The Witch Trials Of Salem Essay

823 words - 3 pages

The Witch Trials of Salem
Though only a seven-month “trend,” the Salem Witch Trials (SWTs) led to the executions and imprisonments of several innocent people. The SWTs were the examinations, trials, and executions of alleged “witches” beginning in late February 1692 and ending in late October 1692. The SWTs began in Salem Village, Massachusetts (currently Danvers, Massachusetts). The SWTs began with the “circle girls”: Betty Parris, Abigail Williams, Ann Putnam, Jr., Elizabeth Hubbard, Mercy Lewis, and Mary Walcott. The “circle girls” were the little “afflicted” girls of Salem, who were also known as the accusers. The actual accusations began with nine-year old Betty Parris and her twelve-year old cousin, Abigail Williams. The two girls began throwing tantrums, acting erratically, and exhibiting extreme physical contortions. Since the Reverend Samuel Parris and other local ministers were unable to remedy the girls’ behaviors through prayer, Dr. William Griggs, the village physician, was consulted. He pronounced that the girls were suffering from the “Evil Hand.” Meanwhile, several of the girls’ friends began acting similarly. The girls were then pushed by the townspeople to give the names of all of the “witches.” A “witch/ wizard” is a woman/man who practices “witchcraft,” or magic/sorcery. Every person accused of being a “witch/wizard” usually was accused or was pressured into confession.
The first three people accused and arrested of allegedly being a “witch” were Tituba, Sarah Good, and Sarah Osborne. Tituba was a slave-woman from Barbados. While living on the island of Barbados as a slave, she was purchased by Reverend Parris. Tituba was the first person accused of being a witch, and because Tituba was also the first “witch” to confess, her examinations led to the confirmation of Sarah Good and Sarah Osborne being “witches” and the accusations of several other “witches.” Tituba, Good, and Osborne were all accused by the first two “circle girls”: Betty Parris and Abigail Williams. The girls’ claims on Tituba included accusations that they felt Tituba pinching, biting, and whispering to them in their dreams, which is what they say caused their fits. Tituba was formally accused of “bewitching” the girls on March 1, 1692, and was brought forth in a hearing with Sarah Good and Sarah Osborne. While in trial, Tituba at first denied casting any spells, but later was persuaded to confess and implicate the other two accused women: Good and Osborne. Sarah...

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