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The Salem Witch Trials

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Introduction

Ragan 1 The Salem Witch Trials The year 1692 was a time of horror in Salem, MA. A witch-hunt took place after a group of girls became hysterical while playing in the woods and it was proposed that they were bewitched. These girls accused older women of consorting the devil. Before the trials were over, 300 men and women had been accused. By the time the chaotic witch-hunt was finished, little enthusiasm for the persecution of witches remained in Massachusetts and the superstition of witchcraft ended the trials (Sheffield). The trouble originated in the home of Reverend Samuel Parris who was the minister of the local church. Several girls in the community started spending their afternoons there in the kitchen with Tituba, the Rev. Parris' West Indian slave, to learn magic. The girls had been up to some mischief for some time and were curious about their futures, so they read each others palms until Abigail Williams spread the word about how Tituba could float an egg white in a glass and this unusual practice could tell " what trade their sweethearts should be of" ( Watson 116). As the girls grew closer to one another Ragan 2 something seemed to have come over them. They were no longer acting like good quite Puritan maidens but more like something possessed (Roberts 26). ...read more.

Middle

She replied, "I do no hurt them, clearly something is torturing the girls it was Osborne that did it" (Watson 116). Tituba however took the stand and confessed that she had seen the devil. She told of things that inhabit the invisible world and the things that tie them to Satan. She talked about Good and Osborne and many other people in the village being involved with the devil's conspiracy (Roberts 27). The community looked at the girls as prophets, since they had a special gift and could see the evil lurking among them. If there were more witches as Tituba confessed then the girls must find the rest. The girls were able to come up with more suspects. Martha Corey a good woman known through out the community. The accused Sarah Good's five-year-old daughter named Dorcas. Rebecca Nurse, Mary Esty and Sarah Cloyce who were all sisters. John Proctor, Giles Corey, Abigail Hobbs, Bridgit Bishop, Sarah Wild, Susanna Martin, Dorcas Hoar and Reverend George Burroughs. The list grew, madness spread beyond Salem Village, and the girls accused people they had never met (Roberts 28). Ragan 4 The girls did every thing in their power to make people believe that the accused were really witches. Martha Corey told the judge "We must not believe these distracted children". ...read more.

Conclusion

Green urged Ann to write a confession, which was read before a large crowd at the meeting house. The pastor read her confession as she stood in front of the congregation. I desire to be humbled before God for that sad and humbling providence that befell my father's family in the year about ninety-two; that I, then being in my childhood should by such a providence of God, be made an instrument for the accusing of several persons of a grievous crime, whreby their lives were taken away from them, whom, now I have just grounds and good reason to believe they were innocent persons. For which cause I desire to lie in the dust and beg for forgiveness of God, and from all those unto whom I have given just cause of sorrow and offense, whose relations were taken away or accused (Yool). The witchcraft hysteria in Salem Massachusetts was a brief moment in history. However this brief moment has lingered longer than some had hoped. The idea of witchcraft is as old has history itself and people still find it as intriguing today as they did some three hundred years ago (Robets 32). So the next time you see a child take a wild fit screaming and rolling around on the ground, maybe, must maybe there is a witch lurking near by. Salem Witch Trials Amanda Ragan History 2010 Instructor: Dr. ...read more.

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