The Salem Witch Trials
Unnecessary Tragedies: The Salem Witch Trials
During the spring of 1692, a small village in Massachusetts forever changed the course of history. It was during this time when many young girls came forward, accusing a number of the local residents of witchcraft. The girls claimed that these people were being possessed by the devil, and were causing them to act in very strange ways.
These accusations found locals sentenced to prison, and or dead by ways of public execution. The Salem Witch Trials were a tragic event in history that should have never happened. These events occurred due to the puritans hierarchical belief system. Which made the accused more likely to be tried as a witch because the majority of them were women. Women during this period did not have the same rights as men, and were seen as objects rather than actual people. The atrocities committed during the Salem Witch Trials were made possible due to politics, puritans religion, hierarchical disorder, blackmail, and teen angst.
The Salem Witch Trials was caused by a plethora of different reasons, one specific reason being politics; Or, maybe witchcraft accusations were more grounded in politics than in social tensions, gender bias, or religious belief. It was no coincidence that the outbreak in Salem occurred just as the effects of England’s Glorious Revolution of 1688 were filtering into the colonies (Cawthon 1). Politics were a major contributing factor during these times, as accusations were used to gain political power. Or in some cases to regain diminishing political power. Before the Salem Witch Trials it was known that Reverend Samuel Parris power amongst the community was diminishing. So Reverend Parris used the mass hysteria of the witch trials gain back power, as he forced his slave Tituba to admit to being a witch. A man who is on the verge of losing his high ranking status would do anything to stay in power. Such as making up a story about a woman who he doesn’t care much for. Playing on the Puritans belief in witches, knowing it would erupt in panic and chaos. His daughter was even one of the first accusers, so it isn’t too far fetched to believe that he told his daughter to accuse Tituba, and start the Salem Witch Trials. The puritan religion shaped the argument for the Salem witch trials by their hierarchical beliefs. Accusing women as witches was the perfect ploy for a epidemic of mass hysteria as women had little to no rights. Making the accusations of these women being witches all the more believable due to the puritans beliefs. Some may even argue that the puritans were the main cause of the Salem witch trials due to their outlandish beliefs and core values.
The Puritans were one of the leading causes to the Salem witch trials; To the Puritans though, belief in witchcraft was not based on superstition; it was based on simple fact. All the turmoil surrounding them, to the Puritan mind, was caused by the devil, in partnership with his earthly servants: witches. To them it was no surprise that the devil would test them by placing witches in their communities (House 1). The Puritan Legal Code was created in 1641, 51 years before the Salem Witch Trials had begun. The code essentially listed crimes based its severity, and witchcraft was a more severe crime then murder. So with this state of mind it is understandable why so many lost their lives during the trials. When the young girls behavior started, and there was no medical explanation for their actions, the Puritans blamed it on witchcraft.
As the girls were examined by the villages only doctor, the wounds inflicted and the psychological stress had an undetermined cause. It is also worth noting that the doctor was speculated to be able to read but unable to write. So the examination of the girls was poor in its conclusion to say the least. After the unclear causes, it essentially opened up a flood gate of accusations during this period in time. With the puritans mindset focused solely on witchcraft being the only logical explanation, it did not take long for the spread of mass hysteria to begin. The Salem witch trials were practically inevitable in hindsight. The puritan belief in witchcraft being a more heinous crime than murder, even though witchcraft required no legitimate proof of whether the defendant was guilty or not. While murder, compared to witchcraft was more cut and dry. Not to mention above all crimes was idolatry, essentially banning any other form of religion or thinking other than the puritan belief. This village of Salem was bound to suffer some form of tragedy, in this case it was the Salem witch trials.
The puritans hierarchical view played an integral role in the formation of the Salem Witch Trials; Puritans had a hierarchical view of the world with women being subservient to men, especially in marriage. Many of the accused in Salem (71 of 124 witches whose inheritance patterns can be documented, or 57 percent) came from families with no male heirs. A woman with money and property represented an abnormality, and therefore, a threat to the established order (Scotti 1). These views are the exact reason why something like the salem witch trials occurred. The Puritan jealousy of wealthier women during this period was an ideal reason to peg many women as witches. Even though some men perished during the witch trials, the majority of the deaths/ imprisonments were women. The Puritans couldn’t stand the idea that a woman could be more wealthy than that of a male Puritan. So they pressured young girls into accusing the women that obtained these riches from their families. That way everything would go back to the way it’s supposed to be, with men ruling over women. The Salem witch trials was a form of social control propagated by the rich and prestigious white male to essentially keep women in their place. The oppression that women faced during this period of time and throughout history is unfathomable. This idea of sexism in the late 1600r’s led to the unwarranted death of so many innocent women.
Another reason that these horrific crimes occurred was blackmail; The Salem witch hunt began when several young girls were discovered telling fortunes with a crystal ball. To avoid punishment, the girls claimed that they had been tormented by witches. The attempt by authorities to locate the witches responsible for the girls’ suffering quickly accelerated (Queen 1). Blackmail coaxed the girls into these accusations, and it didn’t take long for officials to abuse this lie for personal gain. In February of 1692, two young girls by the names of Elizabeth Parris and Abigail Williams accused three different women of witchcraft. The accused women were Tituba who was a slave of Reverend Parris, Sarah Good, and Sarah Osborne. Sarah Good and Sarah Osborne claimed to be innocent, but were ultimately found guilty. These women ended up dying as a result of the guilty verdict. As for Tituba, she admitted to being a witch and was quoted as saying during the trials; The devil came to me and bid me serve him (Tituba 1).
Tituba’s confession is key because she confessed to a crime she most likely did not commit. These women were accused only after they were pressured into doing so by John Hathorne and Jonathan Corwin. These two men were both civil officers or judges during the time of the Salem Witch Trials. So not only were the girls lying about the torment, they were pressured into accusing women who were likely suggested by a male puritan of a higher stature. Incidents such as this plagued this poor Salem village, causing the imprisonment and or death of many women.
Teen angst was another vital aspect of the Salem Witch Trials; Still, a widening ring of girls, mostly between 12 and 19 years of age, became afflicted with the symptoms of bewitchment. Accusations and arrests in Salem surged throughout the spring (Conforti 1).
The lack of activities for teenagers during this period of time was key in the surging accusations. One of the reasons why these accusations should have been further reviewed and closer looked at was that all the accusations were from children. It is baffling to believe that a town full of adults, some of who were very well educated, would blindly believed every single accusation made by these girls. George Burroughs was one of the few men who were accused of witchcraft, he was a graduate of Harvard. This graduate was accused of being the so called leader of the witches, commanding the other accused to hurt the children of Salem. Burroughs was publicly executed shortly after the accusation in court. When Burroughs was being publicly executed he recited the lord’s prayer without any mistakes. Witches were not supposed to be able to do that which shed doubt amongst the crowd that day in Salem. The evidence against Burroughs was undoubtedly insufficient as the stories shared in the courtroom that dreadful day grew more and more obscure. The story of the Salem Witch Trials is arguably one of the saddest displays of human intelligence throughout history.
In 1692, Salem Massachusetts faced one of the most unnecessary tragedies in human history, the Salem Witch Trials. The trials claimed many victims as the majority of them were women, although a few men, such as George Burroughs, perished as well. The influx of accusations all stemmed from the initial two girls who came forward first, Abigail Williams and Elizabeth Parris. These two girls accused Tituba, Sarah Good, and Sarah Osborne of witchcraft, Tituba confessed, while Sarah Good and Osborne denied all accusations. This would be the start to the horrific events that are the Salem Witch Trials. . The horrors executed throughout the Salem Witch Trials were achieved because of politics, puritans religion, hierarchical disorder, blackmail, and teen angst.
