Salem township and Salem Village are technically separate in the late 1600s…disputes grew between the two entities and two leading families…and eventually exploded! Disputes revolved around government, taxes, and religion. Indian wars, poor economic times, political strife, family rivalry, etc. caused many to believe that New England was ‘the devil’s land.’
Reverend Samuel Parris--brought his West Indian Slave Tituba to Salem in 1692. His daughter Betty was the first afflicted by ‘witchcraft.’
Told voodoo stories to Betty Parris and other local girls--made herself an obvious choice for accusations. Particpated in the ‘witchcake’ incident. Parris beat her until she confessed. Her confessions shushed skeptics and fueled the witch hunting fire. Confessed before ever going on trial so she became a key witness in accusing others. When she recanted her confession, she spent 13 months in jail until someone paid her bail and purchased her freedom. Fate unknown.
Urine cake ‘situation’ -- Titiuba’s involvement (idea proposed by Mary Sibley)
Cotton Mather (Influential political and religious leader; minister; son of Increase Mather; promoted existence of witchcraft as a way to fight materialism; wanted to convince people there is a spiritual world; treated the girls who first were ‘bewitched’ with fasting and prayer.)--told story of bewitched girls in Boston in 1688 may have contributed to the girls actions and obsession with witchcraft.
Arrest warrant--delivered after accusation.
Examining a witch for ‘third nipples’ or ‘witches’ marks.’ Gossip, hearsay, rumor, etc admitted as evidence. Spectral evidence a main source of accusation.
Trial of George Jacobs--people were allowed to defend themselves.
Trial of Rebecca Nurse. Judges, with little training in law or witchcraft, repeatedly asked leading questions about the accused’s involvement in witchcraft. Confession could save you from the gallows.
Judge Samuel Sewall---later apologized for his role in the Salem Witch Trials.
William Stoughton--chief justice in the Court of Oyer and Terminer.. Very little legal training--refused defense for accused, allowed private meetings between judges and accusers, allowed spectral evidence and hearsay, allowed the audience to interupt with personal comments,
Increase Mather wrote a paper about evidence and noted that it was better to let ten witches go than kill one innocent person. Probably an influence on Governor Sir William Phips who outlawed spectral evidence.
Governor Phips--trials brought to light the importance of solid evidence in court cases.
Salem Witch Trials - Hollitz Chapter 2`
HOLLITZ – CHAPTER 2
SALEM WITCH TRIALS
HOLLITZ – CHAPTER 2
SALEM WITCH TRIALS
In your groups of 4-5, recall what you witnessed in the Salem
Witch Trials documentary. What surprised you most and how
would you relate the incidents which transpired during the
trial to present day (historical) instances of injustice? Be
prepared to discuss your thoughts in 10 minutes.
S ptom s…
Procedures in Witchcraft T
1. T afflicted person m akes a com plaint to the Magistrate
about a suspected witch. T com plaint is som etim es
m ade through a third person.
2. T Magistrate issues a warrant for the arrest of the
2. T accused person is taken into custody and
exam ained by two or m ore Magistrates. If, after
listening to testim ony, the Magistrate believes that the
accused person is probably guilty, the accused is sent to
jail for possible reexam ination and to await trial.
4. T case is presented to the Grand Jury. Depositions
relating to the guilt or innocence of the accused are
entered into evidence.
5. If the accused is indicted by the Grand Jury, he or she is
tried before the Court of Oyer and T
erm iner. A jury,
instructed by the Court, decides the defendant's guilt.
6. T convicted defendant receives his or her sentence
from the Court. In each case at S
alem , the convicted
defendant was sentenced to be hanged on a specified
7. T S
he heriff and his deputies carry out the sentence of
death on the specified date.
+ Touch Test
+ Floating Test
+ Witches’ Marks
+ Lord’s Prayer Test
The End of the Salem Witch Trials…
1. People began to wonder at the accusations of highlyrespected Salem residents.
2. Nineteen witches were hung at Gallows Hill; four died
in prison; two dogs were killed; one man was pressed
to death; and scores of suspects were held in prison.
3. Notable differences between the accused and the
accusers have been researched.