An Account of Events in Salem
Tituba's Trial
The Witch Hunts
The film we showed you in class

Puritans and 17th century
Salem: One of the last episodes of witch hysteria in the Western world took place in Salem, MA, in 1692. The Salem witch hunt was the largest witch hunt in colonial New England. 350 people were accused of witchcraft in New England; 185 of those were in Salem.
The name Salem was taken from the Hebrew word shalom, meaning peace. But Salem didn’t live up to its name, and it was not a peaceful community at all. There were two Salems, Salem Village and Salem Town. Many villagers wanted their community to separate from the town.
The mainstream society in New England was consisted of Puritans. Puritanism is a Christian faith which originated in England during the early 17th century. The ideals which separate Puritans from other Christians include their strict belief in predestination. This term refers to the idea that God has previously chosen those who will be saved, and an individual can do nothing to change this status. The Puritan Covenant of Grace calls for all Puritans to be actively faithful. Early in the 17th century, groups of Puritans began leaving Europe to travel to the American colonies. The New England region became the center for Puritans, but the group was spread throughout the area north of Virginia. The main goal of these immigrants was to form a religious community in which their ‘pure’ ideals could be central. The radical beliefs of the puritans flourished in the New World. By keeping a strong connection between Church and State, the Puritans were able to control most of the colonies’ activity until the end of the 17th century. The Puritans held five basic beliefs:
  1. Total Depravity: By virtue of the original sin of Adam, when one is born, he has no right to salvation.
  2. Unconditional Election: Some are chosen for salvation, some are not. There is nothing one can do to change his status.
  3. Limited Atonement: The extent to which one can please God with acts is limited.
  4. Irresistible Grace: God showers one with a quality of grace, and one can’t resist it.
  5. Perseverance: Once one has been saved, nothing he does will change that fact.

Back to the events that took place in Salem. It would be appropriate to mention that the years before 1692 were very hard for the population. Draught destroyed most of the crops in the region causing starvation and misery. On top of all, a great fire devastated Boston during 1691. Shortly after this tragedy a terrible earthquake shook Jamaica to its foundations, taking the lives of almost 2000 people. Most of the victims were relatives of colonial Massachusetts residents. According to the people, these calamities weren’t accidental- rumors had it that this was a part of the devil’s plan to regain his lands. These troubled times of superstitions and increasing panic led to the witch hunt hysteria.
Salem had already gained a strange reputation throughout the years, but it was exactly Samuel Parris (the Minister of the village) who gave the start for the following tragic events. Parris became one of the loudest voices calling for condemnation of accused witches. The outbreak of accusation began in his own home and quickly spread to the home of his allies, Thomas and Ann Putnam. Some historians have accused these two families of being among the chief instigators of the witch hunts. The witch accusations began after a slave by the name of Tituba had told stories of voodoo from her native land of Barbados. Three young girls were caught up in these stories and started having strange fits in January. They began accusing people of witchcraft in February 1692, and this resulted in three arrests. The three women accused were Tituba, Sarah Good and Sarah Osborne. One was a slave and the other two social outcasts. Neither of these women attended church, which the community considered to be a sin against God.


List of the accused in witchcraft:
Nehemiah Abbot
Topsfield
May 28
Nehemiah Abbot, Jun.
Topsfield
April 21
Capt. John Alden
Boston
May 31
Daniel Andrew
Salem Village
May 14
Abigail Barker
Andover
Sept.8
Mary Barker
Andover
August 29
William Barker, Sen.
Andover
August 29
William Barker, Jun.
Andover
August 29
Sarah Basset
Lynn
May 21
Bridget Bishop
Salem Village
April 18
Edward Bishop
Salem Village
April 21
Sarah Bishop
Salem Village
April 21
Mary Black
Salem Village
April 21
Mary Bradbury
Salisbury
April 26
Mary Bridges
Andover
July 28
Sarah Bridges
Andover
August 25
Hannah Bromage
Andover
July 30 (examination)
Sarah Buckley
Salem Village
May 14
George Burroughs
Wells, Maine
April 30
Candy (slave)
Salem Town
June 1
Hannah Carrell
Salem Town
September 10
Martha Carrier
Andover
May 28
Andrew Carrier
Andover
July 21
Richard Carrier
Andover
July 21
Sarah Carrier
Andover