Why Did The Salem Witch Trials Happen?
The Salem Witch Trials were a progression of preliminaries endeavoring to discover, recognize, and slaughter every single known lady and men honing black magic. The preliminaries happened in Colonial Massachusetts from 1692 and 1693, and for the subjects there, all killings were a triumph as the residents trusted they were disposing of the underhanded spirits expedited by the demon, until the point that they swung to catastrophe when the natives acknowledged they had slaughtered honest blood. A thing to ask ourselves today, is for what reason did the Salem Witch Trials happen, who was charged and why, and what was the result of the trials.
In the late 1600’s, two young girls in pioneer Massachusetts, were analyzed and diagnosed that they were being controlled by a demon. They would begin to throw objects, had extraordinary fits, muscle spasms, hallucinations and spewing. When different young ladies began getting determined to have “bewitchment,” warrants were issued for the Parris’ Caribbean slave, Tituba, and two other womenthe destitute hobo Sarah Good and poor people, elderly Sarah Osborn, all who the young ladies professed to have possessed or bewitched them. The principal hanging that occured of the Salem Witch Trials was for Bridget Bishop. Bridget Bishop was the first trial, and had the most informers and observers than any other “witch” because of her exceptional state of mind, been hitched 3 times and did not dress as usual Puritan norms. Bridget Bishop was hanged on June 10, 1692. That was far from the end of the Salem Witch Trials. Shortly afterwards, 13 people, from slaves to the wealthy, were executed for the use of witchcraft. One man, Giles Corey was executed by being crushed to death, one of the more violent executions of the trials.
The people awaiting trial were often kept in dreadful holding cells, and many died before their trial even occured. In the dungeons or cells, the accused witches would be chained to the wall, so their spirits escaping the prison, and attacking more civilians. The Salem Witch Trials, were held at the Salem Village Meetinghouse. Then, the witches would be taken in to the courtroom, in front of judge and jury and be questioned. They were allowed no legal counsel, and had to plead guilty or not guilty without counsel. This of course would lead to easily convicted people of witchcraft. This led to the conviction of Rebecca Nurse. Different from most convicted witches, she was a well respected member of the community. When she was arrested, the town even signed a petition asking for her release. When her trial began, she was found not guilty, until the accusers started to act out in the court. The judge at the time, Stoughton, asked the jury to rethink their verdict. This was a turning point for the Salem Witch Trials, because most witches were known to be ugly, lower class, slaves, wierd, or anti-social, human beings, but this was the first trial that, at the time, proved, that anyone could be a witch.
A main component of the Salem Witch Trials, was the ability and freedom to use spectral evidence. During the trials, spectral evidence was the best proof you would have to indict a witch. The most popular and used one was Live spectral evidence. In one of the early trials, the two girls who accused the first witch would start to act uncontrollably and show all the symptoms they testified for. The prosecution would then be able to use that evidence stating that the person was using witchcraft at the time of the trial. Another form of evidence the could be used was Dream Evidence. If a victim testified that while in a dream the witch contacted and attacked them, the judge would convict them promptly. This is exactly the case for Sarah Good who testified that Sarah Osbourne was possessing girls through dreams. As the trials progressed many people started disagreeing with the use of spectral evidence. It was not until 1693 when people started to protest the use of spectral evidence in court. , the court magistrates banned usage of spectral evidence, concluding that spectral evidence was insufficient proof to indict people. The banning of spectral evidence effectively caused the end of the witch-hunt. The reason it ended the witch-hunt was because spectral evidence was the puzzle piece needed to convict witches and without it, the witch-hunt was nothing.
The Salem Witch Trial And Its Role In History
I specifically remember sitting in my high school English class covering the topic of the Salem Witch Trials. I was fascinated by what we were learning and reading about this historical event. I remember thinking how crazy is what the girls who were close to my age and older were making such crazy accusations.
Now as a nursing major, the medical side of the Witch Trials really intrigue me. The Salem Witch Trials were a landmark event in the history of the United States that left a lasting impression and impact on this nation. To this day these trials are still being researched and studied by historians all across the country.
Scholars and historians have attempted to pinpoint the specific cause of these witch trials, but still much speculation exists as to the for sure root of the cause. There is speculation that the economic downturn of this time played a large role in the accusations. The Puritans were known for their narrow mindedness which is believed to have contributed to this event. Historians also believe that the city of Salemr’s socioeconomic issues in itself played a key role. Salem was said to be a poor underprivileged counterpart to its neighboring town called Salem Town which was populated mostly by wealthy merchants. Indian attacks were also pertinent to this area and time, and there was a distrust among the whites and indians. The very different dynamic of Salem and Salem Town often lead to conflict between the two communities(Salem Witch Trials).
In 1688, Reverend Samuel Parris became the official minister of Salem. A few years later in the winter of 1692 his daughter Betty became strangely ill. She would run through the house screaming and making noises, she would convulse on the floor, and complained of fevers. The talk of witchcraft became more popular when Bettyr’s friend Ann Putnam, Mercy Lewis, and a young woman named Mary Walcott, began to exhibit many of the same unusual behaviors(The Salem Witch Trials- Bewitchment or Ergotism).
During the time of the early 1690r’s more than two hundred women were found to be guilty guilty of the witchcraft. Women claimed they were unable to control body movements and verbal noises. Women would scream out and had uncontrollable twitches and movements. The women also claimed to be having hallucinations and experiencing supernatural symptoms (The Witchcraft of Encephalitis in Salem). Doctors during this time didnt really have a diagnosis or an explanation for these behaviors. They would simply diagnose these girls with bewitchment. These symptoms and these girls were viewed as a curious medical mystery (The Salem Trials Bewitchment or Ergotism).
Eventually, warrants were issued out for the arrest of the Parrisr’s slave who was a woman of caribbean.
descent, named Tituba, along with two other women. The others were a poor homeless woman named Sarah Good and a woman who was elderly named Sarah Osborn. These women were who the girls accused of bewitching them. More and more women began coming forward and admitting to witchcraft. Like Tituba, several women that had been accused of witchcraft confessed and also gave names of others that were potentially guilty. The trials began to overwhelm what the local system of justice could handle.( I am a Gosple Woman). In May 1692, William Phips, became the new governor of Massachusetts. He designed a special court to hear and to decide on witchcraft cases for the counties that surrounded Salem and its area. (Salem Witch Mania). More than two hundred women were accused and nineteen of those women were confirmed guilty and sentenced to hanging. Later in 1692, after many trials and hearings it was determined by judges that this was in fact witchcraft and they felt these women had come under attack of the devil and were doing the devilr’s work. Several of the accused faced time in jail. The nineteen women who were found officially guilty were then lead to Gallowr’s Hill to be hung and persecuted for this witchcraft(Salem Witch Mania).
As 1692 ended and the year 1693 began, the hysteria of the Salem Witch Trials began to its lose steam. William Phips who was serving as governor of the colony, after hearing that his own wife was accused of witchcraft, called for an immediate end to the trials. However, at this point twenty people and two dogs had been executed for the crime of witchcraft in Salem. Nineteen were hung and one person was smashed to death under a pile of rocks for refusing to testify(Salem Revisited).
