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The death of innocent women during the witchcraft hysteria

The parsonage in Salem Villageas photographed in the late 19th century The present-day archaeological site of the Salem Village parsonage In Salem Village, in February 1692, Betty Parrisage 9, and her cousin Abigail Williamsage 11, the daughter and niece, respectively, of Reverend Samuel Parris, began to have fits described as "beyond the power of Epileptic Fits or natural disease to effect" by John Halethe minister of the nearby town of Beverly.

Deodat Lawsona former minister in Salem Village. A doctor, historically assumed to be William Griggs[11] could find no physical evidence of any ailment. Other young women in the village began to exhibit similar behaviors. When Lawson preached as a guest in the Salem Village meetinghouse, he was interrupted several times by outbursts of the afflicted.

Some historians believe that the accusation by Ann Putnam Jr. At the time, a vicious rivalry was underway between the Putnam and Porter families, one which deeply polarized the people of Salem. Citizens would often have heated debates, which escalated into full-fledged fighting, based solely on their opinion of the feud.

She was accused of witchcraft because of her appalling reputation. At her trial, she was accused of rejecting Puritan ideals of self-control and discipline when she chose to torment and "scorn [children] instead of leading them towards the path of salvation". She was accused of witchcraft because the Puritans believed that Osborne had her own self-interests in mind following her remarriage to an indentured servant.

The citizens of the town disapproved of her trying to control her son's inheritance from her previous marriage. She was accused of attracting girls like Abigail Williams and Betty Parris with stories of enchantment from Malleus Maleficarum. These tales about sexual encounters with demons, swaying the minds of men, and fortune-telling were said to stimulate the imaginations of girls and made Tituba an obvious target of accusations. Brought before the local magistrates on the complaint of witchcraft, they were interrogated for several days, starting on March 1, 1692, then sent to jail.

Martha Corey had expressed skepticism about the credibility of the girls' accusations and thus drawn attention.

First Salem witch hanging

If such upstanding people could be witches, the townspeople thought, then anybody could be a witch, and church membership was no protection from accusation.

Dorothy Good, the daughter of Sarah Goodwas only four years old, but not exempted from questioning by the magistrates; her answers were construed as a confession that implicated her mother. In Ipswich, Rachel Clinton was arrested for witchcraft at the end of March on independent charges unrelated to the afflictions of the girls in Salem Village. Please help improve this article by adding citations to reliable sources.

Salem witch trials

Unsourced material may be challenged and removed. The men were both local magistrates and also members of the Governor's Council. Objections by Elizabeth's husband, John Proctorduring the proceedings resulted in his arrest that day. Abigail Hobbs, Mary Warren, and Deliverance Hobbs all confessed and began naming additional people as accomplices.

On April 30, the Rev. Mary Eastey was released for a few days after her initial arrest because the accusers failed to confirm that it was she who had afflicted them; she had been arrested again when the accusers reconsidered.

In May, accusations continued to pour in, but some of those suspects began to evade apprehension. Until this point, all the proceedings were investigative, but on May 27, 1692, William Phips ordered the establishment of a Special Court of Oyer and Terminer for Suffolk, Essex and Middlesex counties to prosecute the cases of those in jail. Warrants were issued for more people. Sarah Osborne, one of the first three persons accused, died in jail on May 10, 1692.

Warrants were issued for 36 more people, with examinations continuing to take place in Salem Village: When the Court of Oyer and Terminer convened at the end of May, the total number of people in custody was 62.

It is very certain that the Devils have sometimes represented the Shapes of persons not only innocent, but also very virtuous. Though I believe that the just God then ordinarily provides a way for the speedy vindication of the persons thus abused.

The Court of Oyer and Terminer This section needs additional citations for verification. April 2016 Chief Magistrate William Stoughton 1631—1701. Bridget Bishop's case was the first brought to the grand jury, who endorsed all the indictments against her.

