During the winter months of 1692, Betty Paris and her cousin Abigail Williams began to have fits described as being beyond natural causes. They complained of being pinched and pricked with pins, but no physical evidence could be found. Other young women in Salem began to exhibit similar behaviors. The first arrested for allegedly inflicting the children were Sarah Good, Sarah Osborne, and Tituba. Sarah Good was a homeless beggar woman accused of witchcraft because of her appalling reputations. She was accused of rejecting Puritan ideals of self-control and discipline when she chose to torments and scorn children instead of leading them towards the path of salvation. Sarah Osborne was not a regular attendee at church meetings and was accused of witchcraft due to the Puritans believing that she had her own self-interests in mind following her remarriage to a servant. The townspeople did not approve of her trying to cont...
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...ould not pay for their release. The trials also took a toll on the surrounding land and structures. Houses and fields were left unattended, and the planting season was interrupted. The fields that were planted were not cultivated or harvested. Also, the Salem Meetinghouse was left dilapidated due to the distraction of the trials. The Puritans felt they were being punished by God for the hangings of innocent people. Therefore, a day of fasting and prayer was ordered for January 13, 1697.
While the infamous trials took place over three centuries ago, they continue to haunt and perplex us. They serve as a measuring stick for how much the American judicial system has changed over the course of three hundred years. The American people have been able to eliminate the causes of such an epidemic and have learned from our history how we can be better prepared for the future.
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