To this day, scholars and historians still really dont know the truth behind what happened in Salem. Once witchcraft is ruled out, other important factors come to light as to what might have caused the women to act out like this. As stated earlier, Salem had suffered greatly in recent years from Indian attacks. There was a distrust towards the indians from white men. They did not think all indians were trustworthy and viewed them as savages. They accused the indians of infecting the women or processing them with something. As the townr’s population increased in numbers, land and resources became harder and harder to acquire. An epidemic of smallpox had also broken out at the beginning of the decade. Massachusetts was also experiencing some of the most harsh winters in its history(Salem Witch Mania). It is widely agreed on that the motives of the young girls themselves can be questioned. This was an era of society where women had basically no power, particularly young women(Last Word, Burn the Witch). It is hard to understand why these women and young women would make accusations of this sort. (Salem Revisited). The Salem Witch Trials played an important part in the history of America, but what is even more important is what can be learned from records of these trials. Thankfully, their has not been a repeat of a similar situation. It seems if it was almost as if women felt the need to go to these lengths of faking bewitchment to have their voice heard. The witch trials were an example of what can happen when people are in a position of fear, facing economic instability, sickness, and times of war.
During this time women and men had very different roles in society. Women were basically homebound and in charge of maintaining the home and bearing children. It is thought that because of this women were pleading for a different type of society. Women had no political or socio economic power in Salem, Massachusetts or really anywhere during this time(Here are no Newters). Puritans were known for their very strict conservative ways. Some historians landmark these event as the first glimpses of the womenr’s suffrage movement.
As we examine history of the decades from the 1600r’s to the 1900r’s there were many instances where women wanted to be heard and wanted their own personal rights. The Salem Witch Trials, the formation of the Womenr’s Rights Convention, and the formation of the American Equal Rights Association are all examples of women speaking out and trying to change society’s norms. While these witch trials did not directly change how society viewed as women it made a statement that was felt across the world. We see in history that these trials did not change the circumstances for women and that they were still mostly bound to the home and not as highly regarded as men.
While it would be many years down the road before women really began to obtain the same opportunities as men, I admire these women for standing up for themselves and making their presence known. I am sad that lives had to be lost for that reason.
Phenomenon Of The Salem Witch Trials
Nowadays, America is the top country in the world. The U.S keeps developing day by day. When someone talks about America, people know it as a big country, has a good education system, and strong economic. But how many people know about Americar’s history? How many people know what America experienced to be so strong as today? Before America became so strong as today, it experienced many crises throughout . Some of events that led to death of many innocent people were The Salem Witch Trials and McCarthyism.
Nowadays, every high school teaches about The Salem Witch Trials. Everything began when the Puritans moved to Salem- a town in Massachusetts. The reasons the Puritans moved to Salem is because they wanted to practice their religion freely. Religion of the Puritans was Christian and they had strongly believed in God. Their laws were so harsh; thatr’s why if anyone did something strange or do not follow a strict moral code, they would think the people want to be against them. The Salem Witch Trials occurred from February 1692 to May 1693. It started when two girls named Betty and Abigail suddenly screamed, threw things and made some weird sounds. They covered their ears in church, and was tried to commit suicide by jumping into a fire. The local doctors could not find the reason so they blamed it on the supernatural and declared that witches were in Salem. The Crucible was written by Arthur Miller talks about this event. The book says everything began because of a girl who Abigail William. When she and her friends danced in the forest, her uncle caught them and Petty- her cousin immediately fainted then never woke up. She was sleeping for a long time, her uncle even invited doctor to find the reason why she did not wake up yet, but the doctor could not.
However, at that time, dancing is a sin in Salem- Puritans believe that it represents for guilty and temptation. Abigail started to spread a rumor of witchcraft, because of fear of punishment that she would put in jail if people know she wasnt following the rule. She started to blame on others. Some facts such as in The Witches book of Stacy Schiff, and University of Virginia said that because the girls want to harm people who they do not like, they want to put others in jail so they could take their land and get more money. Furthermore, there was conflict between some wealthy families, so they took advantage of this rumor as an excuse to remove people they do not like. This rumor made everyone in Salem scared. Especially, the people who lived in Salem strongly believed in religion so they believed that the Devil could give witches power to harm others to get witches loyalty. Many innocent people- mostly women were accused because someone charged them with witchcraft. People would accuse others because some strange acts or as what people say is not following the rule of village, against God. They would based it on bring them to the court to jail, asked them some stupid questions; and if they confessed they were witches, they worked for Devil, people would let them go. But if they were stubborn, and did not confess that they were witches, people would hang them. Many people confessed to avoid punishment. So it meant they had no choice to prove that they were innocent. The trials were happening for a year until people stopped hunting for witches because they had lost their friends and family. Another reason was because when the Trials started, it targeted people in the lower class so they did not have enough power to defend themselves, but now spread out to upper class people. Everything had gone beyond the limit, it turned the whole village into chaos. It reached the limit when someone accused Governor Phipsr’s- the Governor of Massachusetts who created the witchcraft Court of Oyster and Terminer wife, so he decided to dissolve the court. As a result, over one hundred fifty people were accused of witchcraft, twenty nine convicted, and nine teen were hanged ( mostly women, only one man were pressing under many stones to death), six others died in prison.
The term people used to called the reason for this event is mass hysteria. Mass hysteria is a phenomenon when a rumor spread out in society, whether real or imaginary, be popular in the society as a result of rumors and fear. The reason why it impacted people in Salem because at that time people in Salem had stress from a growing population and narrow opportunities for women to participate in society; King Charles II repealed the Massachusetts Bayr’s charter as a result of not following a tariff, and navigation laws. Besides, the winter of 1692- 1693 was also harsh, it made they did not do well in agriculture. One of the most concrete studies, published by psychologist Linnda Caporael, said that the reason of some strange acts because of the fungus ergot, it found as a ingredient in Salemr’s bread at that time. Some scientists say that eating ergot in their food will lead to vomiting, paralyzed inability, and hallucinations. Also, the fungus thrives in warm and wet climates- not too unlike with the climate in Salem. But because of the time, people did not have enough knowledge, and science equipments to analyze, prove to understand it. So they started to believe in some nonsensical things to cover fears. Whenever a society feels threatened, the people may project fears onto something else.
Arthur Miller stated in The Crucible (1953) that: He have his goodness now. God forbid I take it from here! (145). He was writing this quote This is an impressive quote and very meaningful to people who read the book realize that even John made Elizabeth disappointed, she still forgives him. Thatr’s why she did not take his last chance to John saves his eternity. Another quote from the famous book about the Witches by Stacy Schiff is In 1692, The Massachusetts Bay Colony executed four teen women, five men, and two dogs for witchcraft ( Schiff 3) . It describes how crazy this event was, they even accused animals being witches. Everything was chaos, people could not distinguish between right and wrong. They did not care about morals, or dogma. Some accused whoever they wanted. Some cared about themselves and ignored the lives of others. They accused whoever they think are witches without anything to prove as insane. Humans indifference is a terrible thing. God knows I am innocent. I can deny wickedness. I do not plead guiltily Rebecca Nurse says. This quote is from a real victim and it is even engraved on rock nowadays in Salem and be a popular place that visitors comes. This quote expresses the despair of Rebecca. Even when threatened to admit guilt, she was still stubborn and did not admit it because she knew she did nothing wrong and was not ashamed of herself. She believed that God knows it. One of the first victims was accused of being witchcraft is said to be Rev. Nicholas Noyes- a colonial minister at the time: You’re a liar! I’m no more a witch than you are a wizard! If you take my life away, God will give you blood to drink!- Sarah Good. This quote was from The Witches book by Stacy Schiff. Noyes died twenty years late, choking on his own blood. That message was show of her belief in God, and it was a her curse for Noyes before she was hanged. That curse has come as was proof of her innocence, and integrity.
