About 30 years prior to the start of the Salem Witch Trial in 1662 another witch hunt hysteria swept through another New England village, Hartford, Connecticut. Parents to a little girl were convinced she had been possessed and took ill after spending time with her neighbor. Soon after the little girls death, accusations and finger pointing were aimed at several of the village people thus starting the first witch hysteria.
In that same time there was a reported 100 plus cases of witchcraft. Of those reported cases, fifteen had ended in execution. Thirty years later between June and September in 1692, another nineteen men and women had been convicted of witchcraft and was sentenced to death by hanging. Though all the hysteria at the time, hundreds of others were faced with accusations and many imprisoned without trials for months.
Earlier experiences and peoples beliefs around witchcraft set the stage for the witch trial of 1692. Lots of precedence was already established. In 1642, witchcraft was one of twelve capitol crimes punishable by death. Laws were written and governed to take literal biblical passages as divinity. One such passage is Leviticus 20:27 “A man also or women that hath a familiar spirit, or that is a wizard, shall surely be put to death”.
Prior to the second wave of hysteria two girls, Betty Parris and Abigail Williams, who were the niece and daughter of the minister of Salem Village. These two girls were stricken with an illness that presented some weird symptoms which frightened the minister and his wife. The symptoms of this illness was unknown and the usual remedies had little to no effect. One of the typical remedies included prayer and fasting.
Since the traditional remedies were not working, th...
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...en ask, “how do you know you are not a witch?”. Another test, the swimming test, was to bound a persons hands and feet and show them to water. If was believed that witches are unable to sink.
Salem held it final witch trial in 1697. As quickly as the hysteria swept though the village it left… During the second period of hysteria there were 46 prosecutions and at least 11 executions.
Klein, C. (2012). Before Salem, the First American Witch Hunt. [Webpage] History in the Headlines, Oct. 31. From http://www.history.com/news/before-salem-the-first-american-witch-hunt
Linder, D. THE SALEM WITCHCRAFT TRIALS: A biographical sketch of Tituba. [Website]. From http://law2.umkc.edu/faculty/projects/ftrials/salem/asa_tit.htm
Linder, D. The Witchcraft Trials in Salem: A Commentary [Website]. From http://law2.umkc.edu/faculty/projects/ftrials/salem/SAL_ACCT.HTM