The Salem Witch Trials Salem, Massachusetts January 20, 1692 – November 25, 1692
How Did the trials Begin? • The village minister’s daughter, Betty Paris, and his niece, Abigail, became suddenly “ill” • The town’s doctor could not confirm a diagnosis so it was said that they were under the influence of witchcraft. • After the diagnosis many of the other girls in the town also became “infected” with the same disease
What is witchcraft exactly? • Witchcraft is the power that a specific person has that is able to do harm to others and influence the acts of nature. • Many witches or wizards were believed to be healers, potion makers, candle makers, scientists, philosophy teachers, Psychics, and librarians.
What were some of the Symptoms of being infected by witchcraft? • Throwing one’s self to the floor • Twitching • Screaming uncontrollably • Fever • Abdominal and muscular pain
Who were the accused? When the girls were forced to tell who was the start of the “witchcraft” they pointed out: • Tituba – Betty Paris’ father’s slave • Sarah Osborne • Sarah Good
Tituba • Tituba was the slave of Reverend Samuel Paris • She was originally from a small village in south America • She was brought to Barbados and then sold into slavery • She told stories of witchcraft and fortune telling to the girls in Salem
The Trials • When it came time for the women to appear in court, Tituba pleaded guilty. Sarah Good and Sarah Osborn refused to be called a witch and were put under interrogation. • The two women were asked questions repeatedly some of them were: • “Are you involved in any form of witch craft?” • “Are you or were you ever a witch?” • “Do you know how the girls in the town became sick?”
The Accused • A total of 141 people were accused • 19 were hung at Gallows hill • One died due to being crushed to death • 7 others died in prison Most of the men and women who were accused were wealthy and over the age of sixty
What actually caused the girls to have such odd behavior? Rye mold – Rye mold is known to cause hallucinogenic chemicals that may have led to hallucinations Actual witches and wizards There are many theories that are believed to cause the girls to have their particularly odd behavior • Ergot poisoning – caused by the consumption of bread the was contaminated by the Ergot fungus • Arguments between families • The thought of gaining more land
What ended the trials? • Ministers started to not believe in witchcraft • Overturned convictions • Compensation to the relatives of the victims “It were better than ten suspected witches should escape than one innocent person should be condemned.” - Reverend Increase Mather This is the document that ended the Salem Witch Trials.
What do people think today of what caused the Salem witch trials? Many people today believe that people were accused of witchcraft because of the large amounts of land that many of the accused owned in the town of Salem.