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Witch Trials of the Puritans

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  1. Witch Trials of the Puritans By: Kyle Whitehead, Matt Moyer, Dakota McKelly, John Costello, Andrew DeMasi, KodyWenz

  2. Background Information • March 1, 1692- January 1693 • Outbreak originated in Salem Village with Betty Parris being the first afflicted girl • 140 people we accused and 33 died as result of trials

  3. What caused the trials? • Combination of events and factors helped in the creation of the trials • Small pox outbreak • Constant fear of Indian attacks helped in creating anxiety among the early Puritans that God was punishing them. This fear of punishment was believed to be a case of possible witchcraft by the Puritans as the cause of Devil.

  4. The Witch Tests • Sink or swim test- suspect would be curled up in a non-breathable position with rocks tied to their ankles. If the victim floated, there would be a trial held. • Physical examination- The accused would be stripped of their clothing and examine them for any unusual marks. A lady was once tested for these marks, and the midwives found black marks in private areas of her body. The spots were pricked and did not bleed; therefore, it surely had to be a mark of the Devil. • Lord’s Prayer test- performed in front of the village. If the “witch” could not say it without stumbling or shrieking, they were hung on Gallows Hill.

  5. What ended the trials? • Respected ministers started believing that some innocent people were being accused and executed for witchcraft primarily on unreliable evidence • Additionally, the accused that originally confessed to witchcraft requested to take back their former confessions in hopes of not going through the tests • Many well respected citizens were accused of being a witch and that opened up the eyes of the other citizens