Thomas Carrier
Andover
July 21
Bethia Carter
Woburn
May 8
Elizabeth Cary
Charlestown
May 28
Mary Clarke
Haverhill
Aug. 3
Rachel Clenton
Ipswich
March 29
Sarah Cloyse
Salem Village
April 4
Sarah Cole [I]
Salem Town
September 10
Sarah Cole [II]
Lynn
October 3
Elizabeth Colson
Reading
May 14
Giles Corey
Salem Village
April 18
Martha Corey
Salem Village
March 19
Deliverance Dane
Andover

Mary DeRich
Salem Village
May 23
Rebecca Dike
Gloucester
November 5
Elizabeth Dicer
Gloucester
September 3
Ann Doliver
Andover
September
Lydia Dustin
Reading
April 30
Sarah Dustin
Reading
May 8
Rebecca Eames
Andover
August 19
Mary Easty
Salem Village
April 21
Esther Elwell
Gloucester
November 5
Martha Emerson
Haverhill
July 2
Joseph Emons
Manchester
September 5
Philip English
Salem Town
April 30
Mary English
Salem Town
April 21
Thomas Farrer, Sen.
Lynn
May 14
Edward Farrington
Andover
September 17
Abigail Faulkner, Senior
Andover
August 11
Abigail Faulkner, Jun.
Andover
September
Dorothy Faulkner
Andover
September 17
Captain John Flood
Rumney Marsh
May 28
Elizabeth Fosdick
Malden
May 28
Elizabeth Fosdick [Jun.?]
Malden
June 2
Ann Foster
Andover
July 15
Nicholas Frost
Manchester
September 5
Eunice Frye
Andover

Dorcas Good
Salem Village
March 23
Sarah Good
Salem Village
February 29
Mary Green
Haverhill

Elizabeth Hart
Lynn
May 14
Sarah Hawkes
Andover
September 1
Margaret Hawkes
Salem Town
June 1
Dorcas Hoar
Beverly
April 30
Abigail Hobbs
Topsfield
April 18
Deliverance Hobbs
Topsfield
April 21
William Hobbs
Topsfield
April 21
Elizabeth How
Topsfield
May 28
John Howard
Rowley
August 5
Francis Hutchens
Haverhill
August 18
Mary Ireson
Lynn
June 4
John Jackson, Sen.
Rowley
August 5
John Jackson, Jun.
Rowley
August 5
George Jacobs, Sen.
Salem Town
May 10
George Jacobs, Jun.
Salem Village
May 14
Margaret Jacobs
Salem Town
May 10
Rebecca Jacobs
Salem Village
May 14
Abigail Johnson
Andover
August 29
Elizabeth Johnson, Sen.
Andover
August 29
Elizabeth Johnson, Jun.
Andover
August 10
Rebecca Johnson
Andover
January 7, 1693
Stephen Johnson
Andover
September 1
Mary Lacey, Sen.
Andover
July 20
Mary Lacey, Jun.
Andover

John Lee

April 1 (testimony)
Jane Lilly
Malden
September 5
Mary Marston
Andover
August 29
Susanna Martin
Amesbury
April 30
Mary Morey
Beverly
May
Sarah Morrill
Beverly

Rebecca Nurse
Salem Village
March 23
Sarah Osborne
Salem Village
February 29
Mary Osgood
Andover

