“In three hundred years, we have not adequately penetrated nine months of Massachusetts history.If we knew more about Salem, we might attend to it less, a conundrum that touches on something of what propelled the witch panic in the first place” (5).
The Salem Witch Trials began during the spring of 1692 after a group of young girls in Salem Village, MA, said they were being possessed by the devil and accused local women of witchcraft. With chaos running around the village, the special court began taking on cases. Bridget Bishop, the first convicted witch, was hung that June month. Many people of the Salem community had major consequences including death and harrassment. Belief that the devil could give certain humans, or witches, power to harm others in return for their loyalty emerged throughout europe as early as the 14th century. All of this chaos and phenomenon led to a pointing fingers game of who is guilty. Chaos also brought up the question of why it happened, malice, spite, or
The Salem Witch Trials were a series of accusations, trials, and executions based on the supposed outbreak of witchcraft in Salem, Massachusetts. The trials began during the spring of 1692, and the last of them ended in 1693. It all started when two young girls, Abigail and Betty Parris, began experiencing violent convulsions and outbursts, which were thought to be brought about by witchcraft. Whether they were faking these symptoms, were afflicted with an actual sickness, or were experiencing them because of some sort of psychological reason is widely debated, though it is known that the sisters accused their maid, Tituba, of forcing them to participate in witchcraft with her. Some who theorize about the causes of the trials dismiss the Parris girls involvement in the beginning and instead attribute the outbreak of accusations to judgement upon the members of society who break social or religious rules, or who struck the upright members of society as ‘strange’ and ‘suspicious’, such as the homeless, the poor, and old or widowed women. The cause of the hysteria that went on in Salem after this is what is speculated by so many. There are probably hundreds of theories out there, but a few in particular are more widely known, accepted, and supported than others.
Throughout history, there have been many cases of discriminatory accusations of people, including the Salem Witch Trials. The Salem Witch Trials were a string of trials, hearings and prosecutions of many people accused of witchcraft in Massachusetts between the dates of February 1692 and May 1693. The trials ended up leading to the execution of twenty people, men and women, but mainly women. The Salem Witch Trials that took place about three hundred years ago affected the lives of everyday civilians during that time in ways such as politically, religiously, economically, fearfully, mentally, and sometimes in other various other ways.
The seventeenth century was a time of great religious excitement both in Europe and America. It had been widely believed even before the Puritans left England that witchcraft was a well-practiced profession in Europe. The times for settlers in the New America proved to be quite different and so ever changing. With many new rules, laws, regulations and curfew a true government was being born. Throughout this vast change, religious beliefs became so strong to be studied and participated in. Religions that divided from Christianity and Catholic beliefs, such as Puritans, who had a clear vision of what their churches were going to be like. Witchcraft had been a crime a long time before the trials in the Massachusetts Bay Colony and prior
The Salem Witch Trials were a sequence of hearings, prosecutions, and hangings of people who were thought to be involved in witchcraft in Massachusetts. These trials occurred between February 1692 and May 1693("The Salem Witch Trials, 1692." ). The Trials resulted in the execution of twenty people, in fact, most of them were women. The first of the trials began in several towns in the Province of Massachusetts Bay, such as Salem Village (currently known as Danvers), Salem Town, Ipswich, and Andover("Salem Witch Museum." ). The most infamous trials were tried by the Court of Oyer and Terminer in 1692, in Salem Town. Robert Calef, the author of More Wonders of the Invisible World, a book composed throughout the mid-1690s denouncing the recent Salem witch trials of 1692, summarized the trials saying
Colonial Massachusetts in the late 1600s was very complex. The small colony consisted of mainly puritans, who had come to escape from the Church of England. Puritans believed that those chosen by God to be saved — the elect — would experience "conversion." In this process, God would reveal to the individual His grace, and the person would know he was saved. One of the many issues within the society was religion. A very big problem that would cause a lot of tension and problems later on was witchcraft. The Salem witchcraft hysteria started because of personal jealousies, it targeted those who went against puritan beliefs, and it was an explanation of all the weird things happening.
