The Salem witch trials occurred in Salem, Massachusetts between the years Of 1692 and 1693. The Puritan people of Salem believed that the Devil had the ability to possess specific people and act out his evil deeds through these possessed people. An excess of people were accused of practicing witchcraft. More than two hundred people were accused and around twenty, mostly women, were executed by lynching. The witch trials were not the only struggles in Salem at the time. Salem had been struggling for many centuries prior to the notorious witch trials.
In 1689, the England rulers induced a war with France in American colonies. The displaced colonists strained the resources of Salem which created a rivalry between wealthy families and families who were dependent on agriculture. Competition was then created within the Puritan community of Salem. The Puritans believed that all of the disputes in the village were acts made by the Devil. Sale’s first ordained minister, Reverend Samuel Paris, was disliked for being greedy. Reverend Paris’ daughter Elizabeth and niece Abigail Williams Egan to act strange and had episodes of extreme aggression and anger.
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They would become violent and mumble under their breath. Another young girl named Ann Putnam also became involved. When questioned, the three girls blamed Tuba, the Paris’ slave; Sarah Good, a homeless woman; and Sarah Osborne, an old housewife. The three accused women were ultimately placed in jail. Osborne pled innocent while Tuba confessed, perhaps to avoid trouble, “The Devil came to me and bid me serve him” (Plumber). Sarah Good is said to have screamed when accused, “You’re a air! I’m no more a witch than you are a wizard!
If you take my life away, God will give you blood to drink’ (Job)! Paranoia and hysteria played an important role in the outburst of accusations and confessions. Citizens would accuse their fellow neighbors to save their own fates. Many of the confessions and accusations were told in the form of visions or dreams. Children as young as four years old and even saintly women were accused and prosecuted. Hearings for the accused were treated as public events. Deputy Governor Thomas Detonator also attended the hearings in the public viewings.
Gallows Hill is where the first so-called witch was executed. Bridget Bishop was a Salem woman known for her gossiping tendencies. She was accused, as well as many others, as being a witch and worker of the Devil. She claimed innocence, which was portrayed as covering up for the Devil, and was hanged at Gallows Hill. A minister named Cotton Matter constructed a letter, as well as writing many books, requesting that the court would not allow visions and dreams to be considered and reviewed as evidence.
Matter was convinced that “an Army of Devils is horribly broke in upon the place which is our center” (law. Muck. Due). The court rejected his proposal and continued hanging the accused. In the following months, eighteen people were unjustly hanged. Many people involved in the trials followed up with an apology for wrongdoing. In 1 897, a day of fasting was dedicated to the lost souls of the trials. In 1711, the Court of Salem granted the restoration to the names of the falsely accused colonists.
However, it was not until that Massachusetts armorial apologized for the events of 1692. The Salem witch trials have influenced people from centuries ago to even today. Books have been written and movies have been produced about the trials. The most famous play relating to the trials is , ‘ ‘The Crucible”, composed in 1953, by Arthur Miller. The theme and influence of hysteria is expressed greatly in all works based on the trials, because if it were not for the paranoia among the colonists, the witch hunts, accusations, and executions would have never existed.