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A Brief History of the Salem Witch Trials

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One of the dark moments in early American history. How many people were executed? How did people react afterwards? What were the causes?

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A Brief History of the Salem Witch Trials

  1. 1. A BRIEF HISTORY OF THE SALEM WITCH TRIALS
  2. 2. Salem was called Naumkeag (fishing place) by the Native Americans who originally inhabited the locale.
  3. 3. 1626: The first settlers move from Gloucester. 1629: The settlers rename the location Salem, for the Hebrew Shalom, which means peace.
  4. 4. 1641: Britain makes witchcraft a capital offense.
  5. 5. 1689: Samuel Parris becomes the minister of Salem. 1691: Residents of Salem resent Parris, who has denounced some of them as greedy and unpuritan. 1691: The British Government issues a new charter for the colony which causes resentment and tension.
  6. 6. January 1692: 3 women begin to have fits and exhibit strange behavior. February 1692: Doctors are unable to find a reason for the behavior and suggest the women are under the influence of Satan.
  7. 7. February 1692: Tituba, a slave of Parris, bakes a cake, trying to determine the name of whoever has bewitched the women. In turn, several girls accuse Tituba, Sarah Good and Sarah Osborne of witchcraft. Arrest warrants for the three are issued.
  8. 8. 1 March 1692: Tituba confesses that she works for the devil and there are many witches in Salem.
  9. 9. 12 March 1692: Martha Corey is accused of witchcraft by Ann Putnam 19 March 1692: Rebecca Nurse is accused of witchcraft by Edward and John Putnam (this is after there have been a number of land disputes between the parties)
  10. 10. 23 March 1692: Four year old Dorcas Good, the daughter of Sarah Good, is accused of witchcraft. A flurry of accusations fly in March and April.
  11. 11. 10 May 1692: Sarah Osborne dies in prison. 27 May 1692: The Governor establishes a special court to hear the witchcraft cases.
  12. 12. 10 June 1692: Having been found guilty, Bridget Bishop is hanged. The first, but not the last, execution.
  13. 13. 16 June 1692: Another prisoner dies while in jail awaiting trial. 29-30 June 1692: Five women are hanged. 23 July 1692: John Proctor writes to the Boston clergy detailing the torture being used to elicit confessions and asks for the trials to be moved. They aren’t.
  14. 14. 19 August 1692: 5 more people are hanged.
  15. 15. 19 September 1692: Giles Corey is ‘pressed’ to death, refusing to confess. (If he confessed, the state would seize his property—without a confession his family kept it). His last words are “More weight.”
  16. 16. 22 September 1692: Eight more people are hanged. These are the last hangings. In total, 20 people were executed. January 1693: 49 of the 52 people still in jail are released. May 1693: The last 3 are released by the Governor.
  17. 17. 14 January 1697: A day of fasting and prayer for the victims of the trials is ordered. One of the judges apologizes for his role.
  18. 18. 1702: The General Court declares the 1692 trials illegal. 1711: The Massachusetts Colony passes a bill restoring the rights and good names of all accused and allows 600 Pounds as restitution to victim’s families.
  19. 19. 1953: Arthur Miller writes The Crucible. 1957: Massachusetts formally apologizes for what happened in 1692.
  20. 20. Causes of the Salem Witch Trials? No one can state definitively but here are some of those postulated: -A strong belief in the occult -personal disputes and rivalries -convulsive ergotism caused by eating infected bread -mass hysteria
  21. 21. Mass hysteria: a condition affecting a group of persons, characterized by excitement or anxiety, irrational behavior or beliefs, or inexplicable symptoms of illness.
  22. 22. 20 People were executed as a result of the witch trials. They are a warning about getting caught up in a cause that goes beyond the bounds of reason.
  23. 23. A maxim of writing is: Write What You Know. The links that follow represent that and three additions. I have four pillars to my stories and you'll see that reflected: What I know? What do I want to know What interests me? What am I passionate about? This is updated often with new slideshows. Cool Gus and his niece Sassy Becca (below) hope you find it interesting!
  24. 24. Travel back in time to Salem, Massachusetts in 1692. The year 20 people were executed as witches. She’s there for the 21st victim. Lara’s Mission: Hallows Eve
  25. 25. Click on Image for links
  26. 26. New York Times bestselling author, graduate of West Point, former Green Beret, and feeder of two yellow Labs, most famously Cool Gus. He’s had over seventy books published, including the #1 bestselling series Time Patrol, Area 51, Atlantis, and the Green Berets. Born in the Bronx and having traveled the world he now lives peacefully with his wife and labs. Sort of. Free books below available HERE www.bobmayer.com

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