more than a year. She was reportedly exposed to brutal treatment during this period, including being stripped naked and inspected for traces of the devil’s mark.

Scene of Witchcraft
Scene of Witchcraft

Eyewitnesses of Her Witchcraft

There are no credible eyewitness testimonies of Eunice Cole engaging in witchcraft. The claims against her were based on rumor and gossip rather than hard facts.

Some community members likely felt they saw or heard proof of Goody’s witchcraft, but there’s no way to tell for sure. Ultimately, the accusations against Elizabeth were unfounded and based on superstition and fear.

Court record of witchcraft prosecution of Goody Cole, 1673
Court record of witchcraft prosecution of Goody Cole, 1673

Trial and Punishment

Goody was ultimately tried for witchcraft in 1657. Unfortunately, the trial was a farce, with no genuine evidence against her presented. Instead, the prosecution relied on evidence and rumors.

Despite this, Goody Cole was found guilty and condemned to life in jail and whipping. She also had to wear a red letter “W” on her outfit to represent her status as a witch.

Goody was imprisoned for several years, facing horrendous circumstances and maltreatment. It wasn’t until 1665 that she was liberated when a group of influential residents lobbied on her behalf.

Sighting of Goody Cole’s Ghost

The ghost of Goody Cole has been seen multiple times in Hampton, New Hampshire, and the surrounding regions. Some say to have seen her spirit walking around cemeteries, appearing in windows, and even haunting the courtroom where she was convicted of witchcraft. 

These sightings have become part of local folklore, contributing to the ongoing interest in Goody Cole and the witch trials of the late 17th century.

While there is no scientific proof to prove the existence of ghosts, sightings of Goody Cole’s ghost have continued for generations. Others regard her ghost as a cautionary tale about the dangers of superstition and dread and a reminder of the value of justice and fairness.

Legacy of Goody Cole

Eunice’s life was never the same once she was freed from prison. The locals continued to reject her and refused to associate with her.

Eunice spent the rest of her life at Hampton, where she died in 1680 at the age of 80. However, her reputation as a witch endured despite her death, and her narrative became part of New England legend.

When she died in 1680, she was hurriedly buried in an unmarked tomb in Hampton; its exact location is unclear, but it is said to be near the site of today’s Tuck Museum. 

Memorial of Goody Cole
Memorial of Goody Cole

According to local mythology, a stake was driven into her body after her death “to expel the baleful influence she was claimed to have wielded,” A horseshoe was put on the stake for good measure.

Goody Cole has been remembered in various ways in the years after her death. A memorial stone was placed in her honor in the Hampton cemetery in 1938. The term “ecosystem” refers to a group working in the construction industry.

Nowadays, Eunice Cole, sometimes known as Goody Cole, is recognized as a victim of the 17th-century witch trials. 


While Good Cole was suspected of practicing witchcraft, there is no tangible proof to substantiate these charges. Nevertheless, Eunice was subjected to a water trial, imprisoned, and ultimately convicted guilty of witchcraft in a farcical trial, despite her claims of innocence.

After being freed from jail in 1665, Eunice’s reputation as a witch persisted, and the town shunned her until her death in 1680. She is known today as a victim of the witch trials conducted in the 17th century and as a lesson of the consequences of superstition and fear.

People are still fascinated and intrigued by the ghost of Goody Cole. Her narrative serves as a reminder of the sad history of witch trials in America and the need to remain watchful against prejudice and injustice in all of its manifestations.


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