The next innocent suspect was Elizabeth Howe. Elizabeth Howe was a blind Ipswich woman who tenderly took care of her husband with a kind soul. Her neighbors foolishly accused her of causing their youngest daughter and cows die, which Elizabeth truthfully denied. Soon more people had their animals injured, in which they interpreted as a supernatural sign of revenge. In court, her own brother-in-law, Captain John accused her of killing his sow and inflicting pain upon him and making his hand not able to work. Elizabeth had nothing to do with this, so she testified “God knows I am innocent of anything of this nature” (National Geographic Channel 2011). Even though her witness vouched for her and her character she was found guilty (National Geographic Channel 2011). Rebecca Nurse was yet another innocent woman accused of witchcraft. Rebecca was an elderly woman in poor health and a respected member of the church. In the court hearing, she protested her innocence, but when the young accusers started screaming out in fake pain acting like they were being tormented by her, this made her seem guilty to the judges and she was executed (National Geographic Channel 2011). Lastly, Reverend George Burroughs was the only Puritan minister to be accused and executed for witchcraft. He was very strong which made people think he was “satan’s pretest for evil.” When the reverend was on the ladder for his execution, he recited the Lord’s prayer which, supposedly, witches were unable to do.
Click here to unlock this and over one million essaysGet Access
From the time of the 1690’s the entirety of Salem, Massachusetts were Puritans. “The Puritan lifestyle was restrained and rigid: People were expected to work hard and repress their emotions or opinions. Individual differences were frowned upon.” (Salem Witch Trials, The World Behind the Hysteria). These people believed that doing anything sinful would result in punishment from God. Just as much as they believed in God, they also believed in the Devil. Keeping up with the Puritan code, it led to the first women being accused of witchcraft. They were viewed as pariahs, and seen differently. Had the Puritan government let the afflicted defend themselves, not be so dependent on religion, not investigating the facts or scrutinize the trials the killing of many could have been prevented. The hangings from the trials would ultimately be the last in America.
Confused on what was going on, the village turned to the doctors in which said that it was a form of witchcraft. The Reverend asked the girls who was behind all of this, thinking that the girls couldn't do this on their own. Three names came up in the conversation with the girls. On February 29, 1692, three arrests were made. One was Sarah Good who denied the accusations and blamed it on the other woman, Sarah Osbourne, who also denied the whole thing. During the trial of the three women, the other one accused, a slave of Reverend Parris named Tituba, had admitted to being a witch. She claimed that four women and a man had claimed that if she did not hurt the children then they would hurt her. The hunt went on to find more witches that were responsible in which led them to a respected church member Reverend George Burroughs, a former minister in Maine. The villagers went to Maine and brought him back to Salem to be tried for witchcraft.
Under stress, people can easily forget parts of the Lord’s Prayer or the Commandments, yet this is used as a test to determine whether or not someone is a witch. These often unsound methods of justice, which are standard in Puritan society, leads to the accusation and hanging of many people that are actually innocent.
An example of someone who got put in jail for being accused of witchcraft was John Proctor, and he never had the chance to confess, because they took him so fast he had no time. Reverend Hale attempted to persuade him to confess to a false crime so he could live and raise his 3 children . John Proctor finally decided to sign the paper to confess then moments after he took the paper not wanting to confess and was sentenced to death and hung in front of the whole town. He stood by what he believed in, and in this case he paid the ultimate price.
Also, Rebecca Nurse was treated unfairly in court due to suspicion of being involved in witchcraft, but should have been judged based on solid evidence. Rebecca is a positive individual who suggests to solve everybody’s problem: “let us go to God for the cause of it. There is prodigious danger in the
Martha Carrier, a supposed witch, was taken to trial on August 2, 1692. At the trial, there were five pieces of “evidence” that proved she was a witch. Martha Carrier had nine people testify against her in court. Furthermore, the nine people had no legitimate evidence, but rather spoke against her with irrational fears, logic defying acts, and unjust accusations. After reading the trial against Martha Carrier, it is easy to see the court was severely biased in their accusations. Unfortunately, Martha Carrier was found guilty of witchcraft and sentenced to death on August 19, 1692.
