The Salem Witch Trials Essay

The Salem Witch Trials Essay

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The Salem Witch Trials was a series of hearings and prosecutions of people accused of witchcraft in Massachusetts between February 1692 and May 1693. The Devil in Massachusetts: A Modern Enquiry Into the Salem Witch Trials is a historical narrative of the trials written by Marion L. Starkey. The trials took place in Salem, Massachusetts in the late seventeenth century. The author discusses the origin, duration and the aftermath of the incident. It discusses the Puritan negligence towards the emotional needs of the female children involved in the trials and their striving for attention, as well as the harsh reality of sin and evil imposed on Puritan beliefs.
In the winter of 1692 Betty Parris and her cousin Abigail Williams began to have fits. Minister John Hale described the fits saying that they were stronger than an epileptic fit and did not know of an illness that could cause such behavior. The girls would scream, make strange noises and throw things around among other peculiarities. They complained of being pricked with pins, as if they were being controlled by some type of voodoo. All of these signs automatically set off a scare among the inhabitants of Salem, a witchcraft scare. Dr. William Griggs could not find any physical evidence of a sickness furthering the suspicion of an evil presence in the young girls. Other young women in the village began to show similar behaviors leading to the decision that something paranormal was taking place. The first three people that were arrested were Sarah Osborne, Sarah Good and a slave woman named Tituba who confessed; they were accused by Ann. It was like the Hatfield and McCoy feud of their time; citizens would engage in arguments and even physical violence based on their opinions r...


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...es specific illnesses or disorders that could have caused such as well as referencing to their religious background and the need to “perfect” as an underlying issue.
Overall this book was very informative on the entire Salem Witch Trial story from the initial causes, to proceedings and how the people handled the situation. Starkey’s use of quotes from actual proceedings was very useful. The trials will forever be a part of United States history that people will remember for years to come as some of the darker, more trying times.



Works Cited

Starkey, Marion L. The Devil in Massachusetts: A Modern Inquiry into the Salem Witch Trials. Alexandria, VA: Time-Life, 1982. Print.
"Salem Witch Hunt." Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation, 11 Sept. 2013. Web. 18 Nov. 2013.
"Salem, Mass." Witch-Hunt. N.p., 2008. Web. 18 Nov. 2013. .

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