The Salem Witch Trials were a dark age in the American history. More than 200 people were accused of practising the Devil’s magic and 20 were executed. The people were widely suspected of practising witchcraft, mostly women. The trials officially started in February of 1692 and ended in May of 1693, when the last victims were released from the prison. Those dark days had gone, but they became synonyms with mass hysteria, injustice and paranoia. Historians determine the Salem Witch Trials as the “witch hunting.” The trials were admitted to be a mistake and the families of the victims received apologies and compensation.
To understand the events of the Salem Witch Trials, it is essential to examine the period when they occurred. In the 17th century in Massachusetts, people were afraid that Devil was always trying to damage the Christian community. The Salem community was living in the isolated New World and was frightened of the Devil and witchcraft. In addition to this constant fear, the residents always experienced a lot of stress due to various factors. The political instability was one major factor that caused the feeling of nervousness and uncertainty. In 1684, a legal document that allowed to colonize the area was signed by King Charles II. The puritans who left the England feared that their religion was under attack in Massachusetts. They worried they were losing control of their colony. Other reasons included the constant danger of attack from the native American tribes, increasing conflicts between the families, and the smallpox epidemic in colony. All these factors made a ground for anxiety and distrust.
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The witchcraft hysteria first began in 1962 when a group of girls started to behave in a strange way after playing in a fortune-telling game. All girls experienced the same symptoms, including fever, screaming, convulsions, and hiding under furniture. The doctor who examined the girls couldn’t find the reason for their behaviour and presumed that they are bewitched. Modern theories suggest that the girls might suffer from the mental illness, child abuse, boredom, or epilepsy. The girls told the names of three women they thought were bewitching them. They were Sarah Good, Sarah Osburn, and Tituba. As these women were social outcasts, it was easy to believe that they were guilty. Shorty after, they were arrested and examined. Tituba made a shocking claim that she along with Sarah Osburn and Sarah Good are witches and serve Satan. This confession marked the beginning of the mass hysteria and the search for other Salem witches.
Although the hunt started in Salem, it spread to the neighbouring towns, and the number of people accused and arrested was dramatically increasing. Since the jails became overcrowded, the accused witches were kept in multiple jails in Salem, Boston and Ipswich. The witches were thought to be very dangerous, so they were chained to the walls in the dungeon. The trials were held in the Salem courthouse which was situated in the centre of the Washington Street. The first person brought to the trial was Bridget Bishop. She was accused by five girls who claimed that she had physically hurt them and made to sign a pact with the Devil. During the trial, Bridget defended herself and stated that she was innocent. However, she was sentenced to death and hanged, becoming the first official victim of the Salem Witch Trials. During this dark period in history, 20 people and 2 dogs were executed for the crime of witchcraft.
The end of the Salem Witch Trials came to the end when the use of the evidence based on the illusions and dreams was declared to be inappropriate. As the years went by, the residents were ashamed of what had happened during that time. The trials ended and the colony began to experience many misfortunes, such as crop failures, diseases outbreaks, and droughts. Many people started to wonder whether God punished them for their mistakes.
Introduction: In colonial Massachusetts between February of 1692 and May of 1963, over almost 200 citizens were accused, arrested, and imprisoned for supposed acts of witchcraft. Nineteen of these accused people, fourteen women and five men, were hanged at Gallows Hill near Salem Village. Many others died in jail, and one man was stoned to death. (UMKC School of Law) During the time period of June to September 1692, many people were wrongfully murdered after unreasonable trials found them guilty of acts of witchcraft. The reasons for these trials include religious limitations, a tainted food supply, property disputes, congregational feuds and immature girls lacking in attention. It is because of these Trials that spectral evidence is no longer considered legitimate in the modern legal system. Background: The Puritans were a large group of people in England during the 1600’s that wanted to purify the church. They faced much discrimination and were sometimes thrown in jail for their views. They wished to relocate to the New World for religious, political, and economical reasons. The main reason was to escape religious persecution, which they faced a lot of in England during this time. (Roe) They also wanted to escape political persecution, and establish their own political society where their religion could be practiced freely. (Watkins) In 1628, a venture named the Governor and Company of Massachusetts Bay was formed by Puritan businessmen. This was seen as a money-making opportunity in America, and this was the case, although the intentions were also along the lines of religious freedom and establishing an all Puritan theocracy. These businessmen were given the land between the Charles