The History Of The Salem Witchcraft Trials

2806 words - 11 pages

During the time of the Salem Witchcraft Trials of 1692, more than twenty people died an innocent death. All of those innocent people were accused of one thing, witchcraft. During 1692, in the small town of Salem, Massachusetts many terrible events happened. A group of Puritans lived in Salem during this time. They had come from England, where they were prosecuted because of their religious beliefs. They chose to come live in America and choose their own way to live. They were very strict people, who did not like to act different from others. They were also very simple people who devoted most of their lives to God. Men hunted for food and were ministers. Women worked at home doing chores like sewing, cooking, cleaning, and making clothes. The Puritans were also very superstitious. They believed that the devil would cause people to do bad things on earth by using the people who worshiped him. Witches sent out their specters and harmed others. Puritans believed by putting heavy chains on a witch, that it would hold down their specter. Puritans also believed that by hanging a witch, all the people the witch cast a spell on would be healed. Hysteria took over the town and caused them to believe that their neighbors were practicing witchcraft. If there was a wind storm and a fence was knocked down, people believed that their neighbors used witchcraft to do it. Everyone from ordinary people to the governor’s wife was accused of witchcraft. Even a pregnant woman and the most perfect puritan woman were accused. No one in the small town was safe. As one can see, the chaotic Salem Witchcraft Trials of 1692 were caused by superstition, the strict puritan lifestyle, religious beliefs, and hysteria.

Puritan Lifestyle was one reason that might have caused the witchcraft hysteria in Salem. Puritans were very strict. They did not allow children to play games. Puritans believed games were a waste of time and children could be doing chores or reading the bible. Puritans also preached that children were worthless and had no use. These strict people were extremely religious. They attended church all day Sunday. When they were not at church, Puritans believed that the more work and prayer, the better the type of person you will be. Woman worked on household chores. Men did all the work outside. Winter, the beginning of the terrible times, was the worst time for woman in Puritan society. “If a Puritan girl were to have been asked in 1692 to choose one word to describe winter in New England, she would have answered boring” (Rice 16). Being stuck inside might have been a cause for the girls hallucinations of people’s specters. It began with the two young girls Betty Paris and Abigail Williams, who listened to ghost stories from Betty’s slave, Tituba. Tituba was Reverend Paris’s, Betty’s father, slave from Barbados. She told the girls stories of witchcraft from her native land. Soon more children joined the group and they became known as Tituba’s...

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