The Salem Witch Trials Essay

Submitted By mmattas
Words: 1341
Pages: 6

What happened during the Salem Witch Trials? One of the most interesting and fascinating events to ever occur in United States history was the Salem Witch Trials. The trials took place in between February 1692 and May 1693. For over a year women were accused of being a witch, and then hung for the accusations. During the 17th century, witchcraft was used by peasants, and the idea of their “white magic” that helped their agriculture became the idea of “dark magic” and was associated with evil and demons. All of the men and women of Salem blamed all misfortune that happened to them during these times on the devil. During the Salem Witch Trials women were falsely accused of being witches, prosecuted, and suffered a terrible death for something that was not their fault. The original idea of witches originated in the house of Reverend Samuel Parris (Witchcraft in Salem, 2012). His daughter, Elizabeth, and his niece, Abigail, had fallen ill and no one knew what was wrong with them. Abigail’s playmates also fell ill, and the town needed someone to blame. That someone just happened to be Tituba, who was known to tell tales of omens, voodoo, and witchcraft from her heritage to the girls (Linder, 2009). She was ordered by a neighbor, Mary Sibley, to bake a “witch cake”, which is a cake with the afflicted people’s urine, to a dog because at this time the dog was known to be familiar with the devil (Chronology, 2009). Puritans believed that becoming a witch involved bewitching; therefore, the girls could not have possibly brought all this upon themselves and were asked to name who brought this upon them (Witchcraft in Salem, 2012). A few days after the series of contortions and screaming began, Abigail and Elizabeth named Tituba as the one who caused their crazy behavior. After accusing Tituba, Abigail and Elizabeth later blamed Sarah Good and Sarah Osborne of witchcraft as well. The reason the girls claim they got sick is because they supposedly danced a black magic dance in the woods the night before everything started to happen. The three women who were first accused of witchcraft were not just chosen on a whim. Abigail, the main conspirator, and Elizabeth named women who were the cast outs of the community. They accused women who the people of their village would actually believe performed witchcraft. For example, Sarah Good was a homeless beggar who was known to beg for food and shelter from neighbors (Chevers). She was accused of rejecting puritan self-control and expectations; therefore, she made the perfect candidate to take the blame for witchcraft. Another perfect candidate for accusations was Tituba, a housemaid for the Parris family who was known for her story telling. On February 29, 1692, after being accused of witchcraft, arrest warrants were issued for Tituba, Sarah Good, and Sarah Osborne (Chronology, 2009). Sarah Osborne rarely went to church services, and the puritans believed that she had her own interests. After being accused and arrested, Tituba confesses to performing witchcraft, and named both Sarah Good and Sarah Osborne as her coconspirators. As the months progressed more women were accused of being witches and performing witchcraft. These women were typically accused by young girls around Abigail’s preteen age of eleven. All through March of 1962 women were being accused of performing witchcraft, and they were arrested and placed in jail to await their trial. However, now the women that were being accused were not the outcasts. They were women in church, women of the Lord, and now Puritans of Salem were led to believe that witchery could invade anyone. After being accused, arrested, and incarcerated, the women were then examined by the local magistrates for signs of witchery. The first man incarcerated for witchcraft was John Proctor; the reason he was accused and incarcerated was because he protested the examination of his wife, Elizabeth (Chronology, 2009).
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