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Though there are hints at the superstitions held in the community, the first real indication of how deep these beliefs lie comes when Goody Putnam claims she has seen Betty fly, then claims that her daughter Ruth has been touched by the Devil. Parris is terrified that she will spread these rumors to the community at large. He fears this because he knows full well that the accusations will be believed. Here is a part of Act 1, Scene 1 where their conversation and superstitious beliefs are illuminated:
Mrs. Putnam (glancing at Betty): How high did she fly? How high?
Parris: No, no, she never flew --
Mrs. Putnam (very pleased with herself): Why, it's sure she did. Mr. Collins saw her going over Ingersoll's barn, and come down light as a bird, he says!
Parris (shocked): Your Ruth is sick?
Mrs. Putnam (with vicious certainty): I'd not call it sick; the Devil's touch is heavier than sick. It's death, y'know, it's death drivin' into them, forked and hoofed. (Act 1, Scene 1)
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