The Salem Witch Trials Essay examples

The Salem Witch Trials Essay examples

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The Salem Witch Trials


The Salem Witchcraft trials in Massachusetts during 1692 resulted in nineteen innocent men and women being hanged, one man pressed to death, and in the deaths of more than seventeen who died in jail. It all began at the end of 1691 when a few girls in the town began to experiment with magic by gathering around a crystal ball to try to find the answer to questions such as "what trade their sweet harts should be of ". This conjuring took place in the Parris household where a woman named Tituba, an Indian slave, headed the rituals. Soon after they had begun to practice these rituals, girls who had been involved, including the Master Parris' daughter and niece, became sick.
They had constant fits, twitched, cried, made odd noises, and huddled in corners. The family called in doctors, and they were treated for many illnesses. Nothing helped. Many weeks later after running out of reasons for their strange behavior, all of their symptoms seemed to lead to one belief, "The evil hand is upon them." They were possessed by the Devil.

At first the families of the children could not find anyone to accuse for being the witch responsible for possessing the children. Then, late in February of 1692, Parris' neighbor, Mary Sibley recommended that Parris' slaves, Tituba and John Indian, should work a spell to try to find the culprits. Even after trying this solution the girls' condition worsened, and the people responsible still had not been found. The girls began to see hazy shadows and believed that these shadows were of the people who had done this to them. After more and more children became victims of this, the hunting for the witches who were to blame for the girls' sickness began to get more serious....


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...time, credibility of an accusation was not checked thoroughly, instead the person accused was simply locked up in jail until their trial time came. Even then, if they did not confess to being guilty, they were punished sometimes even killed. Although the law is innocent until proven guilty, and had been practiced before the trials, in the case of the witchcraft trials, the accused witches were guilty until proven innocent. Not many were given the chance to prove themselves to be innocent.

Bibliography

1. Guilley Ellen, Witches and Witchcraft (New York: Facts on File, 1989), 152.

2. Wilson, Lori Lee, The Salem Witch Trials (Minneapolis: Lerner Publishing Company, 1997)

3. Hoffer Peter, The Salem Witchcraft Trials: A Legal History (Kansas: University Press of Kansas, 1997), 212.

4. Zeinert, Karen. The Salem Witchcraft Trials, (New York: F. Watts, 1989),

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