Salem Witch Trials

By Dakotah Herr


Salem, MA in the spring of 1692, Elizabeth Parris and Abigail Williams, daughter and niece of the local minister, started to act very weird. The minister was trying to figure out what was going on by having doctor William Griggs examine them. Griggs seemed to think they were possessed by a witch. Then other girls through out the village started to act the same in a strange manner. The minister's slave Tituba confessed to being a witch and said that there where more witches.

They community went on a witch hunt and caught who they thought were witches. "These where usually people that were very vulnerable in the community" ( The accused witches usually pled guilty, because of the Puritan community they believed that the ones that confessed where turned over to God and the ones that didn't would face punishments. The punishment was death, the Puritans got this punishment from the bible, "Thou shalt not suffer a witch to live" - Exodus 22:18.

"In May 1692, the newly appointed governor of Massachusetts, William Phips, ordered the establishment of a special Court of Oyer (to hear) and Terminer (to decide) on witchcraft cases for Suffolk, Essex and Middlesex counties" ( The court's first case heard Bridget Bishop, a known partier, and was found guilty later hung by the state. Over 200 people were accused of being witches. "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" (

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Milgram's Experiment

Milgram's Experiment consisted of a teacher and a student. The teacher asked the student some questions. If the student got them wrong the teacher would shock the student and the voltage only increased. The student was trained to get them wrong and to scream after the shock even though it was fake. The teacher usually asked the scientists if it was ok to go to death voltage. The scientists said, "Continue for the experiment." The people listened and 63% followed through with it. This proves that people are more likely to follow through with bad things if the authority figure tells them to do it.

Standford Prison Experiment

Standford Prison Experiment had 24 people involved. They had half of them guards and the others prisoners. They had a mock prison and everything that a prison needs to run. The prisons started out being slightly abused and as they retaliated the abuse got stricter. The prisoners would even hurt other prisons just not to get abused. They the guards got into their role too much and they had to cancel the experiment. This experiment showed that guards used authority to psychological torture them.
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Milgrams Experiment explains one reason why the colonists would harm other people that they thought were witches. In Milgrams Experiment they needed to an authority figure and in this case it's the Bible. In Exodus 22:18 it says, "Thou shalt not suffer a witch to live" (Exodus 22:18). The Puritans followed the Bible, because that what they believed.

Standford Prison Experiment also explains why they got so carried away with accusing people of being witches. They got so afraid of people might being witches that they took away the rights of them. Thats just like the guards did when the prisons got too much power. They also had the trials until the governor's wife got accused, the Experiment got cancelled unexpectedly, because the guards were out of control.

People may hurt other people because that is what they believe or because they're scared. That partially why the Colonists did because they where also afraid of "women getting their own rights" ( Nobody really knows what went on and if it was a joke or it could even be food poisoning that got the girls to act crazy.

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