The Witch Trials of Salem

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The Witch Trials of Salem Though only a seven-month “trend,” the Salem Witch Trials (SWTs) led to the executions and imprisonments of several innocent people. The SWTs were the examinations, trials, and executions of alleged “witches” beginning in late February 1692 and ending in late October 1692. The SWTs began in Salem Village, Massachusetts (currently Danvers, Massachusetts). The SWTs began with the “circle girls”: Betty Parris, Abigail Williams, Ann Putnam, Jr., Elizabeth Hubbard, Mercy Lewis, and Mary Walcott. The “circle girls” were the little “afflicted” girls of Salem, who were also known as the accusers. The actual accusations began with nine-year old Betty Parris and her twelve-year old cousin, Abigail Williams. The two girls began throwing tantrums, acting erratically, and exhibiting extreme physical contortions. Since the Reverend Samuel Parris and other local ministers were unable to remedy the girls’ behaviors through prayer, Dr. William Griggs, the village physician, was consulted. He pronounced that the girls were suffering from the “Evil Hand.” Meanwhile, several of the girls’ friends began acting similarly. The girls were then pushed by the townspeople to give the names of all of the “witches.” A “witch/ wizard” is a woman/man who practices “witchcraft,” or magic/sorcery. Every person accused of being a “witch/wizard” usually was accused or was pressured into confession. The first three people accused and arrested of allegedly being a “witch” were Tituba, Sarah Good, and Sarah Osborne. Tituba was a slave-woman from Barbados. While living on the island of Barbados as a slave, she was purchased by Reverend Parris. Tituba was the first person accused of being a witch, and because Tituba was also t... ... middle of paper ... ...ouncing innocents, like Rebecca Nurse. To conclude, the Salem Witch Trials were not only executing “witches,” but were executing innocent men and women. This known fact led to the termination of the Court of Oyer and Terminar. The SWTs finally ended in 1711, when the Massachusetts legislature made payments to the families of the witch hunt victims. The Salem Witch Trials were a time in history where men and women were persecuted for ignorant and selfish reasons. These men and women will always be remembered for their courage, bravery, and perseverance. Works Cited 28 Oct. 2008. 5 Nov. 2008. “witch.” def. 1. The American Heritage Dictionary. Fourth Edition, 2004. “witchcraft.” The American Heritage Dictionary. Fourth Edition, 2004.

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