The horrors of history are passed on from generation to generation in the hope that they will never happen again. However, in the 1950s, history repeats itself. At the same time, The Salem Witch Trials was about witchcraft. McCarthyism was about communism. McCarthyism happened during 1950-1954. It was the horrible time in American history. McCarthyism also known as the Red Scare, occurred in United States. Everything started because of Senator Joseph McCarthy. In a speech, he proclaimed that he was aware of two hundred fifty members of the Communist Party was working in United States Department. This speech opened a new era of paranoia and accusations in America. The reason why everybody started believing in what he said was because at the time, the US and the Soviet Union were allied to fight against the Hitler. Also during that time, WW II, American communists spied for the Russians on America.
After the WW II, after knowing about the news that Soviet Union created their first atomic bomb in 1949, people feared that the USSR would drop nuclear bombs on their whole country. Also in the same year, the largest population in the world, China, became communist like the Soviet Union. Furthermore, the eastern of half Europe was controlled by Joseph Stalin- he was a dictator of the Soviet Union, he made USSR from a weak and poor country to a strong and super power country under his influence but because of his cruelty, many people were died, and when Americans heard or read any thing related to it, it would be a new threat to them. Besides, when the Cold War escalated and this espionage became known, domestic communism came to be seen as a threat to national security. McCarthy accused people by non sense ways. Many people innocent were accused. Like if unfortunately, someone had a group of mix race friends, they would be accused or just because they joined any documents against nuclear weapons, or people just based on their habits that modern art, they would be accused. Most of the victims who were accused was people who worked in entertainment industry. The famous thing was come from this event called Hollywood Blacklist, it was created by the House Un- American Activities Committee (HUAC), it was a small group of ten people at first called Hollywood Ten. Because of the nationr’s fear was spreading out endless, HUAC have opened up a series of investigations to explore communism in Hollywood. The government started by inviting first ten people were working in Hollywood, most of them were screenwriter, filmmakers, etc.
The Hollywood Ten refused to answer the questions of HUAC in the basis that it was a violation of their rights and because they knew that if they cooperated with the committee, they would be next asked to name names o other potential communist sympathizers. McCarthy exploited that to help his position, and his political party in the State Department. He became famous by show off the list of people who were communist. Other politicians made the motivation to make McCarthy keep doing that- accused everyone insanely, and created some fake evidences to charge people being communist. People who were accused would put in jail if they were citizens, if they were not, they would be send back to their country. McCarthy made a big mistake. He charged that communism was in CIA and U.S weapon industry. McCarthyr’s wild accusations became a nuisance to Republican Party- the party that he was belong to. McCarthy was stubborn that he was right so the government decided to open the court to discuss and decide who was right about it. With the nonsense evidence, McCarthy lost. The McCarthy-Army hearings collapsed soon thereafter.
Both Salem Witch Trials and McCarthyism are horrible events that no one in America wants to happen again. They have many similar things. In The Crucibleof Arthur Miller, he used the trials as an allegory for the McCarthyism paranoia in the 1950s. McCarthyism often is described as being a witch hunt due to its similarities to the Salem Witch Trials. McCarthy started McCarthyism as the group of girls started the Salem Witch Trials. He was like the group of girls, accusing innocent people of false acts. They both put pressure on the people they charged at being witches or communist until people confessed it in the court to avoid punishments. They grew mostly out of fear. They grew relentless in persecution of their opposing groups. Their persecution of the opposing party pretty much walked over the rights of the citizens. The matter of fact was that legal infractions were held to smaller degree than supporting the opposing party. Neither of these two needed much evidence to make an accusation and in the Salem Witch Trials most of the accusations were just based off of things that kids were seeing and in the United States, all people needed was a little bit of association from indirect people such Tituba- she was a slave of Parris and she was so close to his daughter so he was assuming that Tituba is the cause of why his daughter did not wake up, or Rebecca was a person who helped Ann Putnam had a newborn but mostly all her children were died so she was accused, etc and they were in it. It was a very strange time and many people were upset with the type of persecution that was happening. It is also consider that a lot of innocent people were persecuted. Both events regarded the victims as scapegoats for all the problems, they also led to reputation damage forever.
Another similar thing is McCarthy and Abigail both had strongly believe that they were doing the right things and they should keep doing that. Abigail and McCarthy also were highly respected in the beginning, but their reputations had become ruined by the ends of the events that had taken place. These citizens were eventually downfall of the Trials and McCarthyism. Beside, The Salem Witch Trials and McCarthyism were occurrences of mass hysteria, hysteriar’s period. That is why many people listened and believed in McCarthy just as people in Salem were baselessly to the girls. McCarthyr’s and the girls unsubstantiated claims ruined lives and led to increased hostility. In the McCarthy era many people lost their jobs, and were basically black mailed for isolation from everything, it means they could not get a new job from anywhere and the government would more notice of them, and in the Salem Witch Trials many people were hanged, and lost their relatives. In both Puritans and McCarthyism, the desire to maintain a social order, based on the dominance of white, be a wealth man, was very strong.
McCarthyism and The Salem Witch Trials had many similar things but that does not mean they do not have different things. One different points that every one can see that the time it happened. McCarthyism occurred 1950-1954, while The Salem Witch Trials occurred about three hundred years ago (1692-1692). Beside, McCarthyism happened between two political parties and it was more about politics than religion as Salem Witch Trials were. McCarthy accused people of being communists, whereas Abigail accused people of being witches. Another difference is some of the first people who were accused of being witches wereoutsidersof those who accused, and practiced evil because they were different. Some people were not used to some of the things different people did so they automatically figured they were associated with the Devil. But in McCarthyism, some of the first people who were accused were insiders, people that were in the entertainment business and had relations, connections with many people. So those people were accused of being communist because they were part of a really huge and international industry. The difference between two events is the reason why people accused each other. For Salem Witch Trials, people were accused because of revenge; for example: Ann Putnam accused Rebecca Nurse of being witchcraft because she wanted to revenge the Nurse family of taking their land. For McCarthyism, people created accusations to gain status. Like if they accused someone being communist, they would be rewarded and it would be in their status, they also get less risk of accusations.
Besides, the one big different thing between two events was their punishment. The severity of punishments was very much different landscape at the time. In McCarthyism, being in the U.S and being called a communist could result in jail time, blacklist from their occupation. Most of them came out with a bad reputation whether or not they denied it. Meanwhile, Salem took it up a notch being accused of witchcraft could result in immediate execution, hanging, burning by stake. An accusation of witchcraft was as good as a ticket for death row at that time. The Salem Witch Trials hindered the community, it kind of represented that victims know the church was the main power in the community and they were going against. It was a little different, McCarthyism spreads this one may have been more severed, it spreads to industry, it was not only hindered communities and made the United States look a little paranoid at the time. The huge another difference things is that where two events affected. In McCarthyism, it took place and was going on throughout the whole country – United of America. Meanwhile, the Salem Witch Trials were limited in a town of Salem, Massachusetts.