Elizabeth Paine
Charlestown
June 2
Alice Parker
Salem Town
May 12
Mary Parker
Andover
August
Sarah Pease
Salem Town
May 23
Joan Peney
Gloucester
September 20
Hannah Post
Boxford
August 25
Mary Post
Rowley
August 2
Susanna Post
Andover
August 25
Margaret Prince
Gloucester
September 3
Benjamin Proctor
Salem Village
May 23
Elizabeth Proctor
Salem Village
April 8
John Proctor
Salem Village
April 11
Sarah Proctor
Salem Village

William Proctor
Salem Village
May 28
Ann Pudeator
Salem Town
May 12
Abigail Roe
Gloucester
November 5
Wilmor Reed
Marblehead
May 28
Sarah Rice
Reading
May 28
Susanna Roots
Beverly
May 21
Henry Salter
Andover
September 7
John Sawdy
Andover
September [?]
Margaret Scott

September
Ann Sears
Woburn
May 8
Abigail Soames
Salem Town
May 13
Martha Sparks
Chelmsford

Tituba Indian
Salem Village
February 29
Jerson Toothaker


Mary Toothaker
Billerica
May 28
Roger Toothaker
Billerica
May 18
[Daughter of Roger Toothaker]
Billerica
May 28
Job Tookey
Beverly

Hannah Tyler
Andover
September 16
Martha Tyler
Andover
September 16
Mercy Wardwell
Andover

Samuel Wardwell
Andover
September 1
Sarah Wardwell
Andover
September 1
Mary Warren
Salem Village
April 18
Sarah Wilds
Topsfield
April 21
Ruth Wilford
Haverhill
August 18
John Willard
Salem Village
May 12
Sarah Wilson, Sen.
Andover
September 17
Sarah Wilson, Jun.
Andover

Mary Withridge
Salem Village
May 14


Background on Witch Trials in Salem, Massachusetts
Like all Puritans, the residents of Salem Village believed in witches and in witchcraft. They believed that witchcraft was "entering into a compact with the devil in exchange for certain powers to do evil."4 Witchcraft was considered both a sin and a crime, since it used the devil's power to perform cruel acts against others. Because of the severity of the accusation of witchcraft, each case involving suspected witchcraft had to be carefully and thoroughly investigated.
Early in 1692, the witch hunt hysteria began in Salem, Massachusetts. Reverend Samuel Parris' daughter and Abigail Williams started having fits of convulsion, screaming, and hallucination. A doctor examined the girls and decided that the only explanation for these wild spells was witchcraft. The girls then pointed their fingers at Tituba (a Parris family slave), Sarah Good, and Sarah Osborne as the witches who had afflicted them. Cotton Mather had recently published his Memorable Providences. This book detailed witchcraft and the symptoms of the afflicted. Since Betty Parris' fits were much like those described in Mather's book, the Puritans of Salem were very accepting of the doctor's conclusion and the resulting accusations.
Magistrates John Hawthorne and Jonathan Corwin inherited the responsibility of examining the three accused women. On March 1, 1692 the two began questioning the women. They asked each woman the same questions: Are you a witch? Have you seen the devil? How do you explain the afflictions of these girls? Based on this line of questioning, it is clear that the magistrates and all of Salem had already judged the three women guilty.5 After initially maintaining her innocence, Tituba eventually confessed to being a witch and claimed that she, Good, and Osborne had all made pacts with the devil and had even flown through the air on poles. Tituba's confession showed Salem that their suspicions were valid. For the next year the villagers, fueled by their paranoia and hysteria, searched for witches amongst themselves tirelessly.
In the following months, many more were accused of witchcraft. Martha Corey, Bridget Williams, Rebecca Nurse, Sarah Cloyce, and Mary Eastick all faced charges of witchery. Overloaded with all the new trials, Governor William Phips created a special court to hear the witch cases. The court was known as the Court of Oyer and Terminer. The trials quickly spiraled out of control, and a number of suspected witches were convicted and hanged. Bridget Bishop, Rebecca Nurse, and John Proctor all died as convicted witches. Those who stood trial for the crime of witchcraft could be convicted based on gossip or hearsay. Practically the only way to avoid execution was to admit to being a witch. During 1692, nineteen people refused to confess and died as a result.
While the specific trials of 1692 are important to America's history, the impact of the Salem Witch Trials is deeper than the simple chronology of events. The hysteria that snowballed in Salem reveals how deep the belief in the supernatural ran in colonial America. David Hall noted that "The religion of the colonists was infused with ancient attitudes and practices, some indeed so old as to antedate the rise of Christianity."6 In the quest for spiritual perfection and religious purity, there was no place for magic. The Puritans were so focused on the goal of a pure, religious commonwealth, that they reacted harshly against anything that threatened that goal. Richard Godbeer agrees. "Magic had no place in their vision of New England and so they were appalled to discover that colonists were using magical techniques."

