During the 1600's, our country was young and starting to grow. Man believed in the
paranormal and thought my things were either and act of God or Satan. The pilgrims believed the
Devil was alive and planned to destroy the pilgrims. At that point in time, those who practiced
Christianity believed that the Devil could give his worshipers special powers to harm others in
return for his loyalty; they were called witches.
In 1692, dark times shadowed the small village of Salem, Massachusetts, it was the
beginning of the dreaded Salem witch trials. Even though this event is called the Salem witch
trials, other counties such as Essex, Ipswich, and Andover in Massachusetts participated as well.
It all started in Salem Village when Reverend Parris' daughter Elizabeth and niece Abigail
started having unexplained fits. The children would scream, throw things, make strange noises,
and bend into almost impossible positions. Because of the lack of medical science and training in
this time period, the village doctor blamed the supernatural. Not long after the girls' doctor visit,
seven other girls exhibited the same symptoms. Some historians believe that the girls could have
suffered from epilepsy, boredom, child abuse, mental illness, or a disease caused by fungus
infected rye bread.
When the children's ailments came to question, they stated that they were bewitched by
three older women. Sarah Good, Sarah Osburn, and a slave called Tituba. The women were
social outcasts which is what made them easy targets for such accusations. The only one who
confessed was Tituba, she stated all three of them were asked to do Satan's dirty work. Once this
was said, a witch hunt started to root out anymore possible witches.
A special court was set up to hear and decide the accused witches' fates . The young girls
who were "bewitched" were called the "afflicted girls." They accused more people of witchcraft
and the accused were immediately jailed. The first person to under go trial was a woman by the
name of Bridget Bishop. She owned a tavern, fought with neighbors, dressed inappropriately,
and entertained guests at all hours of the night. The afflicted girls claimed she hurt them with her
powers and attempted to get them to sign a pact with the Devil. Bishop was found guilty of being
a witch and was the first person to be hanged. She was not the only one who would die as a
supposed witch; later more than two hundred will be imprisoned, several will die in jail, nineteen
will be hang, and one will be pressed to death.
Since many people were accused of practicing witchcraft, tests had to be administered to
determine who was guilty and who was innocent. One very appalling way to determine if
someone was a witch cake. The cake was made with certain ingredients, including the victim's
urine and the cake was then fed to a dog. If the accused was really a witch, they would shriek in