Salem Witch Trials In The 1800's

1606 Words7 Pages

The Salem Witch Trials were a series of events that occurred within the 1690's. The numerous allegations lead to hearings and prosecutions of people accused of witchcraft in colonial Massachusetts. The trials resulted in the executions of twenty people, most of them women. Additionally, the accusations lead to community wide hysteria and blood thirst for the death of nearly all the accused witches.
“The infamous Salem witch trials began during the spring of 1692, after a group of young girls in Salem Village, Massachusetts, claimed to be possessed by the devil and accused several local women of witchcraft.” Along with many citizens falling ill and failing to improve, village doctor, William Griggs, diagnosed these women and men as possessed …show more content…

First, the men and women who were believed to be bewitched were asked to undertake a series of tests and inspections, such as reciting the Lord’s Prayer, having physical blemishes, and confessions. However, the men and women who attempted the test acted out and “were known to scream and writhe on the floor in the middle of the test.” Secondly, any physical evidence like birthmarks or warts were to be considered as portals to hell, or from which Satan could enter one’s body to become bewitched or possessed. As a last resort, many of the accused men and women of Salem were given the chance of a confession, therefore many pleaded to the village for repentance and forgiveness. Most of the accused men and women were saved from execution, but part of the repentance was being able to help find other witches. “As 1692 passed into 1693, the hysteria began to lose steam. The governor of the colony, upon hearing that his own wife was accused of witchcraft ordered an end to the trials. However, 20 people and 2 dogs were executed for the crime of witchcraft in Salem. One person was pressed to death under a pile of stones for refusing to testify.” In the Salem Witch Trials many were executed in various manners. Such as being stoned, …show more content…

He serves as Town Archivist for Danvers which was formerly known as Salem Village, Massachusetts, where he is custodian of all early town records.” According to Trask people were accused of being witches based on word of mouth, therefore they either confessed to being a witch or would accuse other men and women of being a witch. This normally occurred if someone had ill feelings toward that specific a person or a group of people. Additionally, Trask explains that many adolescents would confess to being a witch out of boredom, another possible reason was that the men and women who were considered witches were part of a devil worshiping cult. Trask also says that witches were both men and women who had made deal or pact with the devil, which in puritan societies, the most common devil was Satan. Generally, men and women would make a deal with a devil in exchange for certain powers that would be considered witchcraft. According to William Barker, a man who confessed to being a witch, “the devil promised to pay all of Barker's debts and that he would live comfortably. The devil also told him that he wanted to set up his own kingdom where there would be neither punishment nor shame for sin.”
According to a record found in the village of Salem, a woman named Mary Walcott made a deal with the devil and started to act abnormally, which stirred up conspiracy that she was possessed. Within the document,

Open Document