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This Is An Account Of The Events Leading Up To And During The Salem Witch Trails. Also Added Are Bio's Of Key Characters During The Trails.

1458 words - 6 pages

When a person first thinks of the word "witch" the first thing that comes to mind is the silly old woman who wears all black, wart on her nose, and rides a broom. As strange as it is, there was a time when the joke wasn't so funny. In 1692 there was an event called the Salem witch trials that took place in Salem, Massachusetts. Nineteen men and women who were wrongly accused of committing witchcraft were hung after a judge and jury found them guilty. The events that took place during the Salem witch trials are some of the most famous and dark times of the United States.The way the trials began was that John Putnam was elected to be the town minister. He moved his family to the town of Salem and was a respected man in the community. John's family consisted of his wife Elizabeth, daughter Betty, and niece Abigail. At about the same time this was going on a book by Cotton Mather entitled Memorable Providences was gaining much popularity (Linder). This book had a huge influence because it described the witchcraft of a "suspected witchcraft of an Irish washerwoman in Boston" (Linder). It listed the same symptoms that John's daughter Betty was having. Shortly after, three other girls began to have the same unusual behavior that was reflected the book. These girls began to convince other people in the village that the devil was amongst them, that witches were making these girls act in such a ridiculous manner. The first three people that the girls accused were Tituba, a Indian slave of John's, Sarah Good a town misfit who lived anywhere she could, and the third was Sarah Osborn who was a very old woman who hadn't attended church for over a year (which at the time was frowned upon). "The three women were sent to be examined on March 1, 1692. During the examination the three were asked the same question over and over: Where they witches? Had they seen Satan? How, if they were not witches, did they explain the contortions seemingly caused by their presence?"(Linder). Surprisingly Tituba confessed to being a witch and said that she was visited by Satan. The girls began accusing others in the town including a four year old girl, daughter of Sarah Good. The first trail was set for June 2, 1692, with a panel of supposed expert judges against the accused Bridget Bishop. "Bridget was the first to go on trial because the prosecutor believed that he had the strongest case against her than any other suspects" (Linder). The second was Rebecca Nurse who was a respected woman but had a feud with the Putnam family. Nurse was first found not guilty but the jury was told to reconsider and Rebecca Nurse was found guilty. The trials went on for the remainder of the summer and anybody who opposed the accusations were put on trial and executed. For instance John Proctor and George Burroughs were executed when they spoke out against the trials. Before being executed Burroughs flawlessly recited a passage from the Bible, something a witch wasn't supposed to be able to do. This...

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