The Salem Trials And The False Witchcraft Accusations
In the year 1692 an incident that resulted to twenty people being executed and even an additional two hundred people being accused of witchcraft .These injustices had prevailed in the society and people would be randomly accused and randomly killed because people believed that witchcraft was a punishable crime like other. In the most bizarre events in the American history the Salem trials had entirely become rampant and even shaped the court decisions (Levin,1955) However in the year 1933common sense prevailed and most people argued that witchcraft would not be a punishable offense since supernatural forces could not be used as evidence in a court of law. Before the trials were brought to an end many prejudicial killings and occurrences of people being hanged after being accused of being witchdoctors had prevailed in the Salem community. The paper will basically address the various injustice son Salem trials and also give logical conclusions about these trials
The initial events of these Salem trials began when a number of young girls in a particular community got a strange illness in February 1962 .Some of the possible and famous symptoms include fever aches and even pain. At that particulate point the medical examination could have directly proved that it was a bad flue. However these symptoms further progressed and become more volatile that the caused the girls to scream and even contorted their bodies in strange position by crawling under furniture. They were also heard uttering strange sounds and claiming that they were pricked by pins. In an attempt to examine and find the cause of these strange behaviors a local doctor closely examined the girls and claimed that they had been inflicted by a supernatural witchcraft force (Blumberg, 2007). In the seventh century the Salem had been known of blaming witchcraft of the evils of the world and even prosecuted those who were thought of conducting these evils. As the mysteries continued the girls blamed three women for afflicting them with these estrange illness and hence the Salem trials began.
Some of the first three women who were to face these charges were Sarah, Tibuta, Good and Osborne. These women were seen as outcasts in the community and these made them an easy target for people in the Salem community to spread rumors that they were the ones who had bewitched the girls and even made them to suffer these strange illnesses and even make strange sounds at night. Both Sarah Good and Sarah Osborne strongly denied and even said that they had no association with witchcraft or even the devil. However Tibuta on the centrally decalred that indeed the devil had visited him and all she needed was to serve him.(Warshow,1953). She did these in order to spark a debate and also believed that it could stop her from being further beaten and would go and jail to avoid her being killed. When she admitted of being a witch all the three were damned to jail
Chaos broke out and in the other consecutive months many people were being arrested for witchcraft accusation of bewitching young girls in the Salem. However no one was bullet proof to these accusations when a famous loyal churchgoer was charged with witchcraft and people began to panic. This is because pinpointing of even innocent people that had not history of witchcraft began to occur. When people needed to eliminate someone from a leadership position they went ahead to ensure that they were falsely accused of witchcraft and even went into jail. The basic assumption was that if Martha Corey a famous churchgoer had been charged and accused of witchcraft then basically anyone else in the Salem community would probably face same charges because she was seen and perceived to be the most religious. As more and more charges were brought before courts and responsible authorities people from Salem and even surrounding areas were brought in for questioning. Many of the accused however were simply unable to defend themselves because these charges were simply biased in nature and it was also very difficult to prove whether an individual was with or not. It was pathetic that the authorities went ahead to allow fake evidence such as foul gossips and other merely unsupported evidence and assertions. For example dreams and visions by people believed to decode witchcraft would be used against people and victims and these sets of evidence in a modern day would not build any form of solid evidence against the people. For example even after Rebecca nurse had even provided enough evidence that were beyond any reasonable doubts to prove that she was not guilty the presiding judge in these trial decided to reconvene the jury in order to reconsider the laid down facts. To the surprise of many after the trial the nurse was found to be guilty and even convicted to be hanged. It was now clear that those who were weak and timid in their justification about their association with witchcraft would definitely be hanged .killed or convicted. In the year 1692 frenzy executions were conducted and an elderly old man was crushed to death with heavy stones.
