Torture In The Witch Trials

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Imagine living life in fear of being hanged or burned to death on accusation of witchcraft. This was the reality for countless men and women alike, during the Witch Trials of the mid-1600s. One such person was a homeless woman named Sarah Good. Good was considered a burden to society, therefore accused of witchcraft and sentenced to be hanged. Although she was pardoned until the birth of her child, that same child perished in prison before her execution (Jobe). This case is one of the hundreds to occur during the time of the Witch Trials. Numerous accounts of torture and death are recorded in American history, with these heinous crimes being committed on the exact soil we walk on every day. Based on the evidence used against the supposed witches,…show more content…
This is why the evidence used to convict said people was not legitimate. The evidence used to incriminate these individuals included, public confession and ownership of the “devil’s mark”. Ocksreider states, “...The magistrates openly encouraged public confessions. To elicit such confessions, the prosecuted were often subjected to stand for lengthy periods without sleep or food while being questioned” (Pg. 14). Using torture as a way to extract evidence is an inhumane way to treat those under accusation.The argument that a confession given under these circumstances is legitimate, is a false claim. This is due to the victim's mindset being compromised from the extreme and extensive methods of torture. Another example of the unacceptable evidence used in court against those accused is the presence of the “devil’s mark”. “The belief was that the devil branded the bodies of witches with symbolic yet concrete corporeal malformations such as marks and growths” (Darr, 361). To find these marks, Darr states that, “They were stripped naked, sometimes having their bodies completely shaved, and every part of their bodies was thoroughly examined.” Similar to public confessions, using natural born marks as evidence against the accused is invalid, as this does not accurately prove the suspect to be a witch. Furthermore, the violation of privacy to find these marks is inhumane and animalistic. Therefore, using illegitimate and compromising proof against those convicted of witchcraft is not only dehumanizing and corrupt, it further reinforces that these trials were a social injustice and a horrendous deed committed on United States
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