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The Religious And Environmental Causes Of The Salem Witch Trials

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Casey Bell Dr. John Selman History 2010-M11 October 1, 2017 The Salem Witch Trials The Salem Witch Trials began in the spring of 1692 in Salem Village, Massachusetts. There are a few religious and environmental factors that led to the beginning of the Salem Witch Trials. There is also a lot of speculation about whether the first accusations were truthful, along with theories as to why these accusations were made. The first three trials began shortly after two young girls of Salem, cousins Abigail Williams and Betty Paris, began to show strange behavior. They were thought to be bewitched by the local physician. After some encouragement, Betty named Tituba, the Paris family slave. Then the girls accused two more women, Sarah Osborne and Sarah Good, of bewitching them. Their accusations resulted in a wave of hysteria, others being accused of witchcraft, and many trials throughout Massachusetts. These trials ended in May of 1693, resulting in 19 people, who were found to be guilty, hanged. One man was pressed to death with stones, and approximately 13 people died while in jail. It is estimated that 150 people were accused of witchcraft, but not all were pursued or brought to trial. During this time in Salem, there were a few things going on. They lived in constant fear of Indians, there was a recent small pox outbreak, and the Massachusetts Bay Colony had recently lost its charter rights. Some Puritans believed that God was punishing them for the sins of their community.
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