Rebecca Nurse was a suspect during the Salem Witch Trials. A minister said, “You are a witch. You know you are a witch,” to Rebecca. Rebecca answered, “You are a liar. I am no more a witch than you are a wizard, and if you take away my life God will give you blood to drink.” This proves that once a victim is condemned, it is almost impossible to prove them
During the Salem witch trials, many lives that were taken due to a few people’s self defence. In the book, The Crucible, by Arthur Miller, a group of girls caused a whole town to go array. This group of girls were caught naked, dancing and conjuring spirits. These girls were going to accept the blame and receive the whipping for what they did, but one of the girls, Abigail, was not about to go down. Abigail had the whole group of girls convinced that it would be best to lie and to not accept the beating. By doing this, they were put into the court and used to tell the judges whether or not the people whom were accused were truly witches. Though the girls had no way of telling if the accused were truly witches, they
Moreover, the chosen victims that were condemned during the Salem Witch Trials also served to convert the public’s good faith in witches. Of the girls that had fallen ill in Salem, one of them named at least sixty-two names of possible witches (Kreiser). Although, a list of people was given the majority were unknown to the citizens of Salem which eludes to the concept that these were simply a delusion of a girl under the influence of hallucinations. Furthermore, even with this list being only sixty-two names long accusations continued to gather about the people in and around Salem, “Accusers and accusations multiplied. Of some 130 to 150 who were fingered as witches, 114 were charged; 50 confessed; and 19 hanged” (Conlin 2014: 68). The church used the few who were hanged (depicted in figure three) as an example to the people of Salem on what would happen to them should they decide to stray from God’s path and partake in witchcraft. This convinced the people that witches were heavily punished for their supernatural powers and for them to be punished so heavily then magic would have to be a sin. To continue, the previous reputation of the supposed ‘witches’ not only made them easy targets but it became associated with the persona of witches, “The acsusers’ targets could not have been better chosen for vulnerability by a department of sociology. Most of the putative witches were women… some of the victims were
Nineteen were hung, one was pressed and tortured to death, hundreds were imprisoned, and five had died while waiting to be trialed in prison. They were just a victim of being someone’s personal vendetta. The witch trials were revolved around a group of women that were said to of witnessed witchcraft. These young women were thirsting after their enemies to get the type of justice they thought to believe was reasonable for things certain people had done in the past that enraged them. Witch hunts like these root back far, all the way back to New England. During the 17th century europe was swarmed with accusations of
The first to do so was a young girl by the name of Betty Paris. These girls suffered through a series of fits, hiding under furniture, writhing in pain, screaming and crying for no apparent reason, and fevers. These girls were later called the “afflicted girls.” A local doctor examined them and found nothing physically wrong with them. There then arose the idea that they were bewitched. Many scientist have tried to explain what had happened to these girls and many theories have surfaced. Some believe that they had eaten rye infected with fungus. Others believe they had epilepsy or a mental illness. Then there is the popular theory that these girls just suffered from boredom and wanted attention. People in the community pushed them to say who was the one behind their agony and so the girls accused the first three women, Sarah Good, Sarah Osburn, and a slave named Tituba. These women were easy targets, all being somewhat social outcasts. This helped the community rally behind the girls and believe their story. There was another turn of events that occurred during questioning, Tituba confessed to being a witch and being recruited by Sarah Good and Sarah Osburn. The colonies had accused and executed witches in the past but few to none had ever confessed. This sudden knowledge sent the area into a frenzy and the witch hunts
These individuals may or may not have been witches, yet the jury many times chose to hang any accused individuals with or without reasonable cause. Today, much like during the Witch Trials, people are sent to prison for crimes they didn’t commit. Of course, many guilty people are sent to prison and rightfully so, but sometimes good lawyers are able to convince the jury unjustly sending innocent individuals to a life in prison. Though, Americans are not scared of being sent to jail for witchery, they are scared of being in the wrong place at the wrong time due to the fear of governmental polices.
This started the hysterical beginning of the Salem Witch trials, which resulted in many women, men, and children being accused of practicing witchcraft. Out of the one hundred fifty people accused in Salem, twenty of them were executed as witches, while others rotted away and died in jail. The people of Salem did not discriminate who they executed or who they sent to jail so the result was a diverse range of citizens being accused.
The term witchcraft is defines as the practice of magic intended to influence nature. It is believed that only people associated with the devil can perform such acts. The Salem Witch Trials was much more than just America’s history, it’s also part of the history of women. The story of witchcraft is first and foremost the story of women. Especially in its western life, Karlsen (1989) noted that “witchcraft challenges us with ideas about women, with fears about women, with the place of women in society and with women themselves”. Witchcraft also confronts us too with violence against women. Even through some men were executed as witches during the witch hunts, the numbers were far less then women. Witches were generally thought to be