The Witch Hunt of Salem

Lauren Thornton

The Start of the Salem Witch Trials

The witch trials took place in Salem, Massachusetts Bay colony between the years 1692 and 1693. In January of 1692, Reverend Parris' daughter Elizabeth, age 9, and his niece Abigail Williams, age 11, started having "fits." They would scream, throw things, make peculiar sounds and contort themselves into strange positions. The local doctor blamed the supernatural. Another girl, Ann Putnam, age 11, experienced similar episodes. On February 29, under pressure from magistrates Jonathan Corwin and John Hathorne the girls blamed three women for afflicting them. They blamed Tituba, the Parris' Caribbean slave; Sarah Good, a homeless beggar; and Sarah Osborne, an elderly impoverished woman of using dark magic to torment them.

Info found at:

  • "History of Massachusetts." History of Massachusetts. N.p., n.d. Web. 16 Nov. 2013.
  • "Watch Mankind The Story of All of Us Full Episodes & Videos Online." History.com. A&E Television Networks, n.d. Web. 16 Nov. 2013.


The Trials

The people that were accused of being witches were put on trial. During these trials the accused would be questioned on why they tormented their victims and how they saw the image of the devil. Those that were proved to be "witches" were hung by twisting off of a ladder so they would slowly choke to death. Though hanging was the most popular technique one of the men was crushed under rocks for not admitting to be a witch. At one point a man named George Burroughs recited the lords prayer before his hanging and though it was said that no witch could recite the lord's prayer flawlessly he was still hung. I believe that people would try and use the witch trial accusations to get back at people for financial reasoning like in the case of George Burroughs where the Putnam family's maid Mercy Lewis testified that George's specter tormented her and tried to get her to sign her soul away to service the devil. In truth she did this to settle the score of debts that George had owed to the Putnam family. The fact that so many were killed purely out of hatred and assumptions is terrible. After the witch executions many of the accuser publicly apologized saying that they were mislead by the devil and did what they did out of pure accident and misguidance.

Info found at:


  • "History of Massachusetts." History of Massachusetts. N.p., n.d. Web. 16 Nov. 2013.
  • "Watch Mankind The Story of All of Us Full Episodes & Videos Online." History.com. A&E Television Networks, n.d. Web. 16 Nov. 2013.


sources for photos and article information:


  • "Smithsonian.com." Smithsonian Magazine. N.p., n.d. Web. 16 Nov. 2013.
  • "Salem Witch Trials: Images." Salem Witch Trials: Images. N.p., n.d. Web. 16 Nov. 2013.
  • "The UnMuseum - Salem Witch Trails - Part II." The UnMuseum - Salem Witch Trails - Part II. N.p., n.d. Web. 17 Nov. 2013.
  • "The Salem Witch Trials, 1692." The Salem Witch Trials, 1692. N.p., n.d. Web. 18 Nov. 2013.