There seemed to be no end to these prejudicial killings and trials until the then educator and president of Harvard College begged the court to reconsider their decision since there was no room for testimony and evidence that included dreams or even visions. He also went on record in his publication it would be better to release ten suspected witches than killing one innocent person. In response to these Mather’s appeal The then Governor of Massachusetts William Phipps finally put an end to these unfair and unjust trials by suspending all th trials and even releasing all the people charged with witchcraft on may 1963.These action was widely welcomed by people and also put an end to this prejudicial kills that had occurred. Both religion and the church also played a major role in facilitating these trials because most of those accused were thought of being sinners and those who did not go to church. The trials also became personal and those who were in conflict with the church norms and tradition would easily be victimized and even mad to undergo trials. Solid and tangible evidence have to be well incorporated before a judge can fully declare someone guilty. From a critical point of view witchcraft is not verifiable an d no evidence can be used to prove whether someone is a witch or not. For example in the case scenario for the three girls, medical examination would have proved that they were suffering from a bad flue as opposed to witchcraft which many had claimed. During the 17th century religion also played major role in also determined who was right and wrong which was totally against their free will and ability to make decisions and live their lives how each one wished.
In conclusion the trials in Salem were clearly unjust. Witchcraft was non verifiable and no one could claim that supernatural forces could be used as evidence in a court of law. Accusing people of witchcraft was simply a clear way of getting rid of people regarded as outcasts and sinners in the church. Just by the mere fact that those accused were not allowed to have a legal counsel was clear violation of their human rights and the court had even failed to protect its people by allowing fake evidence in its rulings (Fels, 2017) Since the Salem trials were banned in 1702 the justice legal systems dramatically improved and hence before any accusation or case laws were allowed to precede solid evidence had to be provided before a court of law and carefully evaluated. In case the evidence was not sufficient the clients had to advise. Social rimes such as witchcraft which mostly rely on dark and supernaturally forces cannot be verified and accusing an individual would be totally wrong and illegal. Other dispute resolutions such arbitration would be used in order to settle this matters outside a court of law since it would be very hard for a judge to ascertain when, where and whether the occurrence had occurred or not.
The Witchcraft-Substance Of The Azande Belief
Among the Azande, a person doesn’t become a witch, a person is born a witch. Being a witch, which is determined by one having the witchcraft-substance or not, is something that is passed on by genetics. If a father is a witch, then all his sons will be witches. If a mother is a witch, then all her daughters will be witches. As clearly stated by the title of the first chapter, “witchcraft is an organic and hereditary phenomenon”. The Azande believe that the witchcraft-substance can be found within one’s belly, attached to the liver.
Although all the Azande entirely believe in witches, sorcerers, and the witchcraft-substance, it hasn’t been seen that a witch accepts his or her crimes. On the contrary, those who are deemed as witches by the poison oracle usually state that they don’t wish injury or death on anybody, and that if they are a witch, it is unknown to them. In short, witches within the Azande aren’t conscious agents when they are bewitching others. Even if someone has ill-will against another, they wouldn’t realize when or how they bewitched someone. Those who have been accused of bewitching others but who are unaware of doing such a thing often conclude that the witchcraft-substance had its own soul that gained independence whenever the said witch went to sleep.
However, even if a Zande is doubtful of themselves bewitching someone, when a fowl’s wing is placed on the doorstep of their homestead, it is rare that a Zande is offended and shows anger. Rather, a Zande tries to prove his innocence by emphasizing the fact that none of his kinsmen have the witchcraft-substance since they haven’t been accused of bewitching anyone before and they don’t wish any injury not death on anyone. But a Zande normally follows the tradition of the community by blowing out water and saying that if he does indeed possess witchcraft in his belly that he is unaware of it and that he wishes it to cool. When a Zande discusses of the witch-craft substance remaining cool, what they mean to refer to is that they wish that their witchcraft-substance will be inactive, without a harm to anyone.
Witches have witchcraft-substance that is believed to be attached to their liver, which is examined during autopsies. However, whenever bewitching takes place, the witchcraft-substance takes the form of a bright light that can only be seen at night by those who aren’t witches (it can always be seen by those who are witches, but within the day those who aren’t witches can’t see it) that has been seen heading to people’s homesteads who have either died before or had relatives that had died. Whenever one is bewitched, they are usually afflicted with a painful injury that leads to a slow death. Witching is distinguished clearly from sorcery. But the witchcraft concept is thoroughly embraced by the Azande, and daily problems that one faces and usually links to relevant causes, is linked to witchcraft by the Azande. For instance, if a Zande has a poor hunting trip, he might blame it on witchcraft.