Bishop was described as not living a Puritan lifestyle, for she wore black clothing and odd costumes, which was against the Puritan code. When she was examined before her trial, Bishop was asked about her coat, which had been awkwardly "cut or torn in two ways". She went to trial the same day and was convicted.

  1. Sarah Osborne had not been to church for a year.
  2. In 1692, teenage girls were suddenly barking like dogs and dancing in the woods. She claimed that 'It was a great delusion of Satan that deceived me at that sad time'.
  3. Foster's daughter , Dorcas Hoar and Abigail Hobbs.
  4. The problem is that a confession may spare them death but it damned them in many other ways. People have always believed you could use magic to improve your crop or heal illnesses.

On June 3, the grand jury endorsed indictments against Rebecca Nurse and John Willard, but they did not go to trial immediately, for reasons which are unclear. Bishop was executed by hanging on June 10, 1692. Immediately following this execution, the court adjourned for 20 days until June 30 while it sought advice from New England's most influential ministers "upon the state of things as they then stood.

The afflicted state of our poor neighbours, that are now suffering by molestations from the invisible world, we apprehend so deplorable, that we think their condition calls for the utmost help of all persons in their several capacities. We cannot but, with all thankfulness, acknowledge the success which the merciful The death of innocent women during the witchcraft hysteria has given unto the sedulous and assiduous endeavours of our honourable rulers, to detect the death of innocent women during the witchcraft hysteria abominable witchcrafts which have been committed in the country, humbly praying, that the discovery of those mysterious and mischievous wickednesses may be perfected.

We judge that, in the prosecution of these and all such witchcrafts, there is need of a very critical and exquisite caution, lest by too much credulity for things received only upon the Devil's authority, there be a door opened for a long train of miserable consequences, and Satan get an advantage over us; for we should not be ignorant of his devices. As in complaints upon witchcrafts, there may be matters of inquiry which do not amount unto matters of presumption, and there may be matters of presumption which yet may not be matters of conviction, so it is necessary, that all proceedings thereabout be managed with an exceeding tenderness towards those that may be complained of, especially if they have been persons formerly of an unblemished reputation.

When the first inquiry is made into the circumstances of such as may lie under the just suspicion of witchcrafts, we could wish that there may be admitted as little as is possible of such noise, company and openness as may too hastily expose them that are examined, and that there may no thing be used as a test for the trial of the suspected, the lawfulness whereof may be doubted among the people of God; but that the directions given by such judicious writers as Perkins and Bernard [be consulted in such a case].

Presumptions whereupon persons may be committed, and, much more, convictions whereupon persons may be condemned as guilty of witchcrafts, ought certainly to be more considerable than barely the accused person's being represented by a specter unto the afflicted; inasmuch as it is an undoubted and notorious thing, that a demon may, by God's permission, appear, even to ill purposes, in the shape of an innocent, yea, and a virtuous man.

Nor can we esteem alterations made in the sufferers, by a look or touch of the death of innocent women during the witchcraft hysteria accused, to be an infallible evidence of guilt, but frequently liable to be abused by the Devil's legerdemains. We know not whether some remarkable affronts given to the Devils by our disbelieving those testimonies whose whole force and strength is from them alone, may not put a period unto the progress of the dreadful calamity begun upon us, in the accusations of so many persons, whereof some, we hope, are yet clear from the great transgression laid unto their charge.

Nevertheless, we cannot but humbly recommend unto the government, the speedy and vigorous prosecution of such as have rendered themselves obnoxious, according to the direction given in the laws of God, and the wholesome statutes of the English nation, for the detection of witchcrafts.

Hutchinson sums the letter, "The two first and the last sections of this advice took away the force of all the others, and the prosecutions went on with more vigor than before.

Major Nathaniel Saltonstall Esq. According to Upham, Saltonstall deserves the credit for "being the only public man of his day who had the sense or courage to condemn the proceedings, at the the death of innocent women during the witchcraft hysteria.

Suspect Roger Toothaker died in prison on June 16, 1692. All five women were executed by hanging on July 19, 1692. In mid-July, the constable in Andover invited the afflicted girls from Salem Village to visit with his wife to try to determine who was causing her afflictions.