Background on Witch Trials in Europe

As early as 1450, and even before, there is evidence of witch hunts in all parts of Europe. The first known incidents of modern witch hunts involved the extermination of all females of certain villages. An event of this nature occurred in the 12th century in Russia. All the women of the village were taken from their homes and executed as witches. Similarly, in 1492 in Lagendorf, all but two women of a small village were accused of witchcraft.8
Witch hunts also existed as a part of politics. As early as the 14th century, the devil was considered a political enemy of the state.9 Witchcraft involved making pacts with the devil. Witches swore their allegiance to him rather than to the king. In addition to this political aspect, false accusations of witchcraft also made up an important element of European witch hunts. People were forced by government officials to accuse people, often innocent people, of practicing witchcraft. The following passage describes the thoughts of Johannes Junius, a man accused of witchcraft in 1628.10

"Dear Child, 6 have confessed against me at once: the chancellor, his son, Neudecker, Zaner, Hoffmaisters Ursel, and Hoppfen Else- all false through compulsion, as they have all told me, and begged my forgiveness in God's name before they were executed...They know nothing but good of me. They were forced to say it, just as I myself was."
In Europe, the popular view of women was the source of witch hunt hysteria. Women were seen as inherently evil and sexual, and therefore possible targets for the devil. There were strong ties between the idea of witchcraft and sexuality. If a woman did not exhibit purity and innocence, she revealed her connection with evil.11 In this way, witchcraft in Europe was in a way a sexual crime. The book Malleus Maleficarum became the guidebook for prosecuting witches in Europe in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. It too emphasized the sexual nature of witchcraft. This work by Pope Innocent VIII told stories of men losing their genitalia and consulting with female witches for treatment. It also explained why women were more likely to become witches.

"Because the female sex is more concerned with things of the flesh than men; because being formed from a man's rib, they are only 'imperfect animals' and 'crooked' whereas man belongs to a priveleged sex from whose midst Christ emerged."12
When Puritan settlers came to the colonies in America, they brought their preexisting ideas about women and magic with them. The ancient fear of contact with the devil and sexual deviance made witchcraft a sensitive spot for Europeans, including the Puritans. Deeply embedded fears led to the paranoia which provoked witch hunts on both sides of the Atlantic. In Europe and in the colonies one accusation turned into many, and one trial became an unremitting hunt.

