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The Salem Witch Trials Essay

1961 words - 8 pages

In 1692 everyone was sure that the Devil had come to Salem when young girls started screaming, barking like dogs and doing strange dances in the woods. The Salem Witch Trials originated in the home of Salem's reverend Samuel Parris, who had a slave from the Caribbean named Tibuta. Tibuta would tell stories about witchcraft back from her home. In early 1692 several of Salem's teenage girls began gathering in the kitchen with Tibuta. When winter turned to spring many Salem residents were stunned at the acts and behaviors of Tibuta's young followers. It was said that in the woods nearby they danced a black magic dance, and several of the girls would fall on the floor screaming ...view middle of the document...

Ann's bold accusations had created a fear that any of the villagers within Salem could be a witch. In the next months Ann accused many more people of being witches, as did her parents. Most of the accused were already enemies of the Putnam family. Two of the most drastic accusations were Rebecca Nurse and former pastor George Burroughs. It's believed these accusations had been made because of family’s old disputes. By the end of the Salem witch trials Ann had accused 62 people of being witches. (Yanak, T.,and Pam Cornelison,1993).
When someone was accused of being a witch there was evidence admitted after tests were performs. One of these tests was reciting the Lord's Prayer. It seemed simple and it was, but during the test the young girls who went to the trials would usually fall to the ground screaming and did other things. This made it easy to understand why some people couldn’t pass the test. Another thing was physical evidence such as; birthmarks, warts, moles, or blemishes. These things were seen as possible ways that Satan could enter a body. One way they tested this was they would stick your blemish, mole, wart, or birthmark with a needle and if you didn’t feel any pain it was considered a portal for Satan and you were a witch.
After the witch hunt many "hunters" confessed to using fake or retractable needles to prick the accused so that they knew they wouldn't feel the pain. Therefore they would be wrongfully "proven" of being a witch. Another source of evidence was that Satan could not take the form of an unwilling person, so if anyone saw a ghost or spirit that looked like the accused then they had to of been a witch. The last thing that could save an accused person was a confession. When they confessed someone would throw him or herself on the mercy of the town and court. None of the people who confessed were executed, and for some people it was the only way out. (The Salem Witchcraft Trials of 1692.)
They conducted more bizarre tests to see if you were in fact a witch. One was the water test. During this test the accused witch would be stripped to their underwear then have their hands and feet tied and are thrown into the nearest body of water to see if they would sink or float. Witches were believed to have rejected the sacrament of Baptists. They thought that the water would just reject them and they would bob on the surface. So in this test the innocent would sink to the bottom while the guilty would stay at the surface. They would tie a rope around victim’s waist to pull them up if they did sink, but they usually drowned before they were pulled back to the surface. Another one of these tests was the touch test. Where the possessed person would fall to the ground in a fit and then then accused would lay a hand on the victim, if it didn’t affect them then they were innocent, if they came out of the fit then they were guilty. Also, with the prayer test, even if they did pass it didn’t mean they would get out of...

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