Salem Witch Trials

Massachusetts Bay Colony ~ 17th Century

First Accusers

The first accusers were Abigail WIlliams and Elizabeth Parris. These girls tried fortune telling and it is said they were influenced with knowledge of witchcraft from their slave Tituba. Not long after these girls began to have strange fits. A doctor, William Griggs, believed the reasons for their behavior was witchcraft thus starting a chain. Other girls began to behave in the same manor and accused people who had a low status.

The Accused

14 women and 5 men were executed as witches. Evidence to show someone was a witch was spectral evidence. This mean the accusers could see evil spirits or specters that no one else could see. Other evidence was a touch test. The touch test was quickly recovering from a fit from your accuser. Devil's or witch mark was also evidence. This included any moles, birthmarks, or abnormal growth marks. If you were accused and confessed your life would be spared. If you denied your execution and were convicted you were killed. Also, if you were skeptical about the trials you could be accused and killed. The 19 executed were executed by hanging. An 80 year old accused man had to plead guilty or not guilty, upon refusing plead he was forced with torture, he died of this torture. Later 4 others died waiting for trial in prison.


The economy of Massachusetts might have caused the hysteria because of how the economy was split. The economy was split into the Salem Village and Salem Town. The villagers were known as poor and the townspeople were wealthier. The accusers commonly lived in the village. It is likely that the hostility between the economy groups led to the hysteria.

The Lord's Prayer

The importance of the Lord’s Prayer was the reciting of this prayer was supposed to be impossible for a witch. This prayer served as a test to see if someone was a witch.


"You're a liar! I'm no more a witch than you are a wizard! If you take my life away, God will give you blood to drink!"

"It was her bad carriage to [me] and indeed say I with tears that she is enemy to all good."


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