Chronology of the Salem Witch Trials


January:Elizabeth Parris and Abigail Williams begin to scream and convulse uncontrollably.
February:Physicians conclude that the influence of Satan is responsible for the girls' strange behavior.
Late FebruaryThe afflicted girls name Tituba (a slave of the Parris family), Sarah Good, and Sarah Osborne as witches.
March 1:Tituba confesses to practicing witchcraft.
March:Other townspeople begin accusing many different people of witchcraft.
March 19:Rebecca Nurse is denounced as a witch.
March 28: Elizabeth Proctor is denounced as a witch.
April 19:Abigail Hobbs, Bridget Bishop, Giles Corey, and Mary Warren are all examined. Only Abigail Hobbs confesses.
May 10:George Jacobs, Sr. and his granddaughter Margaret are examined. Margaret confesses that both she and her grandfather were witches.
May 14:Increase Mather returns from England.
May 27:Governor Phips sets up a special Court of Oyer and Terminer to try the witchcraft cases. The judgments are based on various kinds of intangible evidence, including supernatural attributes.
June 2:First session of Court of Oyer and Terminer occurs. Bridget Bishop is the first suspect to be pronounced guilty and condemned to death.
June 10:Bridget Bishop is hanged in Salem in the first official execution of the Salem trials.
July:The Andover witch hunt begins.
July 19: Rebecca Nurse and Sarah Good are executed.
August 2-6:John and Elizabeth Proctor are tried and condemned.
October 8:After the executions of 20 people, Thomas Brattle writes a letter of criticism to Governor Phips. Phips orders that reliance on intangible evidence is banned.
October 29:Governor Phips ends the Court of Oyer and Terminer.
November 25:The Superior Court is created to try the rest of the witchcraft cases in May, 1693. No one is convicted in these trials.

(Examination of Bridget Bishop, First Version)

The Examination of Bridget Byshop at Salem Village 19. Apr. 1692
By John Hauthorn & Jonath: Corwin Esq'rs
As soon as she came near all fell into fits
Bridget Byshop, You are now brought before Authority to Give acco.
of what witchcrafts you are conversant in
I take all this people (turning her head & eyes about) to witness
that I am clear.
Hath this woman hurt you speaking to the afflicted.
Eliz: Hubbard Ann Putman, Abigail Williams & Mercy Lewes
affirmed she had hurt them.
You are here accused by 4.or.5. for hurting them, what do you
say to it,
I never saw these persons before, nor I never was in this place
before.
Mary Walcot said that her brother Jonathan stroke her appearance
& she saw that he had tore her coat in striking, & she heard it tare.
Upon some search in the Court, a rent that seems to answere
what was alledged was found.
They say you bewitcht your first husband to death.
If it please your worship I know nothing of it.
She shake her head & the afflicted were tortured.
The like again upon the motion of her head.
Sam: Braybrook affirmed that she told him to day that she had
been accounted a Witch these 10 years, but she was no Witch, the
Devil cannot hurt her.



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I am no witch
Why if you have not wrote in the book, yet tell me how far you
have gone? Have you not to do with familiar Spirits?
I have no familiarity with the devil.
How is it then, that your appearance doth hurt these?
I am innocent.
Why you seem to act witchcraft before us, by the motion of your
body, which seems to have influence upon the afflicted.
I know nothing of it. I am innocent to a Witch. I know not what
a Witch is
How do you know then that you are not a witch
I do not know what you say.
How can you know, you are no Witch, & yet not know what a
Witch is.
I am clear: if I were any such person you should know it.
You may threaten, but you can do no more than you are per-
mitted .
I am innocent of a witch.
What do you say of those murders you are charged with?
I hope, I am not guilty of Murder
Then she turned up her eyes, the eyes of the afflicted were
turned up
It may be you do not know, that any have confessed to day, who
have been examined before you, that they are Witches.
No. I know nothing of it.
John Hutchinson & John Lewis in open Court affirmed that they
had told her
Why look you, you are taken now in a flat lye.
I did not hear them.
Note Sam: Gold saith that after this examination he askt s'd
Bridget Byshop if she were not troubled to see the afflicted persons
so tormented, said Byshop answered no, she was not Troubled for
them: Then he ask't her whither she thought they were bewitcht,
she said she could not tell what to think about them. Will Good,
& John Buxton jun'r was by, & he supposeth they heard her also.
Salem Village Aprill the.19'th 1692 mr Sam'l parris being
desired to take into wrighting the Examination of Bridget Bishop,
hath delivered it as aforesaid. And upon hearing the same, and


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seeing what wee did then see, togather with the Charge of the afflic-
ted persons then present: Wee Committed said Bridget Olliver --