Hill, Frances. The Salem Witch Trials Reader (Da Capo Press, ).

The Salem Witch Trials divided the community. Neighbor testified against neighbor. Children against parents. Husband against wife. Children died in prisons. Familes were destroyed. Churches removed from their congregations some of the persons accused of witchcraft. After the Court of Oyer and Terminer was dissolved, the Superior Court of Judicature took over the witchcraft cases. They disallowed spectral evidence. Most accusations of witchcraft then resulted in acquittals. An essay by Increase Mather, a prominent minister, may have helped stop the witch trials craze in Salem.

I believe that the Salem witch trials were less a religious persecution than economical.

We will probably never know exactly what happened but the Salem witch trials passed into legend. They formed the basis of Arthur Miller’s play , which was written in 1953 at the McCarthy’s ‘witch hunts’. After Salem nobody else was executed for witchcraft in America. However in 1706 a woman named Grace Sherwood from Virginia was convicted of witchcraft and sentenced to 8 years in prison. The same year, 1706, one of the 'afflicted' girls, Ann Putnam, apologized to the congregation of her church. She claimed that 'It was a great delusion of Satan that deceived me at that sad time'. So she blamed the Devil for the deaths of many innocent people rather than accepting responsibility.


This era of history is known as the Salem Witch Trials.

Researching the Salem Witch Trials is easier than it used to be. Most of the primary source materials (statutes, transcripts of court records, contemporary accounts) are available electronically. Useful databases include HeinOnline Legal Classics Library (see ; (Clair, Henry St., 1840); and “,” 1 Curious Cases and Amusing Actions at Law including Some Trials of Witches in the Seventeenth Century (1916) ), HeinOnline World Trials Library, HeinOnline Law Journal Library (also JSTOR, America: History & Life, Google Scholar, and the LexisNexis and Westlaw journal databases), Gale Encyclopedia of American Law (““), Google Books, Hathi Trust, and the Internet Archive. For books and articles on the Salem Witch Trials and witchcraft and the law generally, Library of Congress subject headings include:


Top 10 Strange And Terrifying Witch Trials Throughout History

Furthermore there were conflicts between the wealthy families in Salem village. There was also conflict between Salem village and Salem town. It has been suggested that the witch hysteria was really an excuse for one group to attack another.

Did Cold Weather Cause the Salem Witch Trials?

Burns, William E. Witch Hunts in Europe and America: An Encyclopedia (Greenwood Press, ). Includes a Chronology (1307-1793), “Salem Witch Trials” at pages 257-261, and a bibliography at pages 333-347.

Salem Witch Trials - The Salem Wiki | FANDOM …

During Tituba’s confession, she talked of red rats, talking cats, and a tall man dressed inblack. She stated that the man clothed in black made her sign in a book, and that SarahGood, Sarah Osborne and others, whose names she could not read, had also signed thisbook. It is not exactly clear why she confessed to witchcraft. She might have thoughtthat she was guilty since she practiced fortune telling, which was considered a form of"white magic," or perhaps thought that the judges would be lenient if she confessed. Whatever her reason, a confession was not likely obtained from her by torture. Althoughphysical torture was employed in Europe to elicit confessions from accused witches, thereare no confirmed cases of it being used in Colonial America for the same purposes as NewEngland law did not sanction it. When Tituba finished her lengthy confession, she, SarahGood and Sarah Osborne were taken to a Boston jail. Sarah Osborne would later becomethe first victim of the Salem witch trials when she died two months later of natural causeswhile still in jail.

Witch Hunts - The Salem witch trials caused 20 executions

As the accusations of witchcraft continued to increase, some started to doubt thetruthfulness of the afflicted girls. One such person was a 60-year-old farmer and tavernowner from Salem Town by the name of John Proctor. When his maidservant, MaryWarren, began to display the same uncanny behavior as the afflicted girls, he threatened tobeat her. This threat temporarily cured her afflictions. He believed the afflicted girlswould, "make devils of us all," and that their behavior could easily be corrected with harshdiscipline. With such opinions, it was not long before he and his wife, Elizabeth--whosegrandmother, Ann B. Lynn, was once suspected of witchcraft--were jailed in Boston undercharges of witchcraft.

The most famous witch trial in history happened in Salem, ..

Now that three Salem Village residents stood accused of witchcraft, an investigation ofthe charges was in order. Two magistrates from Salem Town, John Hathorne, thegreat-grandfather of famed writer Nathaniel Hawthorne (Nathaniel added a "w" to hisname to help disassociate himself from this great-grandfather) and Jonathan Corwin,traveled to Salem Village to investigate the cases of witchcraft. Their investigation ofSarah Osborne, Sarah Good and Tituba was conducted in the Salem VillageMeetinghouse. During the questioning of the three accused, Betty, Abigail, and six othergirls would often scream and tumble on the floor of the meetinghouse. Even with theharsh questioning by the two magistrates and the unusual actions of the afflicted girls,Sarah Good and Sarah Osborne maintained their innocence. Tituba, however, confessedfor three days.