During the years of 1692 and 1693 the fear of witchcraft swept through Salem, Massachusetts like a plague. Witchcraft strongly defied Puritan beliefs, and the Puritans executed any accused witches. Throughout the hysteria in Salem, 185 people were accused of practicing witchcraft. Rumors of witchcraft put many people’s lives in danger. Witchcraft was defined as entering into a compact with the devil in exchange for certain powers to do evil. It was considered a sin against God’s superiority; a strict rule against Puritan beliefs (Conforti). Although the Salem witch trials was an important and remarkable event that occurred to the Puritan people, there were not really witches in Salem, only hysteria and suspicion.
In 1692, sequences of women had begun to have fits. Young girls who were trying out fortune-telling had begun to start acting as though they were being tormented. As well as the fits they were falling into, they felt as if they were being choked, pinched, and jabbed all over (Conforti). People started to question the way women were acting and assuming it was the works of the devil. Sarah Good, Sarah Osburn, and Tituba, a slave in a family of a girl who was one of the girls playing around with fortune-telling games and such, were all arrested due to suspicion of witchcraft (Gragg). Sarah Good pleaded herself innocent, but accused suspicion upon Sarah Osburn. Osburn admitted to suffering symptoms of bewitchment like other younger girls. She had a dream that an “Indian looking figure in all black pinched her in her neck”. Likewise Osburn’s dream, Tituba experienced a similar sighting but in her situation, there were “four women and one man who told her if she would not hurt the children, they will hurt her”. Tituba acknowledged two of the apparitions as Good and Osburn. The other 3 remained unknown (Cullen-DuPont). The number of alleged witches that were filling up the jail cells in Salem, Andover, Boston, Ipswich, and all over eastern Massachusetts remained getting higher until there were hundreds of suspected witches.
After Tituba’s revealing testimony, there was an increase in the hysteria in Salem and surrounding areas. Tituba and the other two girls’ would show their nuisance in public, writhing and twitching incoherently. This inquired that Salem opposed a demonic sedition, and as spring went on witchcraft arrests and allegations flowed throughout Massachusetts. The hysteria was beginning to spread to all the nearby towns in Essex County, and the hearings and execution of these witches began in June until September (Gragg).
Sarah Bishop was another accused woman who was put on trial after she was seen near a child’s cradle that became very ill and then died not long after Bishop saw the child. She was one of the convicted witches that were hanged. The courts waited 18 days to resume trials because ministers believed that “spectral evidence” should take the time to be observed as the “demon may assume the...