Salem Witch Trials

February 1692- May 1693

The Start

Elizabeth Parris,9, and Abigail Williams,11, began having abnormal behavior including fits and tantrums. They took them to the doctor and he concluded that the girls were having effects of witchcraft. This originated at Reverend Samuel Parris’ home. He owned a slave named Tituba. Teenage girls would gather in the kitchen with Tituba. When winter started the people of Salem were shocked by the behavior of the girls that were seeing Tituba. They have been said to have danced a black magic dance in a woods. Some of the girls fell to the floor and started screaming.

Who And How Many?

These girls became the accusers in the Salem Witch Trials. Mostly middle aged women women were accused of witchcraft. However, some men, one four year old child and two dogs were also accused. In total, 20 people and two dogs were executed in the trials.

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There are many speculations of the guilt tests that occurred to prove a person guilty of witchcraft. Some that I found in my research are as follows.

1. Recited the Lord's Prayer with no hesitation,stutter, or spasming.

2. Physical Evidence such as birthmarks, warts, moles, ect.

3. Seeing a ghost or spirit would be proof of being a witch

4. A Confession of being a witch or taking part in witch craft.

5. Bound Submersion: they would be dunked in water, if the floated they were a witch, if they drowned, they were innocent

The Effect of Salem's Economy on the Trials

Salem was divided into two parts, Salem Town and Salem Village. Salem Village was made up of poor farmers who made a living through crops. Salem Town was more wealthy. It was the center of trade with London. Salem Village tried to gain independence from Salem Town. Salem village picked Reverend Samuel Parris for their new minister and He said that Salem Town was an influence of the Devil. The jealousies and hostilities between the village and town played a major role in the witch trials. Most of the people accused of witchcraft lived near Ipswich Road, which is part of Salem Town and the accusers lived in the farms of Salem Village. Reverend Parris was a hard core supporter of the witch trials and his sermons made the hysteria bigger and worse.

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Works Cited

"Life In Salem 1692." Free Teacher Resources. Discovery Education, 2013. Web. 17 Nov. 2013.

"3g. Witchcraft in Salem." Witchcraft in Salem []. N.p., 2008. Web. 17 Nov. 2013.

Thomas, Ryan. "10 Tests For Guilt at the Salem Witch Trials." Listverse. N.p., 27 July 2012. Web. 17 Nov. 2013.