The Salem Witch Trials 5 Essay

1515 words - 7 pages

The Salem witch trials occurred in colonial Massachusetts between the years of 1692 and 1693. More than 200 people were accused of practicing witchcraft, nineteen were executed by way of hanging, and one by being pressed to death. Eventually, the colony admitted that the trials were a mistake and paid back the families of those convicted. Ever since, the stories of the trials have become compatible with paranoia and injustice, and it continues to entice the popular imagination many years later.
The beginning of the Salem Witch Trials can be traced to Reverend Samual Parris, who before becoming a minister, worked as a merchant in Barbados. Upon his return to Massachusetts he brought back ...view middle of the document...

After being beaten earlier and after being under so much pressure, the slave, Tituba, admitted to being a witch. She stated that a black dog had threatened her and ordered her to hurt the girls. She also said that she had ridden through the air on a pole to witches meetings with the other two accused. Tituba then claimed that there were more witches, about six in number, led by a tall, white haired man. The women were then taken to a prison in Boston where they were kept until the end of their trials. (17th Century Documents)
An all out hunt began for more witches for the Salem Witch Trials. The girls were placed under more pressure to name more witches including, Ann Putman Jr. with the help of a vengeful mother named Martha Corey. The next woman to be named in the Salem Witch Trials was seventy year old, Rebecca Nurse. She was a church member and an outstanding member of the community. Following Rebecca Nurse was four year old Dorcas Good. Good, although only a child, was sent to prison and placed in chains. The next victims of the Salem Witch Trials were the local tavern owners John and Elizabeth Proctor. They had both been vocal opponents of the Salem Witch Trials. It seemed the girls were eager to do away with anybody who disputed them. Sarah Cloyse, the sister of Rebecca Nurse was also named by the girls when she tried to oppose what was happening. Also arrested were Mary Warren, Giles Corey, Bridget Bishop and Abigail Hobbs. It is said that Abigail Hobbs was already mentally unbalanced and was only too happy to testify that she was a witch. Instead of dismissing her as an insane person the Magistrates believed every word. Because of the Salem Witch Trials, the girls had become quite popular in the colony. The girls now travelled to other towns in search of witches, naming and placing even more people on trial, leading most to imprisonment and some to death.
The girls were not the only ones to accuse these innocent people. Several people came forward and made accusations against all of the accused. One example of this was with the accused, Bridget Bishop. Bishop was indicted for bewitching several people in her neighborhood. Some claimed that she appeared as a form and assaulted them while others claimed that she had even bewitched their animals causing them to have strange fits of jumping, leaping, and knocking their heads into fences. It was even testified that while Bishop was being examined as a prisoner, the examiners were extremely tortured by her looks, causing them to fall to the ground. But by the touch of her hand, they were immediately revived. (Mather)
By the time the witch hunt ended, nineteen convicted witches were hanged on Gallows Hill, a seventy-one year-old man was pressed to death with heavy stones, and several people died in jail. Nearly 200 people, overall, had been accused of practicing "the Devil's magic," and two dogs were executed as suspected accomplices of the witches. In May of 1693, all remaining...

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