The Salem Witch Trials


The Salem Massachusetts witchcraft trials of the late 1700’s have been the subject of debate for centuries. There are many theories as to why this hysteria took over the Puritan community during this time. One theory is that it was just a product of the times, because during this same time period, there were also witch-hunts in Europe. A second theory is that this happened during a very stressful time for this Puritan community and this made them a prime target for this type of hysteria. And a third possible theory proposed by some is that there was a contamination of the rye flour that was used for baking bread and that this could have caused the hallucinations.
In order to understand the ...

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girls were acting. There has also been some discussion as to the possibility that the girls were caught in behavior that they knew they would be punished for, and they chose to make up their ‘illness’ so as not to be punished. When the girls were pressed as to an explanation for their actions, “they identified their tormentors as two…women -- Sarah Osborne, Sarah Goode. They also pointed to (Rev Parris's slave), Tituba (Breslaw 103).
On March 1, 1692, magistrates John Hathorne and Jonathan Corwin conducted an examination at the Meeting House. Sarah Good and Sarah Osburn were separately examined and as they answered the questions put to them, the "afflicted" girls went into horrific fits. “To all present, the girls were obviously victims of these women's witchcraft” (Breslaw 103). Though the two village women protested their own innocence, Tituba (the slave) unraveled a confession of meeting with the devil and stating there were still other witches in the neighborhood. Many ...

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to die instead of admitting to something that wasn’t true. There were many that did confess to the false accusations in order to have their lives spared. But there were others who held strong and would not confess. Trials were held, at which “spectral evidence” was used. This was when some of the girls became ‘possessed’ while in court and gave testimony as disciples of the devil. In Salem, a total of 18 people were hanged, the one man died under torture and 5 others died while in jail. After about 6 months of this frenzy “the colony was becoming exhausted with the witchcraft frenzy, and learned persons were speaking against the validity of ‘spectral evidence’ being used in court”(Breslaw ...

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PAPER DETAILS
Added: 8/22/2007 09:15:09 AM
Category: American History
Type: Premium Paper
Words: 1817
Pages: 7

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