The Azande have this perception of double spears, with the first spear being the actual cause, and the second spear being the witchcraft. So, if one’s homestead burns to the ground, one would see the first spear as too much of a close proximity between fire and the house, while the second spear would be witchcraft. But as aforementioned, witches aren’t conscious agents of bewitching, so they don’t have organizations, nor do they get together. Even though that’s what the details point to, the Azande believe that witches lead a confidential life where they share their killing with other witches and show off their slyness.
The true story of Mrs. Witch
I was never called a witch before until those greedy and wretched children came to my house.
I knew heaps concerning witches, of course, as I am positive that you simply do too. Children are much wiser and know about these things than their folks. A man called Roald Dahl composed a play about witches, quite a while back, and all of a sudden, the entire world was ‘witch this’ and ‘witch that’. You couldn’t sell your house and relocate if you heard that your old next-door neighbour had put a curse on people who live in the area because they didn’t offer her a glass of milk, or that a lady had come wandering into the city and made all the animals ill because no one let her stay the night.
But all of this is far from truth, you know. Witches are not an invention of Roald Dahl. He hired them, like every author did in the olden times. Be that as it may, I am not a witch. I even have survived for a really, very, terribly very long time, however, I’m not a witch. I’m a touch bit magical. positively not a witch although. Are we clear?
You see, I am very well-travelled. Back in my early hundreds, I travelled around the globe when I was a lot younger.
You see, we folks have received hundreds of assorted titles from the various nations we lived in. Some societies call us elf, fairy, sprite, leprechaun or nymph. If people scrutinised adequately, they would understand that we are so similar; fairy-tale folks are really terribly uninteresting and dreary. I know everyone on this earth and you should know one thing, when you’ve known the same people for as long as I have, you would soon aspire that you were a witch, because it might make things more fascinating. Do not forget that I am not a witch, just a little mystical creature, down on her misfortune.
When I was done with my trouble-making tricks and tired of putting magic spells on people, I was ready to put down my roots. Now, you might think you know rest of my story. The fairy tales you have read say that my little house in the forest was made of gingerbread. Gingerbread? If you’re a practical person you know how foolish that idea sounds. Humans should know what happens to gingerbread when it rains? It is not a good construction material, and neither are chocolates as roof tiles, or icing as cement. If the rain did not melt everything away into a puddle of sludge, don’t you think that the hungry animals in the forest might have come along and eaten it before Hansel and Gretel reached there? People, especially grown-ups, have their heads so filled up with nonsense that the reality could do gymnastics in a silly hat and they still wouldn’t see it.
So, bear in mind, my house may look like made of gingerbread, but it definitely wasn’t. Those little monsters had no business to be creeping around, and certainly no right to be trying to break bits off my wall, I won’t lie that I didn’t tell them off, because that wouldn’t be true. I was furious and I screamed a bit, but then Gretel started to cry and I felt bad. I always quite loved children, even when they were badly behaved.
‘We apologize. We haven’t eaten in days and are so very hungry,’ Gretel muttered as tears trickled down her cheek.
I asked, ‘Why are you wandering around the forest by yourselves without any grown-ups? The animals could have attacked and eaten you for dinner.’
‘Our dad left us here,’ Hansel put his arm around his sister, ‘He said he would return but it’s been days and he hasn’t come to take us home! We are worried something happened to him.’
‘Oh dear,’ I sighed, patting Gretel on the head, ‘You’d better come in. I have some biscuits – real gingerbread, if you are hungry.’
They stayed for a little while, eating all my biscuits and drinking all my milk. I drew them a map of the forest paths, so they could find their way out, and off they went.
At eight o’clock the next morning, a man was pounding on my door and shouting, ‘Mrs. Witch? Mrs. Witch, are you home?’
Mrs. Witch? I ran down the stairs and opened the door.
‘I am NOT a witch. Who are you?’
‘Jack Stringfellow, Woodland News,’ he said, licking the tip of a pen and holding a notepad, ‘Mrs. Witch, what do you have to say about the statement made by Hansel and Gretel that you tried to lock them up and eat them?’
‘I am not a wit— Wait, what did you say?’
He smiled a slimy smile. ‘Hansel and Gretel. Apparently, you put them in a cage and wanted to eat them.’
I was so flabbergasted I couldn’t even speak.
‘They’re saying they absconded by pushing you into your oven. It’s not looking good for you, Mrs. Witch.’