These two events show off clearly about ways human being themselves in and over time. Nowadays when people look back they can see how selfish they were, how stupid they were, how coward people were, and how they react to something no logical when they were obsessed about their fears a lot. Both events accused innocent people for trying to find something can cover their fears. All the people who appeared to accuse people in Salem Witch Trials and McCarthyism has lied. They lied for their benefits; in Salem Witch Trials, if they accused someone, they can harm the person they hate, they would not see that person anymore; meanwhile in McCarthyism if people accused someone of being communist, they would be rewarded and risk of suspicion from the government. It shows off the selfish. This evidence shows that how selfish people were. In Salem, people accused everyone they think were witches by insanity ways, it happened the same with McCarthyism, people started to believe something without evidence or anything to prove after they listen to Abigail and McCarthy, they were weaker, they did not stand for their points of view, because of many thing were happening around them before, all of those made them easily get persuaded. This action was showing how weak they were and how they became foolish when they had crisis.
What Caused The Salem Witch Trial Hysteria
Witchcraft originally began in Europe in the 14th century and came to an end in the 18th century. Similar events occurred in the spring of 1692 in Salem, a small group of women testified to be controlled by Satan and blamed the local residents of Salem of witchcraft which caused a wave of hysteria and spread through Salem. A witch is a woman who signed a pact with the devil or sold her soul to the devil, a man was known as a wizard.
In the 1600s when unusual physical characteristics were observed, the residents of Salem were not able to explain the growth of unusual flap of skin on the body, commonly known as a witchr’s tit. When a person was accused of witchcraft, the residents of Salem would examine the person for a witchr’s tit, which is basically a skin tag caused by diabetes. The picture in Document D suggests that people are looking for the witch’s tit on the womanr’s back which suggests that unusual physical characteristics were signs of witchcraft.
Salem back then was a pure theocracy, which means that the people of Salem strongly believed that every word in the Bible was the true word of God and has to be followed. They also believed that witches existed and anybody could become a witch or a wizard by just signing a pact with the devil. In Document C it is indicated that devils and witches exist and the devil can possess anybody.
Based off of Document A which says, Thou shalt not suffer a witch to live, which means that a witch does not deserve to live, which is why the punishment for witchcraft was death.
Document H clearly suggests that fits experienced by adolescents and many adults were natural and might be a sign of convulsive ergotism. According to Document N accusers could have been suffering from a psychological disorder called convulsive ergotism, a condition caused by ergot a type of fungus found in rye and other grains. Rye and other cereal grains were mainly grown in the fields of Salem. Females had more chances of ergot poisoning than men. Children and pregnant women were more than likely to be affected by the condition. Symptoms include crawling sensations on the skin, trembling and shaking, wryneck, muscle spasms, confusions, delusions, hallucinations, vertigo, seizure-like muscle contractions in addition to a number of other symptoms. Rye was planted in April, harvested in August and threshing most probably took place before Thanksgiving. The symptoms of ergotism can be seen in children on December 1691. The next fall, in 1692, the hysteria ended.
On 19 April 1692, Bridget was called for examination and when she came near the affected girls they started getting fits. The examiner thinks that she is hurting the girls and when Bridget nods her head they were tortured when she looked up and the affected girls also looked up, which implies that they were just acting. According to Charles W. Upham, the girls just wanted to create some excitement in the neighborhood and when they realized that their mischief had reached to a whole new level, they went along with the insanity they created. They were prosecutors of every person that was tried in the court. They were not punished for the madness they created and there probably can be no doubt that they were great actors. Based on Document F and Document G we can conclude that they were just acting.
On the basis of Document K, Document L, and Document M one of the main reason why many people were accused of witchcraft could be hatred among the residents of Salem. Rebecca Nurse was accused of witchcraft by Ann Putnam Jr., she said that Nurse had affected her by biting, pinching, and pricking her. Ann Putnam Sr. also accused Nurse of witchcraft and said that Nurse murdered her children and tried choking her. Ann Putnam Sr. also feared and hated Nurse because she was from Topsfield, whose town officials had been harassing their family and Rebecca’s husband was involved in a dispute with Ann Putnamr’s father-in-law.
The Salem Witch trials is still an unsolved mystery because nobody knows what caused such a major outbreak and nobody knows the fundamental reason for the outbreak and why so many innocent people were accused and hanged.
Case Of The Salem Witch Trials
The greatest and most detrimental outburst of witchcraft in all of American history took place in Salem, Massachusetts. Today, the United States Court systems abide to the idea that one is innocent until proven guilty. On the contrary, the exact opposite was said to be true in the Salem Witch Trials.
There were more than two hundred people accused, their reputations destroyed and lives ruined. Furthermore, twenty-seven of those two hundred were executed in an unfair trial. In addition to women being accused, many children and even men were not safe. The Witch Trials impacted Salem politically through the corruption of government and mass hysteria, religiously through the change of church and state and belief of the devil, and socially through the divide of the town into two groups.
The Salem Witch Trials lasted from February 1692 to May 1693- a short amount of time but enough to cause immense damage. A lot was changing in colonial America at the time. Salem was divided into a prosperous town and farming village, causing fighting over resources, politics, and religion in the town. All before the trials even began the villagers split into sides over whether to declare independence from the town. But in 1689 the pro-separations won the right to establish their own church. The citizens picked Reverend Samuel Parris as their puritan minister. He was an extremely strict man who was the father and uncle of two of the girls accusing town members which increased the conflict. Then the first colonists were charged with witchcraft, Sarah Goode and Sarah Osborne both outcasts in the town accused by teenage girls who were trying to cover up a bunch of lies. Mercy Lewis, Mary Warren, Ann Putman, and Elizabeth Parris all ranging from age 11 to 21 were danced in the woods because Abigail said so and they were scared of her and also enjoyed the attention but Abigail Williams their leader was trying to conjure spirits to try to kill Elizabeth Proctor. Abigail used to work for her and while there she had an affair with Elizabeth’s husband John Proctor and fell in love with him. She wanted Elizabeth gone she can be with John but John wants nothing to do with her, and regrets his mistake. Abigail was very manipulative and would do anything to get what she wants even if that means ruining the lives of two hundred people. Then from two it turned to two hundred accused and the whole town being divided and broken apart by mass hysteria and belief that the devil was present in people’s souls around them. Eventually after realising the mistakes made the colony admitted the trials were a mistake and apologized to the families whose love members were convicted. It also lead to the removal of Reverend Parris and court.
Politically the trials and the town’s government was corrupt and unfair because they were conducted by men who were not trained lawyers, and who judged suspects who had no legal representation. In the trials there was an obvious lack of proof, but what worked in the girls favor was the irrational fear held by the general public which increased when Tituba, one of the women that was accused lied and stated that she was in fact, working for the devil. A bunch of accused people did admit to working with the devil even when they were not because of the courts implementings. The government didn’t give them a chance if you were accused you either confessed and your reputation was destroyed and put into jail or you didn’t and were executed, it was a lose lose situation. Also people who were accused had to with durin dangerous witch tests like the swimming test where they would tie them up throw them in the water and if he/she floated they were a witch, but drowning was a possibility. Or sometimes they would dunk the accused witch in water until they finally confessed. Now the constitution of the United States of America, states that everyone is equal. Equal opportunities, and equal justice even if they think your a witch, but over 250 witchcraft trials took place without that reasoning. Also back then power was everything and power hungry individuals would do anything to get the edge leading to more accusations. An example is when the Putmans would excuse farmers in order to gain their land. This effected every person in Salem not just the poor, but the people of the highest class too, no one was safe from the madness.
