This essay investigates the historical adaptation of a narrative whose primary image is an animal mistaken for the devil. This critical genealogy charts the narrative’s development from a 1648 pamphlet in England to an 1824 newspaper in Salem, Massachusetts, where it transformed into a tale concerning the New England Thanksgiving tradition. It then considers subsequent permutations and variants of that tale as they relate to the rise of a national holiday, only to be supplanted by narratives concerning the Pilgrims in the late 1800s. It further demonstrates the utility of increasingly accessible newspaper archives for historical research into folk narratives.
Gencarella, Stephen Olbrys
"The Devil Is In The Cellar: The Genealogy of an American Thanksgiving Narrative,"
Narrative Culture: Vol. 10:
1, Article 3.
Available at: https://digitalcommons.wayne.edu/narrative/vol10/iss1/3