I persisted, ‘I am not a witch.’ I observed that he was continuously writing something even though our conversation was anything but significant. I asked politely, ‘Would you mind sharing what you are writing?’
‘I merely write the truth, ma’am,’ he said. ‘Mrs. Witch, they were not fibbing about the gingerbread house, were they?’
‘You silly man, the house is not made of gingerbread and I am not a witch! Also, if they had pushed me into my oven, wouldn’t I be burnt and turned into a crisp?’
‘I don’t know, lady,’ Jack Stringfellow laughed and clicked a photograph of me, ‘It will be hot off the press that you are a witch. Who knows what kind of magic spells you can do? You can demonstrate some if you want. This will be published in the evening edition, if you’d like to buy and read it!’
And that’s what really happened. Those mischievous children made up horrid lies about me and then a spiteful man wrote them down and published it in the newspaper that I was a dangerous and crafty witch. Could you do one thing for me, now that you know the true story? Next time you hear someone telling lies about me, make sure that you tell them what actually happened. And, if you’re ever in the woods, please drop by for coffee and real gingerbread and I can tell you another funny story about the time a not so bright princess pricked her finger on a needle and had to sleep for a hundred years just to get over it. You won’t believe that one either.
The Accounts of the Salem Witchcraft and Massachusetts Bay Colony Case Against Anne Hutchinson Trials
The Massachusetts Bay Colony Case Against Anne Hutchinson and Accounts of the Salem Witchcraft Trials are both accounts of cases that are being held in colonial times. The Massachusetts case is about a charge against Anne Hutchinson for practices and beliefs deemed threatening to the stability of church and commonwealth. Hutchinson was conducting meetings at her residence which entailed her attacking doctrinal premises, denouncing ministers in her community, and her inclination to mysticism. The trial is composed mostly of the prosecution questioning her about the details of the meetings such as , “Why do you keep a meeting at your house as you do every week upon a set day?” (Shi Mayer 26). The prosecution keep pressuring her into admitting guilt of the charges with these constant questions about very specific details about her meetings. Towards the end of the trial she starts to justify her actions by comparing herself to Abraham in the sense that they were both spoken to by God. The trial ends with her being found guilty of the charges and being exiled. In the Accounts of the Salem Witchcraft Trials a summary of the hysteria that occurred during the Salem Witchcraft Trials is told. According to the passage 43 people were brought to trial for witchcraft. The accusers would often provide evidence such as being cursed by the defendant. By the end of the trial many people were pressured into confessing guilt; however, of the 43 accused only eight were found guilty and prosecuted.
The authors point of view in The Massachusetts Bay Colony Case Against Anne Hutchinson is to recount what was said during the trial. The trial clearly shows the prosecutor’s attempt at forcing Hutchinson to admit guilt. It also provides Hutchinson’s reasoning as to why she held these meetings and why she felt right performing these meetings. The author’s point of view in Accounts of the Salem Witchcraft Trials is to show the evidence of satan’s work. The author was not so much providing an account of the trial as to show how the town itself was being influenced by the work of the devil. This is evident since the testimonies are the most ridiculous and far-fetched that are available. An example of this is shown in the account of Joseph Ring. “This man has been strangely carried about by Daemons, from one Witch-meeting to another, for near two years together; and for one quarter of this time, they have made him, and keep him dumb tho’ he is now again able to speak…” Although these articles are both about trials they do have some major differences and similarities.
The similarities between the two articles are that they are both accounts of trials and they both contained evidence of prosecutors attempting to force defendants into admitting guilt. The prosecutor that questioned Hutchinson consistently tried to pry incriminating details from Hutchinson through slight variations on questions about her meetings. The prosecutor during the Salem Witchcraft Trials successfully forced some defendants into admitting that they sold their soul to the devil. “When these Witches were Tried, several of them confessed a contract with the Devil, by signing his Book” (Shi Mayer 47). Obviously these people could not have signed a contract with the devil however the prosecutors beat into the defendants the belief that they were witches so much that the defendants started to believe it themselves. The difference between the two articles is that they both have different results. In the first article, the prosecutor successfully gets Hutchinson exiled. In the second article the prosecutor only successfully gets three people charged with the witchcraft. Both of these articles possess a significance in history.