Without this government would things have escalated as they did? People were scared and under the fear of being accused next which then lead to the economic growth of the town to decrease, because people wouldn’t buy from certain stores or be associated with certain people if accused or on different side as them. An example is a farmer was accused, people rather starve then buy their crops from that farmer, so they would go out of business or sell their land. In Salem during the trials, if accused there was no saving you. An example of this is because of John Hathorne, during the trials he turned into a prosecutor rather than an impartial judge, he didn’t give you a chance and he lead to the hysteria. After the trials the divide of church and state followed. After the girls were caught dancing in the woods, two girls of the same family started experiencing seizures, fits, and expressing unusual behavior, so without medical background it was easy to put the blame on the devil because religion was such a big part of everyone’s lives in the puritan church. The government in Salem realised they needed to separate the Puritan church to the government before another outbreak occurred. But without the Salem Witch trials would we have evolved to the separation of church and state, or would are government still evolve around religion?
Religion was not a component of life to the Puritans, life revolved around their religion. A big belief was that God would protect his servants unconditionally and would keep them out of harmr’s way. So, when difficulties in the community began to arise, the blame was easily placed on the Devil and the witches that were carrying out his work for him. But they also believed the Devil only had a short time left in which to turn people against God, and due to the various difficulties in the community, the community believed that the time had come and the Devil had already begun to recruit people in the community to carry out his work. The town all so believed strongly in the wrath of God and did everything they could to prevent themselves from receiving it, that?› why there way of life was so strict and why the witch scare was taken so seriously and the accused were punished so harshly. The Puritans believed that the Devil was as real as God and that those members of society who were the weakest at upholding Puritan values and morals, specifically women and children, would be selected to carry out his work. Witches were believed to do just this, and therefore were deemed punishable under Puritan Law. The Salem trials turned people from the church after the trials because they did not know what to believe after and to start thinking on their own, these executions opened their eyes to what was right in front of them, the corruption of religion and how overbeiliving something can make people go crazy.
Religion is much different than it was back then. Christian beliefs are moral, and do not praise the works of the Devil. Religion is still a big part in a lot of people’s life but as we evolved it is not priority like it was in 1953. Though the Puritans were heavy believers in God, they would almost chastise anyone who did not cooperate in the works of God. The witches were prosecuted on trial for their religious practices by which the Puritans did not agree with. For example after being arrested, a man by the name of Giles Corey refused to enter a plea of guilty or not guilty, so they executed him by crushing him with stones for two days of pain. This changed religious views today because people are able to practice their own religious faith. They intended to build a society based on their religious beliefs not on ones like Judge danforth the person who overviewed the trials and who agreed with the imprisoned and hanging of innocent people.
Right before the witch trials took place, a smallpox outbreak spread through the town of Salem causing even more stress than about to come. Another thing that happened before the trials was one of the first social divides, it was pro-separations vs anti-separations groups in the town. History has repeated itself because then it was loyalists vs patriots and now Democrats vs Republicans. The residents of Salem were divided into two main groups, one ran by the Porters who were the head of the anti-separation group and the Putnams the head of the pro-separation group. This means there was a group that wanted to separate from Salem town and form Salem Village, and those who desired to stay together as the same community. The residents that wanted to separate consisted mainly of farming families, whereas those that wished to stay together were typically tied to Salem Townr’s thriving and rich harbors. The group in favor of separation based their argument on the fact that Salem Townr’s thriving economy made it too individualistic.The impact this social divide had on the town may have been the reason the trials were caused. Everyone was stressed out, kids were board and people hated their neighbors and wanted them to pay. When the girls accused someone it didn’t have to get out of hand but with the town was broken apart for example the Putmans were jealous of Rebecca nurse because of her eight healthy kids and Mrs. Putman had 4 miscarriages so when she was accused the Putmans started to think maybe she was conjuring spirits to help her have kids and then agreed with the accusations and added to them. Rebecca Nurse was executed because she rather die an innocent woman than confess to being a witch to save her life, which more than fifteen of the accused did including John proctor. The trials changed people’s opinion and relationships with their friends, neighbors and even family. Making them make decision they wouldn’t even imagine.
Governor Phips who ran the courts of Oyer and Terminer believed strongly in witchcraft, but many people suspect that he was aware of people being falsely accused. When the girls were found dancing naked in the woods around a fire drinking chicken blood and when someone saw and reported them, they said the devil’s servants had possessed them. He believed them without doubt or evidence. He was a huge reason that spectral evidence was allowed as evidence in the trials, because he didn’t do his job properly. An example is when he imprisoned Dorcas Good who was only four years old, he also put in jail an eight year old girl named Sarah Carrier. Phipps became a controversial figure, not only for allowing spectral evidence during the trials, but also because after the trials ended, he tried to shift the blame to his Lieutenant Governor, William. After the trials the girls were not even charged. Abigail ran away but not after breaking into reverend parris house and stealing all his money and only one of the other girls wrote an apology to the victims love ones. This continued to cause anger to the people of salem for many generations after the event, but it shaped there community as well and impacted the lives of everyone in it, some for better some for worse, but they all came out survivors of the Salem Witch trials.
The Salem Witch trials continues to fascinate historians and we continue to ask why, in a society that should have known better, did this happen? Its impact socially, religiously and politically will continue to impact us as it did every part of the town of Salem in 1953. Are government and the mass hysteria caused, religiously the impact it had on the separation of church and state and socially the divide of the town into two groups and how it impacts may have lead to the executions of twenty innocent people will never be forgotten. The Salem Witch trials had so much negative but now its a learning tool for our society and we learn from their mistakes so we don’t repeat them.
A Theory About Witches Living In Salem
Youre a wizard, Harry! This famous quote from J. K. Rowlingr’s Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, gives Harry Potter a new, positive look on life. The women accused of being witches also heard this and had a new look on life, but not in a positive way. Those words meant the end of their life. In 1692, more than 200 people were accused of practicing witchcraft in a seven month period full of fear and worry, now infamously known as the Salem Witch Trials.
Life was quite different in colonial New England than today. Arianne Pinchukr’s article Religion in New England Colonies tells how religion was a major part of everyday life. According to her article, the Puritans felt they were superior to anyone who was not a Puritan, and many non-Puritans were often mistreated and killed. This relates to the trials because the witches that were convicted were considered followers of the devil, not of God. Another source for this question is an article from the September 7, 2015 edition of the New Yorker. According to Schiffr’s article The Witches of Salem, in 1692, a series of mysterious events were blamed on witches living in Salem. Witchcraft was the second capital crime established only after idolatry when the colonists formed a legal code in 1641. Martha Goodwin, one of the defendants, was unable to sufficiently recite the Lordr’s Prayer, leading her to be hanged in November of 1688. In conclusion, the article summarizes that the witches were seen as criminals.A third source, an article about Bridget Bishop by Kiera Stevenson, says Bridget Bishop was the first woman to be hanged starting what is now infamously known as the Salem Witch Trials.
