Salem Witch Trials Research Paper

Submitted By atyukody
Words: 3799
Pages: 16

Trials of Conspiracies
Something that is so controversial and still stirs up paranoia is witch trials. Witch Trials have been around for centuries and follow the practice of magic and use of spells and spirits towards others. The Salem witch trials in specific were significant because the public had let this topic become out of control and so widely spoken of so soon. In Massachusetts 1692, three young girls had a strange feeling coming over them. They started feeling controlled and would convulse and have loud outbursts. Doctors diagnosed this as witch craft. It was such a big uproar for the next year and many innocent people were taken and hung because they were suspected to be part of the craft.
So, you are probably thinking, witches? What caused people to see them this way? What even is a witch? Depending on the time period of a “witch” they could vary from someone who just worships the devil, practices magic or someone who has an unusual psychic talent. Witches are believed to attack people outside their own community, which was a prime example of what happened in Salem. All those suggested to being witches were usually antisocial, and never had much to do with the town they were invading. Witches aren’t what you typically seen in movies. They didn’t use physical tools like a broom to fly on or a wand to cast a spell. Witches sorcery is perceived through inner quality. One may not even be aware that they are a “witch” (E. E. Evans-Pritchard). According to historian Brian Levack, you need three things for a large scale witch hunt. First, being the belief of diabolism, this is when people would make deals with the devil. Second one was the belief in maleficium, meaning the value of magic that is harmful. Lastly would be an inquisitorial justice system which is when the court highly investigates the facts of a case. All of these existed during the Salem trial in 1692, but just because this behavior was happening doesn’t mean that witches were “real”. Other theories linger that this witch hysteria was a convenient excuse for neighboring towns wanting revenge because they were trying to take their wealth. With something that the town thought was just a rumor turned into a whole large legal system development.
People’s views have been very mixed when it comes to the topic of witch trials. Some professionals from the 1600s, for instance sociologists thought the causes of these trails were that Satan was about to take part in the world and others say it was Tituba, who was one of the three women who came out and said, "The Devil came to me and bid me to serve him." Tituba was a Negro slave who was from a Caribbean Island, but soon sold as a slave to Samuel Parris. Since Parris wife had many duties as a pastor’s wife, Tituba took care of their three children and cousin, Abigail. Tituba entertained the children with games, stories and magic that was used when she was a child over on the islands. Over time, Samuel Parris had started noticing extremely strange behavior from his children. The girls started babbling, twitching and convulsing. Tituba decided to bake a “witch cake” which was eaten by a dog, which was believed to be a witch helper and once the dog ate the cake the spell on the girls would supposedly be broken and the identification of the witch would be revealed. Parris told Tituba that if she confessed she was the one fueling the fire that she would be free, so Tituba confessed that she had been practicing witch craft, but Parris didn’t keep his promise. He had her locked up in jail and refused to pay the fees to release her. Nothing else is known about Tituba since then.
There has been much disbelief behind the witch hunts. Some say the Puritans lifestyle has to do with the trails beginning because of their strict religion. During this time period, most townspeople were Puritans. The Puritan’s had left England to come practice freely here in America. Puritans were a group of people who worked towards