Between the 1300s and 1600s, there had been an uprising of witch accusations in Europe. When it finally died down, the craze soon followed into the colony of Massachusetts Bay. While in the 1690s, the Salem Witch Trials threatened New England’s freedom of religion and conservative beliefs; the evil entity as well threatened the country’s political and economic system, giving the government a reason to get involved. Because Massachusetts Bay was filled with religious refugees from England, a lot of tension formed between the colonies, England, and France. The King Williams War between France and the English colonies had put a tremendous strain on the Salem resources and its people. The colony was barely able to support itself and when more refugees fled to Salem from sounding areas, it came close to collapsing. Within the Puritan community, there had been a lot of hardship and strenuous issues mainly due to the shift between the people in society at the time. The Salem Witch Trials were not influenced by the presence of witchcraft but rather the exhausting hardships, the societal changes and the desire for complete control of the Puritan community.
In January of 1692, two girls became ill, the daughter and niece of Reverend Samuel Parris. When their state did not improve the doctor, William Griggs, was called in to help. In June of 1692, the special court of Oyer and Terminer sat in Salem to hear the cases of witchcraft. Presided over by Chief Justice William Stoughton, the court was made up of magistrates and jurors.
The Salem witch trails were in an age of superstition. There were great tensions with the fact that some individuals were changing religions, or they were leaving to gain different religious opinions. Although the Massachusetts colony was under a lot of stress and tension that did not give them the right to hang or burn individuals because they were witches. Now, some of the members of this colony that participated in the Salem witch trial might have had a psychological and issues, but that still did not give them the right to hang innocent people.
The town of Salem, Massachusetts and it’s surrounding towns and villages had an unexpected and disastrous series of events in the spring of 1692. A small group of girls in the puritan community began experimenting with witchcraft with a house slave, named Tituba. She showed them tricks from her old village in Barbados, but after the girls became too enveloped with the tricks the became bewitched by their imagination. The began having seemingly uncontrollable fits of blood curdling screams of pain and sharp spasms. The people of the town immediately thought that this was all because of witchcraft and began a hunt for all witches in the community. The girls saw this as an opportunity for power and they took it. The “witches” started out as the
The idea of witches was certainly real in the sixteenth and seventeenth century, as witchcraft became widespread throughout various areas of the world. It was known that witchcraft had a tremendous presence in Europe, in areas such as England and Germany. Witchcraft also took place in parts of America, such as--more notably-- Salem, Massachusetts. In this piece, we will examine the common portrayals of witchcraft and how well they fit the characteristics of witch trials in Salem.
First, we will cover some context of the narrative. This story is based off of the dark time of the Salem Witch Trials (1692-1693). The Salem Witch Trials were a series of hearings that began when three young girls by the names of Betty Paris, Abigail Williams, and Anne Putnam Jr. were suspected of performing witchcraft, due to their strange mannerisms and behavior (Jerra, Melvin, Piper, Schaef 2012). This series of trials resulted in the death or imprisonment of several young girls in Massachusetts due to suspect behavior (Jerra, Melvin, Piper, Schaef 2012). Nathaniel Hawthorne, now centuries later,
The Salem witchcraft trials provide a great insight into the evolution of early evidence presented in court and the impact public ideology can have on such evidence. From January of 1692 to May of 1693, hundreds were accused, nineteen men and women were hanged, and one was pressed to death by stones. Most haunting of all, all of those convicted were found guilty through the presentation of spectral evidence. In order to fully understand the tragedy of these trials, we must take many factors into account.
Beginning in February 1692, the trials would go on for over a year. The first accusations took place in Salem Village, Massachusetts, but would later also take place in Salem Town, Ipswich, and Andover, which are also located in Massachusetts. It started with two young girls, who were also cousins. Abigail Williams (age 11) and Betty Parris (age 9). Betty was the daughter of Reverend Samuel Parris, the local Puritan Minister. The girls started to throw fits, moved their bodies into unusual positions, and created unnatural sounds. Similar behavior occurred with