In early June of 1692, Bishop was accused of witchcraft and was hanged. She died due to peopler’s fear of the unknown. Her trial lasted only eight days, after she was accused of every mysterious happenings in Salem, including an illness spreading. When the villager’s ministerr’s daughter became ill, Bishop was the one blamed. After more and more girls were found sick, the doctor announced the cause to be witchcraft. The village girls were all accusing Bishop of glancing at them and them falling, with her being the only one to revive them. The entire town seemed to have something against Bridget and her case; they watched as she was led up to Gallows Hill to be hanged on June 10, 1692, starting a seven month era of fear and panic.Loiselle Brett wrote an article about the trials. Her article says it all started when three girls went to an Indian slave woman to tell them their fortunes. What started out as a fun time, tuned dreadful when the three girls started having uncontrollable screaming fits and temporary blindness and deafness. The village doctor was at a loss for the cause and blamed it on witchcraft. By May of 1692, the prisons were overflowing with witches; the townr’s legal system was stressed because they could not hold any trials. The colony did not have a charter and the town magistrates felt they did not have the power to hold capital trials.
It was not until the new governor Sir William Phips, arrived on May 14, 1692 that the trials could begin. It was when the governorr’s own wife was accused that he disbanded the court and the trials were ended on October 29, 1692.The answer is — no one really knows. It has been shown that true magic is impossible. The closest answer that has been found is that the people were scared and science was not advanced enough to find a true answer, so everyone blamed it on what they knew, which at the time was religion. In conclusion, the Salem Witch Trials was simply a sickness that swept over the village of Salem could have been something as simple as an ear infection or a panic attack, not witchcraft.
Affect Of The Salem Witch Trials
The Salem Witch Trials still affects and haunts the American imagination today. When the event occurred in 1692, the colonial authorities has banned any publications that talked about or were related to it. Because they do not want people to spread any rumors that hurt the villages and make people alienated by it.
After the crisis, Governor Phips wrote a letter to Privy Council and said: put a stop to the Print[ing] of any discourse one way or the other that may increase the needless disputes of people upon this occasion because I saw a likelihood of Kindling an inextinguishable flame.
But this event was very popular and especially, it was a good example of mass hysteria so even Governor Phips was trying to stop people writing about it but he could not. Nowadays, the world is developing, human is developing, people get more interest to something weirdly. People like to read about their history, people like venturing weird theories about fungus bread, they like to listen some strange stories, especially that story is a real story. Based on knowledge of Americans appetite, many people were written about the Salem Witch Trials, some makes up it to make it more vivid. One of the most famous books about this event and talk more correct about it is The Witches by Stacy Schiff, this book was helped her got Pulitzer Prize and became one of her best selling. No matter how she wrote the book, no matter how its cover looks, or no matter how it reads. Because it was fit to American appetite, it became popular.
The number of published books written about the event is not countable.At the certain time, people look back on the Salem Witch Trials and some books, movies about it and regarded them as a psychoanalyst listing the elements of a patientr’s neurosis. This prompted the event to become more interesting and attracted American attention. It becomes a word of mouth story for person to person, with and probably it got some make up on it to make the story more interesting. It made the events got more popular in American community. Also, because itr’s an excellent example of how damage hysteria can create. Nowadays , when school teach students about hysteria, they usually use this real event as an example. In addition, it has strong influence to peopler’s vision on witchcraft. The reason why The Salem Witch Trials has been teach in every school in both English and History class is because it show many ways of human, it shows human thought, and it reflected discrimination of the society and religious fanaticism. The discrimination of the events were two things, one is discrimination between women and men, and one is between upper class and lower class. It showing throughout the evidence that poor and no power people would easily be victims of witchcraft accusations. First three victims were poor people and belong to lower class; two of them were homeless and one was a slave.
Beside, most of the victims were women, only one man were died. This event also talked about religious fanaticism, fanaticism in religious happened when someone goes over beyond of strict follow to his or her faith. It occurred in Salem when many died were the result of adherents to religious teachings by harsh behavior. Meanwhile , the reason for McCarthyism has been teach today is more simple than Salem Witch Trials, some schools do not really teach about it in English class, it just an event goes parallel with Salem Witch Trials to show of the contrastive. Two events were helping Americans develop to be strong such as today. Nowadays, Salem become one of the most popular place to visit.
Because of that event, the Salem becomes a town to witches practice public, witches meaning here is the people who follow the Wicca religion – a religious comes from United Kingdom, Wiccan people believe in nature and usually a God or Goddess, emphasizes a strong connected with earth, they believe that they can take magical from earth. Because of faith in magical, every Wiccan believe that they are witches. Some visited place such as Salem Witch Village make another view of witches. Modern view of witches nowadays is totally different with the view of witches which appear in many centuries ago. They do not worship evil, instead of that they worship cycles of nature as a God. They even have a system called the Witches Education Bureau. When people visit to Salem during October, they will see many people customer witches are walking around streets or many shop in downtown selling magical equipments. People also appreciate that Salem today is a ruler of measurement of development of America. While people still fighting for their religion in many various in most the rest of the world. The strong development of the diplomat community in Salem is an evidence for freedom religion in America. Both Salem Witch Trials and McCarthyism were be more strong. Nothing is useless. Everything got better when it has experienced throughout something. “All life is an experiment. The more experiments you make the better.” Ralph Waldo Emerson.
Tragic Deaths During Witch Trials
Although many accused were hanged some faced something worse. during the time of the witch trials, if someone was accused and didn’t confess or take the attention off of them they were hanged on gallows hill where everyone watched. Those who faced other ways of death weren’t so lucky as to have an almost sudden death like appeal. One of the most rememberable tragic deaths was a 71-year-old named Giles Corey, but there were many others who didn’t see the best death possible.
Giles Corey, Lydia Dustin, Ann Foster, Sarah Osborne, and Roger Toothaker, along with other unnamed people, died but the ways were nowhere near as humane as they could have been. Giles Corey born in England about 1611 was one of the six men to be executed during the Salem witch trials of 1692. When asked to say names and accuse others of witchcraft 71-year-old Giles Corey refused to plead innocent or guilty in a court appearance. This lead to his brutal punishment. The elderly Giles Corey was crushed to death by stacks of thick stone slabs, not scared of facing his death. He was sentenced to peine forte et dure even though it was an illegal punishment and ended up being torturously crushed to death on or before September 18, 1692. His famous last words were remembered by most of them being “more weight”. These words were uttered as a final attempt to expedite his death while also showing that not even imminent death could convince him to go to trial.
Although Giles suffered quite a bit others did as well. Four more of the convicted, Lydia Dustin, Ann Foster, Sarah Osborne, and Roger Toothaker, died in the unbearable conditions in the witch jails awaiting their execution dates. These people were the accused that either mainly got forgotten about or put on hold because of other trials. Not only were they just left in holding cells they were left in poor conditions with hardly any food or water. All of the jails intended to hold prisoners only temporarily were hot in summer and cold in winter. They often stank of dung and tobacco and were infested with lice. The dungeon was cold and foul smelling and kept in total darkness. Located near the north river it often flooded during high tide with water rising to the prisoner’s ankles. They were also victims of insulting unending examinations and excommunication from the churches. the small cells had no bedding and no bars on the cells as most prisoners accepted their punishment. For those who tried to escape if they were caught they would be immediately executed. For those who stayed and died after they were found dead they were thrown into shallow graves to live their afterlife in peace.
