During the summer ofnineteen people were hung and one pressed to death, because they were accused of practicing or aiding the process of witchcraft - What caused the Salem Witch Trial Hysteria of Essay introduction?
In addition, one man was pressed to death by heavy weights for refusing to enter a plea; at least eight people died in prison, including one infant and one child; and more than one hundred and fifty individuals were jailed while awaiting trial.
Due to the survival of many relevant records, including notes, depositions, and official rulings, the main facts of the accusations, arrests, trials, and executions are known. What has always engaged scholars is the search for the causes of the "witch hysteria.
Parris eventually called in the local physician, William Griggs, who found the girls experiencing convulsions and scurrying around the room and barking like dogs. The doctor was puzzled and unable to offer a medical explanation, but suggested that it might be the work of evil forces.
Parris consulted with local ministers, who recommended he wait to see what happened. But word of the unexplained fits had already spread around Salem Village, and soon several other girls, including three from the home of Thomas Putnam, Jr.
Pressured to explain what or who had caused their behavior, the girls named three Village women as witches. One named was Tituba, the Rev. Another named as a witch was Sarah Good, an unpopular woman who had reportedly muttered threats against her neighbors; the third was Sarah Osborne, who had allowed a man to live with her for some months before they were married.
Warrants for the three were issued on Hysteria salem witch trials essay Good and Osborne declared that they were innocent and knew nothing of witchcraft, but Tituba exuberantly confessed, claiming that witchcraft was practiced by many in the area.
Her confession excited the villagers. While she was examined in the meeting house in front of hundreds of people, the afflicted girls cried out in what appeared to be extreme agony.
More individuals were accused and jailed as the weeks passed, but no trials could legally take place because, for the first three months of the witchcraft uproar, Massachusetts was without a legally-established government.
On May 14,Governor William Phips arrived with a new charter and soon created a special Court of Oyer to hear and Terminer to determine. She was not the first accused to die, however; Sarah Osborne died of natural causes in a jail in Boston on May On June 15 a group of ministers including Cotton Mather, wrote Governor Phips urging that special caution be taken in the use of evidence in the trials, but the ministers said no more publicly in July, August, or September.
The court next met on June 29 and heard the cases of five accused women. When the jury tried to acquit one of them, Rebecca Nurse, Stoughton sent the jury back to deliberate some more. When they returned they had changed their verdict to guilty. The women were hanged on July By this time the witchcraft hysteria had spread not only to Salem Town but to Andover.
August and September brought more convictions and hangings. The last eight accused witches were hanged on September 22, in what would turn out to be the final executions. The elder Mather insisted that proper evidence should be used in witchcraft cases just as in any other capital cases.
He strongly opposed spectral evidence, or evidence based on ghost sightings. As accusations mounted against people of higher and more respectable positions, skepticism grew in the public as to the appropriateness of witchcraft charges.
Thomas Brattle wrote an insightful letter to Governor Phips highly criticising the trials. On October 12, Phips, whose own wife had been accused of witchcraft, forbade any further imprisonments for witchcraft, and on the 29th dissolved the Court of Oyer and Terminer.
When a new special court convened in earlywith several of the same members and William Stoughton once more as chief justice, forty-nine accused persons were acquitted.
The difference was in no small part due to the governor not permitting spectral evidence to be heard. When three prisoners were convicted, Phips immediately granted reprieves. Three months later Phips freed all the remaining prisoners and issued a general pardon. Soon many jurors and judges apologized, and Judge Sewall attempted to take full responsibility for the trials and hangings.
A central problem in the trials themselves was the use of spectral evidence. Spectral evidence included testimony by the afflicted that they could see the specters of the witches tormenting their victims; the evil deeds were not perpetrated by the accused themselves, but by the evil spirits who assumed their shapes.
One problem with spectral evidence was that apparitions of demons were invisible to other people in the same room; only the afflicted girls could see the shapes. Another concern was the possibility that Satan could appear in the shape of an innocent person.
To overcome these obstacles, confessions were vigorously sought. The Salem cases are unusual in that the defendants who confessed were generally not executed, while those who were hanged adamantly maintained their innocence. Considered trustworthy was testimony to some supernatural attribute of the accused.
George Burroughs was accused by six persons of performing superhuman feats of strength. One witness claimed Burroughs could read his thoughts.The Salem witch trials took place between February of and May of By the end of the trials, hundreds were accused of witchcraft, nineteen were executed and several more died in prison awaiting either trial or execution.
The Salem Witch Trials Page contains information and court transcripts dealing with the events and persons of this tragedy. The Salem Witch Trials of were a dark time in American history. More than people were accused of practicing witchcraft and 20 were killed during the hysteria.
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Credits: 1 Recommended: 10th, 11th, 12th (This is typically the 11th grade course.) Prerequisite: Literature. What has always engaged scholars is the search for the causes of the "witch hysteria." The proffered explanations for the witchcraft occurrence are many and conflicting.
On January 20, , in Salem Village, the Reverend Samuel Parris' nine-year-old daughter, Elizabeth, and his eleven-year-old niece, Abigail Williams, began exhibiting odd behavior, including shouting blasphemies and entering into .
The salem witch trials and mass hysteria Essay inexplicable symptoms of illness. In , Salem Village (now Danvers, Massachusetts) was the scene of a moral panic that spread throughout the region and involved witchcraft accusations which led to trials, torture, imprisonment, and executions.