Cotton Mather: The Salem Witch Trials

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parsonage. Even though the oppressed girls were among the main accusers during the trials, many historiographers believe the deranged girls parents, particularly Thomas Putnam and Reverend Samuel Parris, were inciting the situation with the girls and purposely influencing them to accuse certain people in the community they were not particularly fond of, to gain revenge or just out of spite.
Cotton Mather was the minister of the Salem church, and truly believed in witchcraft. He had decided to investigate the unusual behavior of the children who belonged to John Goodwin, a Mason. John’s four children started complaining of sudden pains and began “…crying out together in chorus” (Silverman: 56). Mr. Mather came to the assumption the witchery, in particular practiced by a washerwoman who had yelled at her kids was responsible for the children's strange activities. Cotton Mather vowed to "…never use but one grain of patience with any man that shall go to impose upon me a Denial of Devils, or of Witches".
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As the new court was created for the Salem witch trials five judges were assigned, coincidentally three of the appointed judges were really good friends with Cotton Mather. Furthermore, Mather’s own accounts became textual fact for determining the evidence of witches. This heavily influenced the court’s scheme. Mather implied to the judges to seek statements from those that were accused, accepting claims such as a witness testimony that the accused persons spirit or spectral shape appeared to him/her witness in a dream at the time the accused persons physical body was at another location as a legal
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