What were the Salem Witch Trials? The Salem Witch Trials were a series of hearings followed by county court of trials to prosecute people accused of witchcraft in colonial Massachusetts. They caused tragedy for people whose love one’s were taken away.
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The Beginning The witchcraft outbreak originated in Salem Village with Betty Parris being the first afflicted girl. The first examinations took place March 1, 1692. The first trial for witchcraft under the Court of Oyer and Terminer was May 27, 1692. Some of the causes the professors thought might of caused the trials were: -Strong beliefs that Satan is acting in the world. -A time of troubles. -Old feuds between the accusers and the accused concerning congregation and property disputes. -Stimulation of imagination by Tituba.
Who! What! Where! When! Why! - The Salem Witch Trials occurred during 1692 and 1693- In colonial Massachusetts- Salem Village- The first person to be afflicted or " Bewitched " was Betty Parris- One of the first to be accused was the slave of Parris, Tituba.- She later admitted to witch craft.- After Tituba, more than 200 people were accused of witch craft- 20 of which were killed- 19 were hanged - With the exception of Giles Corey who was crushed to death when he wouldn’t plead guilty or not guilty.- No one accused of witch craft was burned on the stake in Colonial America, but they were in Europe.- In October 29, 1692 Governor Sir William Phips prohibits any further arrests and released many of the accused witches.- On November 25, 1692 the General Court established a Superior Court to try the remaining witches.- The last trials were held in January 1693
Why! Why! Why! Why! Why! Why! There really was no one cause for the Salem witch trials. A combination of events and factors helped in the creation of the trials. A small pox outbreak, the revocation of the Massachusetts Bay Colony charter by Charles II and the constant fear of Indian attacks helped in creating fear among the early Puritans that God was punishing them. They believed that a person afflicted by witchcraft exhibited certain symptoms.The fear of people acting different caused them to think it was the devil in disguise being witchcraft.The colony had a motive to get the land that belonged to the accused witches because many of them were land owning widows, and by law the land could go to the colony when she died.The small town atmosphere made it hard to keep a secret, and peoples opinions about their neighbors were accepted as a fact.The support for the trials started to dwindle away. Ministers started to believe that some innocent people were being accused and executed for witchcraft on unreliable spectral evidence. With public confidence in the trials slipping, the cries of the victims were steadily ignored, and the accusations eventually stopped.
The Accused More than 200 people were accused of witchcraft. Forty-three people were afflicted. Nineteen people were hanged, one person was pressed to death, and as many as twenty people may have died in prison. Some of the people who were first accused of being involved in witchcraft were: Daniel Andrew Bridget Bishop Sarah Bishop Mary Black Giles Corey Sarah Good
Why Did It End? Doubts grew when respected citizens were convicted and executed. Accusations of witchcraft included the powerful and well-connected. The educated elite of Boston pressure Gov. Phips to exclude spectral evidence. Gov. Phips put an end to spectral evidence and disbands the Court of Oyer and Terminer.
Does it still exist today? Some people say these sorts of trials still might be happening in small towns in Massachusetts today. We may never know until it hits the media. As we went through this presentation we learned the main thing that caused this tragedy was fear.