Salem witch trials court papers

Primary Sources The primary sources of the Salem Witch Trials offer a wealth of information on these infamous trials.

Salem witch trials court papers

Witch hunts The events in Salem in were but one chapter in a long story of witch hunts that began in Europe between and and ended in the late 18th century with the last known execution for witchcraft taking place Salem witch trials court papers Switzerland in Some three-fourths of those European witch hunts took place in western Germanythe Low CountriesFrancenorthern Italyand Switzerland.

The number of trials and executions varied according to time and place, but it is generally believed that somepersons in total were tried for witchcraft and between 40, to 60, were executed. Witches were considered to be followers of Satan who had traded their souls for his assistance.

There is little doubt that some individuals did worship the devil and attempt to practice sorcery with harmful intent. The process of identifying witches began with suspicions or rumours. Accusations followed, often escalating to convictions and executions.

The Salem witch trials and executions came about as the result of a combination of church politics, family feuds, and hysterical children, all of which unfolded in a vacuum of political authority. Setting the scene There were two Salems in the late 17th century: Squabbles over property were commonplace, and litigiousness was rampant.

Parris, whose largely theological studies at Harvard College now Harvard University had been interrupted before he could graduate, was in the process of changing careers from business to the ministry.

He brought to Salem Village his wife, their three children, a niece, and two slaves who were originally from Barbados—John Indian, a man, and Titubaa woman. There is uncertainty regarding the relationship between the slaves and their ethnic origins. Some scholars believe that they were of African heritage, while others think that they may have been of Caribbean Native American heritage.

Parris had shrewdly negotiated his contract with the congregation, but relatively early in his tenure he sought greater compensation, including ownership of the parsonage, which did not sit well with many members of the congregation.

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In the process Salem divided into pro- and anti-Parris factions. They screamed, made odd sounds, threw things, contorted their bodies, and complained of biting and pinching sensations. The hallucinogen LSD is a derivative of ergot.

Given the subsequent spread of the strange behaviour to other girls and young women in the community and the timing of its display, however, those physiological and psychological explanations are not very convincing. The litany of odd behaviour also mirrored that of the children of a Boston family who in were believed to have been bewitched, a description of which had been provided by Congregational minister Cotton Mather in his book Memorable Providences, Relating to Witchcraft and Possessions and which may have been known by the girls in Salem Village.

In February, unable to account for their behaviour medically, the local doctor, William Griggs, put the blame on the supernatural. Although it provided no answers, its baking outraged Parris, who saw it as a blasphemous act. Three witches Pressured by Parris to identify their tormentor, Betty and Abigail claimed to have been bewitched by Tituba and two other marginalized members of the community, neither of whom attended church regularly: Sarah Goodan irascible beggar, and Sarah Osborn also spelled Osbornean elderly bed-ridden woman who was scorned for her romantic involvement with an indentured servant.

Both Good and Osborn protested their own innocence, though Good accused Osborn. Initially, Tituba also claimed to be blameless, but after being repeatedly badgered and undoubtedly fearful owing to her vulnerable status as a slaveshe told the magistrates what they apparently wanted to hear—that she had been visited by the devil and made a deal with him.

Salem witch trials court papers

The magistrates then had not only a confession but also what they accepted as evidence of the presence of more witches in the community, and hysteria mounted. Other girls and young women began experiencing fits, among them Ann Putnam, Jr.

Significantly, those that they began identifying as other witches were no longer just outsiders and outcasts but rather upstanding members of the community, beginning with Rebecca Nursea mature woman of some prominence.

As the weeks passed, many of the accused proved to be enemies of the Putnamsand Putnam family members and in-laws would end up being the accusers in dozens of cases.

Giles Corey - Wikipedia

The accused were forced to defend themselves without aid of counsel. Those who insisted upon their innocence met harsher fates, becoming martyrs to their own sense of justice. Many in the community who viewed the unfolding events as travesties remained mute, afraid that they would be punished for raising objections to the proceedings by being accused of witchcraft themselves.

On June 2 Bridget Bishop—who had been accused and found innocent of witchery some 12 years earlier—was the first of the defendants to be convicted.Salem Witch Trials Documentary Archive and Transcription Project, University of Virginia, archive of extensive primary sources, including court papers, maps, interactive maps, and biographies (includes former "Massachusetts Historical Society" link).

Salem Witch Trials – An infamous episode in American history, the Salem witch trials of resulted in the execution by hanging of fourteen women and five men accused of being witches.

Understanding the Salem Witch Trials Salem, Massachusetts in was the home of a Puritan community with a strict moral code. In addition to the difficulties of farming in a harsh climate with rough terrain, Salem faced economic and political unrest.

Salem Witch Trials – An infamous episode in American history, the Salem witch trials of resulted in the execution by hanging of fourteen women and five men accused of being witches.

Giles Corey (c. August – September 19, ) was an American farmer who was accused of witchcraft along with his wife Martha Corey during the Salem witch trials. After being arrested, Corey refused to enter a plea of guilty or not guilty. Salem witch trials, (June –May ), in American history, a series of investigations and persecutions that caused 19 convicted “witches” to be hanged and many other suspects to be imprisoned in Salem Village in the Massachusetts Bay Colony (now Danvers, Massachusetts).

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