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Salem Witch Trials

The Salem Witch trials were the series of unjust trials sparked by the acts of two little girls and their dishonorable accusations of innocent people as witches, resulting in hundreds of trials and multiple deaths.
by

Molly Keplinger

on 8 January 2013

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Transcript of Salem Witch Trials

The Salem Witch trials were the series of unjust trials sparked by the acts of two little girls and their dishonorable accusations of innocent people as witches, resulting in hundreds of trials and multiple deaths. The Salem Witch Trials were probably sparked by the beliefs of the Puritans in Salem. "Puritans believed in the existence of two entirely different worlds. The first of them was the natural world of human beings... like some strange weed lurked their belief in the second world, an invisible world swarming with shadowy apparitions and unearthly phantoms," (Schanzer 13). Earthquakes, droughts, fires, plaques, hurricanes, comets, shootings stars, smallpox epidemics, and wars were often believed as punishments from God (Schanzer 16). It is believed by Puritans that God sent witches from Satan to commit the punishments committed by the sins of the people. As earlier as the 1640s settlers in New England began to suffer from threatening fits that even farm animals experienced and many healthy animals would one day wind up dead (Schanzer 23). Laws were even passed in the 1641, 1642, and 1655 in Massachusetts and Connecticut that stated that witchcraft was punishable by death.The First "witch" was Margaret Jones, a healer from Charleston, Massachusetts (Schanzer 24). The Salem Witch Trails By Molly Keplinger "The Salem witch trails took place in the Massachusetts colony's Salem Village when teenage girls said an ever-widening circle of townspeople were witches," (Cragin 12). John Putnam invited Samuel Parris to preach in the Village church in 1688. Parris accepted the job as the minster of the village and he moved there with his wife Elizabeth, his daughter Betty, and niece Abigail, along with his slave Tituba (Linder 1). Or to sum it up, "Soon after moving to Salem, Parris's daughter Betty became ill and began to exhibit odd symptoms. She frequently contorted in pain and ran very high fevers," (Baker 36-38). The witch trails you could say all began when.... So after all the moving and preaching it really began to begin... While cooped up in the house from the winter snow, Betty and Abigail began to play fortune telling games which is a common, but discouraged activity among young girls at that time (Asirvatham 27). While the snow piled up outside, both girls began to choke and twitch and contort their bodies into strange shapes. As well as crouching behind furniture and speaking words that made no sense (Schanzer 19). Yeah then panic broke out all throughout the village... "Talk of witchcraft increased and other girls throughout the village began to show symptoms similar to those Betty exhibited. The girls twisted into grotesque poses, fell down into frozen postures, and complained of biting and pinching sensations (Baker 36-38). People then began to point fingers at people they suspected as witches. As well as suspecting the girls of witchcraft, the people also looked at Tituba (who was thought to have told the girls stories of demons and voodoo) and other social outcasts in the village, (Baker 36-38). So they started to ask Tituba some questions... "Between one moment and the next, Tituba had gone from saying she knew nothing ("The devil for all I know") to conjecting that this devil appears in the form of a man." People began to look back on a book... "Boston minister names Increase and Cotton Mather wrote several astonishing books and essays about settlers being possessed by demons or plagued by witches. One of the most horrifying tales came from Cotton Mather's 1689 best seller, Memorable provinces," (Schanzer 24-25). ... describing the suspected witchcraft of an Boston Irish washerwoman. Betty's behavior mimicked that of the afflicted person described in Mather's widely read and discussed book (Linder 1). So this made everyone suspect everyone. Professional witch hunters would try to identify whether suspects were witches or not by searching them for "evidence." For example, they would search for unusual growths and moles insensitive to pain, which was though to be Satan's mark. Each successful conviction they collected a fee. As a side note, Young