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Salem Witch Trials

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Salem Witch Trials

Early in 1692, the witch hunt started in Salem, Massachusetts. During

this time there were many stresses in the Massachusetts Bay Colony among

Salem Villages, who had a strong belief in the devil. A town not too far from

Salem had had a recent smallpox outbreak, and created fear and suspicion for

the Salem Villages. Nine-year old Elizabeth Parris and eleven years old

Abigail Williams started having fits, strange behaviors and would scream

with anger. A doctor looked at the girls and decided that

the only explanation was spells caused by witchcraft. The girls then

accused Tituba who was a family slave, Sarah Good, and Sarah Osborne of

telling them tales of omens, voodoo, and witchcraft.

Cotton Mather had just published a book about witchcraft and

the symptoms of the people under the spells. Since the girls fits were much

like those described in Mather's book, the family accepted of the doctor's

conclusion that the girls were under a spell. Leading to the

Trials against Tituba, Sarah Good, and Sarah Osborne as being the

one's responsible to what was occurring to the girls.

On March 1, 1692 John Hawthorne and Jonathan Corwin began of examining the three

accused women.

They asked each one the same questions: Are you a witch? How do

you explain what is happening to these girls? The Three maintained her

innocence, but eventually Tituba confessed to being a witch and claimed that

she, Good, and Osborne had flown through the air on broom sticks and even

talked to the devil. On February 29, warrants were issued for the arrests of

Tituba, Sarah Good and Sarah Osborn. Tituba's acknowledgment showed

Salem that their fears were true. For the next year the people from Salem

searched for witches.

In the following months, many more were accused of witchcraft.

Bridget Williams, Martha Corey, Sarah Cloyce, Rebecca Nurse, and Mary

Eastick all faced charges of witchcraft. Filled to capacity with all the new

trials, Governor William Phips created a special court to hear the witch

cases. The court was known as the Court of Oyer and Terminer. Rebecca

Nurse, Bridget Bishop, and John Proctor all died as convicted witches. The

trials quickly went out of control, and a number of suspected witches were

convicted and hanged. Others that were convicted would be burned, some

even had there hands tied to their feet and would be thrown in a lake

Due to the beliefs of some villagers that claimed if the person convicted

floated in the water they were bewitched, but if they would drown they

weren't. That obviously didn't work so well since all of the convicted

that were tossed in the lake died. Spectral evidence was also a methoed used in the slame

witch trials. it's a testimony given by a person that acuusess another person's spectral shape

or spirit of appering in there dream but at the time the acussed persons body physically was

in another place.

Also, those who stood trial for the crime of witchcraft could be convicted

based on gossip and rumors around the town. The only reasonable way to

avoid implementation was to admit to being a witch. After 1692, nineteen




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