Salem Witch Trials

Salem Witch Trials

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During 1692, in a small village named Salem Village, in Massachusetts, tragedy broke loose. A rave of the belief of witches was flying through the small village, making death and tragedy almost a normal and daily thing. Not only was it big in Salem Village, but the word got around to many towns and villages surrounding them. Many were accused, many were accusing, and very few were lucky enough to not be bothered with this crazy belief.
It all happened in one year. It started when two young girls seemed sick, but were making awkward sounds and outstanding body movements. A doctor came in a mentioned witchcraft, which set in five more girls who declared they were touched by the devil and were being practiced on. The seven girls accused many people of witchcraft, but the very first ones were, Tituba, Sarah Good, and Sarah Osborn (The Witchcraft Trials: A Commentary). Tituba admitted she was indeed a witch, and confessed to everyone that her, along with four others were worshipers of the devil.
Salem did not have an official place for the trials. So, the “Court of Oyer and Terminer” was created. The Salem people used the court for all of the hearings of the accused so things would go more smoothly than doing them in a regular court. Every single one of the trials was held in Salem Village.
The “Court of Oyer and Terminer” had many specific ways to tell if someone was a witch or not. One of the most common ways was by witch marks. Which were uncommon or unusual marks on someones skin (moles, scars, blemishes). Another common test was the witch cake, where a cake is produced using specific ingredients including the urine of suspected victims (Tottalyhistory.com).
Bridget Bishop, a sixty year old lady, was accused. A field worker said that he had seen her steal eggs and transform herself into a cat in front of his very eyes. Bishop was found guilty and was hung on June tenth. The accusing was for unnecessary reasons, from family issues, to ownership issues, to land issues. People would get angry at someone and accuse them of witchcraft for punishment. Also, if you stood out, didn’t go to church, or was not liked or well known, you were a good victim for the cases.

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Exactly nineteen people were hung during the witch trials. A man who refused to confess or deny to being a witch had boulders threw on him until he was simply crushed to death. There were so many people being punished for things they did not do, and lies swarmed around Salem. Even a four year old little girl named Darcus Good, was accused of being a witch. The accuser was Ann Putnam herself, Marcy Lewis, and some others. Martha Curey, and many others along with the two girls were accused. Not one of them felt any remorse for what they did.
On October 8th, 1692; Thomas Brattle wrote a letter criticizing the witchcraft trials and spectral evidence. Which led to October 29, 1692, when Governor Phips forbid any other arrests or hanging for the town. Even so, many of the accused or indicted were forced to stay in jail. Over 150 people were in jail at that time for just the Salem trials. After the Superior Court of Judicature took over the trials, it released all of those who were waiting for their trials or their death. They all apologized to the victims families also. After that, the Salem Witch Trials were considered over.
In 1702, the General Court declared the 1692 trials illegal (Timeline/History of Mass). Also, in 1706, Ann Putnam Jr. apologized to everyone publically for the role she played in the Salem Witch Trials. Things hardly ever went back to how it was before the trials, towns all around Salem were affected, even so people made the best of things.
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