Salem Witch Trials

By ~ Cassie Gaethke


The Salem Witch Trials occurred in 1692 in Salem, Massachusetts. The trials swept through Europe from the 1300s to the 1600s. The first accusation occurred after some children started to become ill, crops started to die, and economic hardships happened. Witch hunts occurred mostly in winter because they needed something to blame for these unfortunate events. Young girls accused the townsfolk of practicing witchcraft. They are believe to have had mass hysteria, but others think the economic conditions caused the hysteria. Ann Putnam was a primary accuser because of their Indian servant named Tituba. Tituba had told stories about voodoo, supernatural events, and fortune-teller. John DeRich was a principal accuser for the trials.


The witch hunts happened for many reasons. One belief was the economic hardships. The people in Salem were impacted by the fear of the devil. The people accepted the belief in witches power. A doctor discovered the theory that witches use their power to hurt people and cause illnesses. One way to detect witches was for them to recite the Lord's Prayer. Many people were tortured by being bound and dunked into water for a confession. To be proved of witchcraft they needed eye-witnesses, artifacts corresponding to witchcraft, Lord's Prayer test, and a touch test.


During the witch trials more than 200 people were accused of practicing witchcraft. 19 men and women were hung, one man was crushed to death, and up to 13 others died in prison. According to research, no men or women were burned at a stake.


"I am no more a witch than you are a wizard. If you take my life away, God will give you blood to drink" Sarah Good.

Excerpt from the examination by the court:

"How far have you complied with Satan?"

"Sir, I never complied with him but pray against him all my days. What would you have Easty do?"
"Confess if you be guilty"

"I will say it, if it was my last time, I am clear of this sin."


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