Salem Witch Trial Short Assignment
The Salem Witch Trials occurred around 1692-1693 in colonial Massachusetts, when 200 people were accused of witchcraft but only 19 were hanged. People in the colonial period believed that if something went wrong for them, the only answer is witchcraft. Farm animals couldn’t be sick or children couldn’t be acting abnormally because they would blame all these unusual behavior on witchcraft; They didn’t have a sense in what diseases were during this period in time. Witchcraft is defined as any harmful magical act that is intended to cause any harm to people or their properties. So if anything would happen to you and you felt differently, then, of course, they blame it on witchcraft.
What caused the Salem witch trials all began when nine-year-old Elizabeth Parris, Reverend Samuel Parris daughter, and eleven-year-old Abigail Williams, niece of Reverend Samuel Parris, began to act strangely in 1692. They began to throw fits, such as screaming and violently hitting, which caused him to get them checked up by a doctor. The doctor could not find anything wrong with them physically, so he announced they have been bewitched. Later on, the doctor began to notice that many other girls: Mercy Lewis, Mary Walcott, Mary Warren, Ann Putman Jr., and Elizabeth Hubbard started to have the same symptoms and agreed that they all were bewitched. The first person who was arrested was Tituba, Reverend Samuel’s salve, then, later on, was Sarah Good, a homeless lady, and Sarah Osborn who was an elderly woman.
These women who were accused of being witches came forward to the judicial officers (officers who made all decisions), Jonathan Corwin and John Hathorne to be questioned. The women’s accusers were in the courtroom as well but were screaming and squirming, making a big scene to make it believable that Tituba, Sarah Good, and Sarah Osborn had bewitched them. Sarah Good and Sarah Osborn were the only ones that denied, leaving Tituba to confess. In David D. Hall essay, Worlds of Wonder in the Northern Colonies, he states that “Tituba, a servant in the household in Salem Village minister, confessed to entering into compact with the Devil; as one eyewitness reported afterward, she added description of ‘the times when & places where they met, with many other circumstances to be seen at large'”. Tituba was the only one to confess because she wanted to not be as punished, but she did tell them other women who were a part of her devil service. After Tituba, several other women started to confess about other women joining them and that’s when trials began. Many women did not make it hear their case because they died during their time in jail, while Giles Corey, who was elderly and was Martha’s husband, was pressed to death with stones because he refused to appeal for his punishment.
Witchcraft trials kept continuing on till 1693, and stopped because people from different parts of the world were settling there; they knew people with that type of power couldn’t have done them. There were people from a high class that went to church and lived a good life that was being accused of witchcraft and that’s when they knew they needed to stop witchcraft trials. They ended up releasing all the prisoners who were charged with witchcraft and pardoned them. Some people were left without anything because they were stuck in prison for a long time; They were left without a home, food, water, clothes, etc.
The Salem witch trials have taught me a lot about history and how we should have been a little more educated when it comes to human behavior and diseases. Just because something is going terribly wrong, does not mean we should point fingers to witchcraft. A lot of victims have died due to the Salem witch trials and maybe fewer people would have died and lived longer due to that. I feel like even if you were accused of being a witch there was no way out of death; you either die in jail while you wait for your case to be heard or you die immediately because people thought you were a witch. I also feel like it was easy for someone to accuse someone else of witchcraft because you simply don’t like someone, maybe that was something that went on during the colonial times. Even though people were being released towards 1693, they were left with nothing and they should have helped them in some way to continue living their lives because they were in jail for a long time.