Scholars suggest that Mather's dramatic descriptions the devil's activity upon the young Goodwin children may have led to the first cry of witchcraft among the young girls in Salem Village.
Cotton Mather was born on Feb. 12th 1663 into a puritan family of reverends. Besides his involvement with the witch trials in Salem during the 1690s, Cotton Mather is remembered as one of the most influential Puritan ministers of his day.
This is a quote from Cotton Mather regarding his belief on the Salem Witch trials. "They which lie, must go to their father, the devil, into everlasting burning; they which never pray, God will pour out his wrath upon them; and when they bed and pray in hell fire, God will not forgive them, but there [they] must lie forever. Are you willing to go to hell and burn with the devil and his angels?".
Mather was also the author of the "Return of the Several Ministers," a report sent to the judges of the Salem court. This carefully-worded document advised caution in the use of spectral evidence, saying that the devil could indeed assume the shape of an innocent person, and decrying the use of spectral evidence in the trials, their "noise, company, and openness"
Mather actually took the eldest of the Goodwin children, 13-year-old Martha, into his home to make a more intense study of the phenomenon. Later it was discovered as clinical hysteria that Martha was going through.