The evidence presented against the supposed witches during the Salem Witch Trials was not physical evidence. Most of the testimonies given by the townspeople were random happenstances that were told to make the accused seem guilty. Other types of evidence given were statements about the accusers being bitten and pinched; this apparently classified as bewitching someone. Some of the accused claimed to be conspiring with the devil so they would not be executed and instead be put in prison (Godbeer 143). Many years later statements given by testifiers were recanted, jurors apologized, and the families of the executed were given compensation for their loss.
Take the case of Sarah Good, who was first arrested on February 29,1692 (Documents 14). Sarah Good was arrested for bewitching and causing injury to Elizabeth Paris, Abigail Williams, Ann Putman, and Elizabeth Hubbard. Elizabeth Hubbard went into fits during her deposition on March 1, 1962. She claimed that the apparition of Sarah Good bewitched her by pinching and pricking her, resulting in the fits (Document 16). Abigail Williams and the other accusers all supported this statement and claimed they witnessed it (Document 19). The problem with the accusations against Sarah Good is that there was not any actual proof that she caused these fits. Other townspeople made claims against Sarah Good during her trial, July 28, 1692, through July 29, 1962. Many of these townspeople claimed Sarah Good bewitched their cows. Henry Herrick, Jonathan Batchelor, and Thomas Gadge all had similar stories when it came to Sarah Good and their cows. Sarah Good had asked them for a place to stay and she was denied. When Thomas Gadge and his wife denied her a place to stay, their cows m...
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...und this annoying. Many neighbors also held grudges against her for supposedly killing their animals and making them disappear(Document 22 and 28).This gave them motivation for testifying against her. Tituba, as mentioned before, did not meet the typical Puritan standard because she was Indian and a slave. She made a urine-cake to see if one of the four girls was being bewitched. This is disturbing and disgusting and does not meet the puritan standards of living(Godbeer 82).
These girls probably did not come up with this idea of accusing the Sarah Good, Sarah Osborne, and Tituba on their own. Adults of high standing in the area may have influenced them to partake in these fits to make them appear possessed. If the girls were to get got in their lies, it could by played off as children wanting attention, unlike an adult who would be convicted of murder if caught.
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