Ann Foster, her daughter Mary Lacey Sr. Elizabeth Proctor was given a temporary stay of execution because she was pregnant.

Burroughs was carried in a Cart with others, through the streets of Salem, to Execution. When he was upon the Ladder, he made a speech for the clearing of his Innocency, with such Solemn and Serious Expressions as were to the Admiration of all present; his Prayer which he concluded by repeating the Lord's Prayer [as witches were not supposed to be able to recite] was so well worded, and uttered with such composedness as such fervency of spirit, as was very Affecting, and drew Tears from many, so that if seemed to some that the spectators would hinder the execution.

The accusers said the black Man [Devil] stood and dictated to him. As soon as he was turned off [hanged], Mr. Cotton Mather, being mounted upon a Horse, addressed himself to the People, partly to declare that he [Mr.

Burroughs] was no ordained Minister, partly to possess the People of his guilt, saying that the devil often had been transformed into the Angel of Light. And this did somewhat appease the People, and the Executions went on; when he [Mr. Burroughs] was cut down, he was dragged by a Halter to a Hole, or Grave, between the Rocks, about two feet deep; his Shirt and Breeches being pulled off, and an old pair of Trousers of one Executed put on his lower parts: Mattesoninspired by the Salem trials In September, grand juries indicted eighteen more people.

The grand jury failed to indict William Proctor, who was re-arrested on new charges. Four pleaded guilty and eleven others were tried and found guilty. Noyes turning him to the Bodies, said, what a sad thing it is to see Eight Firebrands of Hell hanging there.

Mary Bradbury aged 77 escaped. Burr says both the Phip's letter and Mather's manuscript "must have gone to London by the same ship" in mid-October. After Phips' order, there were no more executions. Please help improve this section by adding citations to reliable sources.

The first five cases tried in January 1693 were of the five people who had been indicted but not tried in September: All were found not guilty. Grand juries were held for many of those remaining in jail. Charges were dismissed against many, but sixteen more people were indicted and tried, three of whom were found guilty: All were found not guilty, but not released until they paid their jail fees.

Lydia Dustin died in jail on March 10, 1693. John Alden by proclamation. It heard charges against a servant girl, Mary Watkins, for falsely accusing her mistress of witchcraft. They dismissed charges against all but five people.

In 1692, the magistrates opted to wait for the arrival of the new charter and governor, who would establish a Court of Oyer and Terminer to handle these cases.

The next step, at the superior court level, was to summon witnesses before a grand jury. Several others, including Elizabeth Bassett Proctor and Abigail Faulkner, were convicted but given temporary reprieves because they were pregnant. Five other women were convicted in 1692, but the death sentence was never carried out: Foster's daughterDorcas Hoar and Abigail Hobbs. The judges applied an archaic form of punishment called peine forte et dure, in which stones were piled on his chest until he could no longer breathe.

As soon as the bodies of the accused were cut down from the trees, they were thrown into a shallow grave and the crowd dispersed. Oral history claims that the families of the dead reclaimed their bodies after dark and buried them in unmarked graves on family property. The record books of the time do not note the deaths of any of those executed. Spectral evidence Title page of Cases of Conscience Boston, 1693 by Increase Mather Much, but not all, of the evidence used against the accused, was spectral evidenceor the testimony of the afflicted who claimed to see the apparition or the shape of the person who was allegedly afflicting them.

Opponents claimed that the Devil was able to use anyone's shape to afflict people, but the Court contended that the Devil could not use a person's shape without that person's permission; therefore, when the afflicted claimed to see the apparition of a specific person, that was accepted as evidence that the accused had been complicit with the Devil. Unfortunately the work did not get released until after the trials had already ended. A copy of this letter was printed in Increase Mather 's Cases of Conscience, published in 1693.

The publication A Tryal of Witchesrelated to the 1662 Bury St Edmunds witch trialwas used by the magistrates at Salem when looking for a precedent in allowing spectral evidence.