The Infamous Series Of Trials
The witch trials in Salem Witch Trials of 1692 to 1693, were the infamous series of trials that had taken place in the colonial state of Massachusetts. A number of 200 people were put on trial and about 20 people were executed from those trials. They were all accused of using witchcraft or the Devilr’s Magic, women were the most commonly accused.
The process would start by any citizen of the colony to make a complaint to a magistrate about an individual who is suspected of using witchcraft. The magistrate would then issue a warrant for the accused person(s) and brought to court. After listening to the accused personr’s testimony, if the magistrate believes that the accused person is guilty, they will be sent to jail and wait trial. The accused would then be presented to a grand jury along with evidence that can be used against the accused by any individual who suspected the accused of witchcraft. If given a sentence to death, they then wait until the specified date which they would then be hanged.
The trials had a big impact on the village of salem. They had an unstable relationship with the Native Americans, due to the aftermath of King Philip’s War followed by some attacks from Native Americans. This created constant fear of Indian attacks and created paranoia among the villagers.
The first accusations of witchcraft in Salem, began with two young girls who lived in the home of minister Samuel Parris. Three ministers had left within sixteen years due to some conflicts in the village before Parris showed up. Years later in 1692, Parris’s 9 year-old daughter Betty Parris and her 12 year-old cousin Abigail Williams, started to behave differently and have physical contortions. Parris had a slave from the Caribbean named Tituba where many of the girls began go in the kitchen with Tituba and talk to her. Many of the townspeople were shocked by her followers behavior. Most of the girls would fall to the floor and scream as well as to perform a black magic dance in the woods. Rev. Parris and other ministers were unable to cure the girls through prayer and Doctor William Griggs, a village physician, believed the girls were suffering from the Evil Hand. The Puritans believed, to be cursed a witch must have to put a spell onto a individual, the girls could not have put a curse on themselves. They were later questioned and told to name the witches. Mary Sibley, who lived in Salem, decided to do a magical procedure that would help to know the names of the witches. In secret, she told Parris’s slave, John Indian, to make a witch’s cake. She had to use the girls urine and to feed it to a dog to discover the names of the witches. They named three people who were: Sarah Good, a homeless mother; Tituba, the slave of the Rev. Parris; Sarah Osburn, that had a failed marriage. The girls would later name more people in the community.
For each trial the accused would have to go through five different stages of evidence. The first step would be something like saying the Lordr’s Prayer by memory. This was an easy test but the girls would at the trial and therefore screamed and squirm on the floor during the test. The second step was to provide physical evidence with any birthmarks, warts, moles, or other blemishes that could make it seem as devil marks. Then there was witness testimony, meaning anyone who saw the accused perform any witchcraft can easily get the accused to a quick sentence to death. The fourth step was spectral evidence, Puritans believed that the devil could possess anyone willingly.
So, if anyone saw a ghost or spirit possess the accused, the person in question must be a witch. Lastly was the confession, which seems hard to convince a jury when everyone is thinking the accused is a witch. Most of the time they would cry during their confession and beg for the mercy of the town and court as well as to promise to repent. All of the confessors were not executed and those that repented accused the next person who would be in question
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