The trial against Anne Hutchinson showcases the struggles of expressing freedom of speech and freedom of religion before the Bill of Rights was created. Since there were no rights protecting Anne to speak freely she was charged with threatening the stability of the commonwealth and church for simply expressing her dissatisfaction with the current way that the bible was being interpreted. The Salem Witchcraft Trial showed the danger of the mob mentality and the damage that it can cause. There was no factual evidence to support the charges. The testimonies consisted of speculation of coincidental circumstances and were probably exaggerated to further their case. For example this testimony by John Atkinson states, “he exchanged a Cow with a Son of Susannah Martin’s, whereat she muttered and was unwilling he should have it … She broke all the ropes that were fastened unto her and … yet she made her escape … and gave them such further trouble, as they could ascribe to no cause but Witchcraft.” (Shi Mayer 46) In today’s times this evidence would be unbelievable; however, in colonial times this evidence was seen as probable.. This also displayed the irrational fear and hysteria that these colonists had. These trials serve as an example of how hysteria and fear can result in unnecessary deaths. These articles are also part of U.S history being that the trials occurred during the colonial era.
The trial against Anne Hutchinson is a prime example for the reasoning behind the creation of the Bill of Rights. The Bill of Rights was created to protect U.S. citizens from these kinds of injustices. The first amendment seemed to have been written to protect Hutchinson in particular since it would have guaranteed her freedom of speech at her meetings, her freedom to assemble to have the meeting, and the freedom of religion so the charge of corrupting the church would have been lifted. The Salem Witchcraft Trial occurred in Massachusetts during colonial times. So it is United States history on the horrible events that transpired in the town of Salem in 1692.
Corey the Marty
Giles Corey was a prosperous, uneducated, eighty-year-old farmer and full member of the church. He and his wife Martha lived on a farm in the southwest corner of Salem village. Martha Corey, his wife, made a mistake of questioning if the girls accusations were sincere. The girls learned of this and accused her of witchcraft. They said that she summoned a yellow bird flying around. Martha was sent to jail to await her hanging. Giles Corey, certain of his Martha’s innocence, spoke out against the girls who sent his wife to jail. Unsurprisingly, the girls countered with accusations of witchcraft against Giles in April 1692.
Ann Putnam claimed that on April 13 the specter of Giles Corey visited her and asked her to write in the Devil’s book. Later, Putnam was to claim that a ghost appeared before her to announce that it had been murdered by Corey. Other girls were to describe Corey as “a dreadful wizard” and recount stories of assaults by his specter. Corey was examined by magistrates on April 18, then left to languish with his wife in prison for five months awaiting trial.
When Corey’s case finally went before the grand jury in September, nearly a dozen witnesses came forward with damning evidence such as testimony by Elizabeth and Alice Booth that Corey served bread and wine at a sacrament attended by over fifty witches. Both Ann Putnam and Mercy Lewis described Corey as “a dreadful wizard.” Corey knew he faced conviction and execution, so he chose to refuse to stand for trial. By avoiding conviction, it became more likely that his farm, which Corey recently deeded to his two sons-in-law, would not become property of the state upon his death.
The penalty for refusing to stand for trial was death by pressing under heavy stones. It was a punishment never before seen–or ever again inflicted–in the colony of Massachusetts. On Monday, September 19, Corey was stripped naked, a board placed upon his chest, and then–while his neighbors watched–heavy stones and rocks were piled on the board. Corey pleaded to have more weight added, so that his death might come quickly.
Samuel Sewall reported Corey’s death: “About noon, at Salem, Giles Corey was press’d to death for standing mute.” Robert Calef, in his report of the event, added a gruesome detail: Giles’s “tongue being prest out of his mouth, the Sheriff with his cane forced it in again, when he was dying.” Judge Jonathan Corwin ordered Corey buried in an unmarked grave on Gallows Hill.
Corey is often seen as a martyr who “gave back fortitude and courage rather than spite and bewilderment.” His very public death played a role in building public opposition to the witchcraft trials.
Salem witch trials in colonial Massachusetts
Most children enjoy a refreshing frozen pop on a hot summer day, but they aren’t necessarily a healthy snack choice. Most frozen pops contain large amounts of added sugar, but little in the way of nutrition. Knowing what to look for, as well as how to make your own frozen pops, can improve the nutritional value of these treats and give you peace of mind when your child enjoys one as a summer snack.
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