The Salem Witchcraft Trials of 1692
Pre-view of the With Craft Trials:
Haunted History - Salem Witch Trials Clip
-Origin of the trial
-Forms of Torture and Death
Origin of the Trials:
The Salem Witchcraft trials begin in the 16th century in colonial Massachusetts. In January of 1692 the daughter of the Reverend Samuel Parris of the Salem village became sick. They called in a Doctor named William Gregory who then diagnosed the girl with bewitchment. After that, 20 men and women were hung. In addition, 7 people died in prison while one man was crushed to death. This was only the beginning of a series of hearings and prosecutions of men and women who were believed to be provoked by the devil. From February 1692 to May 1693, over 200 people were accused of witch craft during to the Salem With Trials.
As hysteria spread through the colony, a special court system was set up for the accused witches. First a complaint was made, and immediately the accused were arrested. Once, arrested he/she was examined by one or more magistrates. If the magistrates believed they were guilty they were sent to jail where they would await trial. If the accused was indicted by the grand jury, then he or she was heard by the court of Oyer (to hear) and Termnier (to decide). Finally, if the defendant was found guilty he or she was sentenced to death by hanging. Overall, over 200 people were tried during the Salem With Craft Trials.
Forms of Torture and Death:
During the trials, there were many ways accused witches were tortured into telling the truth. At the time English law dictated that anyone refusing to a plea could be tortured in attempt to force a plea. One form of torture consisted of smothering. The accused were laid naked on the ground with a board on top of him as people continued to place stones until the prisoner agreed to a plea or in some cases died. In one case, a man was tortured this way for three days until he eventually suffocated and died. Eventually, people began to doubt if that many people were actually guilty. Clergymen began to push officials to stop the trials and eventually stopped the crazed witch hunt of the 16th century.
Women being hung during the Witch Trials of 1692.
Woman pleading for life while on trial.
Man being tortured by stones.