children were often victims of witch hunts, but they also began to play a role in accusing people as witches in a repeated pattern in Salem (Asirvatham 19). So there was a lot of accusing... "Accused persons were tortured until they confessed and confessed witches were executed," (Asirvatham 18). From June to September of 1692, nineteen people were hanged at Gallows hill which was a barren slope near Salem Village (Linder 1). A few weeks later, six more people were brought to trail and convicted of witchcraft. This included Martha Carrier and her four children (Asirvatham 57). Carriers oldest children were tortured (heels tied up around their necks) until they confessed their mother as a witch and them themselves practicing witchcraft for one month (Asirvatham 57). The younger children also confessed as they are thought to have witnessed the torture (Asirvatham 57). All people who were convicted were sentenced to hang a week later (Asirvatham 57). Also another man over 80 years of age who was pressed to death by stone because he refused to submit to a trail of witchcraft (Linder 1). "Hundreds of others faced accusations of witchcraft. Dozens languished in jail for months without trails," (Linder 1). By the time the witchcraft hysteria ended in the fall of 1692, hundred had been accused, 19 people executed, and two people died in jail (Baker 36-38). Hundred of years later, many people tried to explain the happenings at Salem, Massachusetts... "In 1976, historian Linda Caporael suggested that perhaps a naturally occurring hallucinogen could be explanation for this dark moment in history. Her theory maintains that something called ergot poisoning may have caused the hysteria," (Baker 36-38). Ergot is a fungus which develops in grain in warm and damp conditions such as what existed at the time of the rye harvest in Salem. Ergot causes violent fits, a crawling sensation of the skin, vomiting, choking, and hallucinations (Linder 1). Many of those symptoms seemed to match those of Betty Parris (Linder 1) and other possessed witches (Baker 36-38). Of course we can't be sure if that caused the Salem Witch Trails (Baker 36-38). What author Douglas Linder suggests, "Nothing about this tragedy was inevitable. Only an unfortunate combination of an ongoing frontier war, economic conditions, congregational strife, teenage boredom, and personal jealousies can account for the spiraling accusations, trails and accusations that occurred in the spring and summer of 1692. The cause of her symptoms may have been some combination of stress, asthma, guilt, boredom, child abuse, epilepsy, and delusional psychosis," (Page 1). Thank you for being my Audience. This is the end of the presentation and hopefully you learned a little bit about the unjustness of the Salem Witch Trails. Any Questions? Accused witches-
Tituba
Sarah Good
Dorcas Good
George Jacobs SR
Sarah Osborn
Martha P Giles Corey
Sarah Cloyse
Mary Easty
Reverend George Burroughs
Elizabeth Proctor
John Proctor
Rebecca Nurse
Bridget Bishop
Phillip English
Mary English
3 Dogs Afflicted Accusers-
Reverend Samuel Parris
Increase, Cotton Mather
John Hathern
Mary Warren
Margaret Jacobs
Betty Parris
Abigail Williams
Susanna Sheldon
Mary Lewis
Ann Putnan Jr
Thomas Putnan
William Phillips
William Stoughton
and George Corwin RIP TO THOSE WHO DIED! Asirvatham, Sandy. The Salem Witch Trials. John Ziff. The
Chelsea House Publishers, 2012. Print. Baker, Jennifer P. "A Grain to Blame?." Carus Publishing
Company 21.9 (2012): 36-38. Calliope. Web. 6 Dec 2012.<http://search.ebscohost.com/login.
aspx?direct=true&db=mih&AN=62517752&site=src-live>. Cragin, Sally. "Salem Witches Exonerated." American History.
37.1 (2002): 12. Web. 12 Dec.
2012.<http://web.ebscohost.com
/src/detail?sid=d65b98d9-f089-49f6-b7e9-9
d7d978d2488@sessionmgr15&vid=1&hid=19&bda
ta=JnNpdGU9c3JjLWxpdmU= Linder, Douglas. "The Witchcraft Trials in Salem: A
Commentary ." Famous American
Trials. N.p.. Web.13
Dec2012.<http://law2.umkc.edu/faculty/projects/ftrials/salem/SAL_ACCT.HTM>. Schanzer, Rosalyn. Witches! The Absolutely True Tale of
Disaster in Salem. Washington D.C: National Geographic, 2011. Print. Above is a picture of the execution by hanging of Bridget Bishop (June 10,1692). Above is Cotton Mather, a
minister who wrote about witches. Map of Salem in 1692, the location of the Salem Witch Trails. This is a picture of Samuel Parris, father of Betty. This is a picture of witch hunters
examine the suspected "witches."
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