The Salem Witch Trials of 1692 and 1693 was a tragic set of events that took place in Salem, Massachusetts (Salem is now Danvers, Massachusetts.) It began with a “witchcraft craze” from 1300-1600 in Europe, when thousands of people were murdered, accused of performing witchcraft, the devil’s magic.
In January of 1692, Reverend Samuel Parris’ daughter, Betty Parris, and niece, Abigail Williams, began behaving strangely, including screaming, throwing things, making strange noises, and putting themselves into weird positions. A doctor suggested that the girls had been afflicted with witchcraft. Ann Putnam also had similar symptoms. Three women were accused of hurting these girls: Sarah Osborne, Sarah Good, and Tituba, the Parris’ Barbadian slave. The ladies were questioned, with trials starting on March 1, 1692.
Good and Osborne claimed to be innocent. Tituba, on the other hand, confessed of being a witch. She explained she had seen strange animals, such as black dogs, and red cats. Tituba claimed a man wanted her to sign his book, which she admitted to signing. The slave confirmed there were other witches, like herself. Tituba, Sarah Good, and Sarah Osborne were found guilty and put in jail.
It was no surprise that Bridget Bishop was accused of being a witch. Being known as the girl who dressed inappropriately and got into many fights was not a good reputation to have. Bishop had the most accusers out of any of the accused witches. During her trials, when she looked at the girls who accused her, they would fall down, like they had been pushed. Bishop was found guilty, and was the first person to be hanged on what was known as Gallows Hill on the morning of June 10.
Rebecca Nurse was a respected person of the Salem community. People were surprised when she had been accused of the supernatural, but she was not found guilty because of her good reputation. When Nurse’s accusers heard this, they claimed that Rebecca was choking and hurting them. They begged the jury to reconsider their decision. Nurse was yet again put on trial. She was later found guilty, and was hanged on July 19 with four other women, including Sarah Good.
Even the victims of the supernatural were accused. Sarah Churchill was not only a victim, but an accuser. During Churchill’s trial, she confessed to signing the devil’s book. She was found innocent. Churchill later told a friend that she had not actually signed the book, because if she hadn’t confessed she would’ve been thrown in jail, and most likely killed.
John Proctor finally spoke up and said something to the accusers of witches. He believed they were wrong. This ended up getting himself and his wife accused. His wife, Elizabeth, was not killed because she was pregnant during the trials.
A former minister, George Burroughs, was even blamed for practicing witchcraft. He was accused by Ann Putnam. Before being hanged, he was tested by...