In addition, seven others died in jail and faced the same fate. when people died inside the jail they were put into shallow graves while those who were hanged got proper burials. The society found that those who pled guilty and where hanged were still seen as children of God. They were seen as making up for their wrongdoings as a type of offering to god for peace. While those in jail were dying they went out and dug very shallow graves just big enough for them to squeeze the body into. Those who saw this fate were still seen as ungodly and were not worthy of a proper Christian burial like the rest. Even though being hanged isn’t exactly a walk in the park others still face worse things. And though people don’t see it as wrong because they were the accused their fate could have been changed if people around them weren’t so naive. Whether their death was out of dignities like Giles Corey or it was just someone’s unlucky day like those who died in jail the witch trials didn’t have a good ending for some. People should remember and acknowledge those who suffered and didn’t have a proper Christian burial because yes they may have been witches, but they deserved a better end to their life.
The Period Of Salem Witchcraft Trials
Before the start of the American legal system, allegations were the precedent for right and wrong. In the late 1600r’s the Puritans of New England were figuring out how to civilly resolve disputes between villagers. The Puritans had a strong belief in the devil and witchcraft, creating an atmosphere of fear and suspicion.
Justice was not given to those accused of witchcraft, instead anyone displaying strange behavior was presumed as guilty. The Salem Witchcraft Trials was a substantial period in history because it illustrated the dangers of superstitions and prejudiced assumptions, which led to the execution of innocent people.
There are many events that led up to the Salem Witch Trials. In 1233, when witchcraft was not familiar to anybody, Pope Gregory formed the medieval interrogation to bring justice against the growing heresy (Linder, 2009) to arrest, try, convict and execute heretics. Pope Gregoryr’s inquisition carried on to the point where he insisted on torturing the heretics during trial, which came to a stop in 1258 when Pope Alexander IV forced their inquisition to confine their investigations to just cases of heresy without torture. The Church allowed the inquisition to investigate Witchcraft, which lead to attempting to prove that witches are heretics (Robinson, 2001). Years later, in 1347, the mysterious Bubonic Plague also known as Black Death, struck in Europe killing over twenty million people. It began with a crowd of townspeople welcoming home the ships full of sailors returning from the Black Sea, although the sailors inside ships were not quite the same. Most of the sailors aboard returned dead and the ones that remained were near death and covered in large black boils on every inch of their body.
Little did they know that this strange disease was contagious. By the time they figured it out, the disease was already spread among the citizens, and it was too late. No one could ever figure out what had happened to the sailors when they were out at sea, the people then got lost under the misapprehension that this incident was curse from the dark acts of witchcraft. This point in time demonstrated how ignorance could lead to superstition. Pope Innocent VII officially declared witches were real in 1484. Later, in 1530, King Henry of England separated his nation from Roman Catholicism, which resulted in creating the church of England because he did not believe in witches (Linder, 2009). English settlers who strongly believed in witchcraft landed in Jamestown, Virginia in 1607. A couple years later, in 1630, the settlers called themselves Puritans, and began to settle in Salem Village, Massachusetts (Linder, 2009).
The era of the Salem Witch Trials held in the colony of Salem, Massachusetts in 1692 was a dark time and had devastating historical implications. The Salem Witch Trials were a series of witchcraft cases brought before local magistrates to declare innocence or guilt. There were one-hundred-forty-one people imprisoned, nineteen people were executed and two more died from causes directly related to the investigations. The trials in Salem, Massachusetts accounted for one quarter of all the people executed for witchcraft in New England (Callis, 2005).
The trials began on February 1st in 1692 when three female suspects were brought before local magistrates accused of the crime of witchcraft. On March 1st later that year, they were interrogated for several days. When it all ended in May of 1693, the remaining victims were released from jail (Blumberg, 2007).
Even though there were many people and families that were affected by the Trials that lived in Salem, it all began with just three young girls. First, the minister Samuel Paris nine-year-old daughter, Elizabeth Betty Paris. The second young accuser was Abigail Williams, who was eleven years old and the niece of Samuel Paris. The third girl was Ann Putnam, who was also eleven years old. All of these girls began to have fits, including uncontrollable outbursts of screaming, shouting and entering into trances which the local doctor, William Griggs, diagnosed as bewitchment on the girls. Later, more girls in the village started having these same symptoms; acting odd and accusing more people of witchcraft. Some of these girls names were Mercy Lewis, Elizabeth Hubbard, Mary Walcott and Mary Warren (history.com, 2011). There were many innocent people who were accused of being of a witch and some of them were even executed for it.
Tituba was the first to be accused; she was a former slave who now worked for Samuel Parris. Samuel Paris bought her when he was no longer married so that she could help maintain the Parris household on a day-to-day basis. Tituba had one child and was married to John Indian who also worked for Paris. The Paris family moved to Salem Village around 1689 and Parris daughter, Betty, began having strange fits and symptoms. Betty later participated in the making of a witch cake. A witch cake was a mixture of rye and Bettyr’s urine, which was baked and fed to their dog in the belief that Bettyr’s afflicter would be revealed. Later, when her father found out about the creation of the cake, he was enraged. But shortly after the girls named Tituba as a witch and Parris beat Tituba until she confessed. Therefore, Tituba was the first witch to confess in Salem. In her confession, she apologized to Betty and told her how much she loved and cared about her. Because of Titubar’s confession, instead of executing her right away, Tituba helped the girls with key evidence against accused witches she named Sarah Good and Sarah Osborne. Later, Tituba and her husband, John, spent 13 months in jail, until an unknown person spent 7 pounds for Tituba and her husband to be released and come to work for him. Historians today still do not have any further information on where they went (Linder, 2009).
Another ordinary innocent citizen who was accused of being a witch is Bridget Bishop. Bridget Bishop was the first person in Salem to be accused and hanged for being a witch. Bridget Bishop has been just like any other older woman that loved to gossip, but when it came to witchcraft she protested I have no familiarity with the devil (National Geographic, 2011) which the court still neglected to believe, and she then was hung (National Geographic, 2011).
Sarah Good was the next accused citizen. Sarah was one of the first three women that were ever accused of witchcraft in Salem. She was questioned on February of 1692. When Sarah protested to the judges, she was found innocent. But, when they questioned her young daughter, her timid answers made the judges change their mind and pronounced Sarah as guilty. Sarah was pregnant at the time of her trials, so they waited to execute her after she had given birth. Sadly, the infant died in her womb while Sarah was in prison. So, in July of 1692, Sarah herself was hanged. Sarahr’s final words were if you take my life away, God will give you blood to drink (National Geographic, 2011).
These events are an excellent example of how false information can travel quickly, pollute the minds of the masses, and be very harmful to society as a whole. Had superstition not been so prevalent in this time, it is hard to say whether or not these innocent women would have been treated so heinously.
- History.com, A&E Television Networks, 2011, www.history.com/topics/colonial-america/salem-witch-trials.
Blumberg, Jess. Makingwings.net, 2007, www.makingwings.net/libraryhandouts/salemwitchtrials.html.
- Callis, Marc. The Aftermath of the Salem Witch Trials in Colonial America. List of Books and Articles about Euthanasia | Online Research Library: Questia, National Association of Social Workers, 1 July 2005, www.questia.com/library/journal/1P3-1219929101/the-aftermath-of-the-salem-witch-trials-in-colonial.
- Linder, Douglas. Famous American Trials: Salem Witch Trials, 1692. The Trial of Galileo: An Account, 2009, law2.umkc.edu/faculty/projects/ftrials/salem/SALEM.HTM.
- National Geographic Society. Witch Trials in the 21st Century. National Geographic Society, 15 Oct. 2012, www.nationalgeographic.org/news/witch-trials-21st-century/.
- Robinson, Enders A. The Devil Discovered Salem Witchcraft 1692. Waveland Press, 2001.