In the year 1688 one of the most prominent elders of Salem Village invited Samuel Parris, a successful merchant and planter, to preach in the church of the village; Parris was asked to become the village minister a year later. Parris moved to Salem Village with his family and his slave that he acquired in Barbados. During February of 1692, when Parris’s daughter, Betty, became bizarrely ill, the first talk of witchcraft rose from the villagers. Douglas Linder described Betty Parris’s symptoms when he wrote, “She dashed about, dove under furniture, contorted in pain, and complained of fever” (Linder).
Suspicions of witchcraft originally came to Salem when a description of a woman who was suspected of being a witch was given in a popular book, and the people thought the behavior Betty Parris exhibited was reflective of the woman in the book. Betty’s father, Samuel, called a doctor to analyze the girls for illnesses, but the doctor could not find anything wrong with them, and then he suggested t...
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...ught to trial for witchcraft was Bridget Bishop, who was nearly sixty years old and owned a tavern; Bishop had already been accused of witchcraft some years before the Salem Witch Trials. She was accused by several people in her community including the afflicted girls, who said that Bishop physically harmed them and tried convincing them to sign an agreement with the devil; Deliverance Hobbs and Mary Warren, who said that Bishop worked alongside them as witches; and Samuel Grey, who said Bishop came to his bedside and haunted him in his sleep. With all of this gossip being spread around the court, Bishop stood strongly in defending herself by saying, “I am innocent, I know nothing of it, I have done no witchcraft …. I am as innocent as the child unborn…” (Brooks). However, the jury’s verdict returned as guilty, and Bishop was hanged on June 10, 1692 (Linder) (Brooks).
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