Kw-logo-smaller

The Salem Witch Trials of 1692

Almost 100 years before the Declaration of Independence was signed and the United States began a country of its own, North America was home to many British colonies, including the colony of Massachusetts. It was here that Puritan colonists held the Salem Witch Trials of 1692.

Setting the Scene

It was a period of unrest in Salem, Massachusetts at the end of the 17th Century. There were struggles between the two distinct parts of Salem - Salem Village and Salem Town. Many of the farmers resided in Salem Village and were bent on separating from Salem Town. They soon set up their own church where Reverend Samuel Parris presided. It was because of Reverend Parris' daughter and niece that the Salem Witch Trials began.

The Finger Pointing Begins

Samuel Parris' daughter, Elizabeth Parris, and his niece, Abigail Williams, came down with a strange ailment in late 1691, early 1692. Because the doctor couldn't find anything physically wrong with the two girls, it was decided they must have been bewitched. The girls quickly pointed a finger at Parris' Indian slave, Tituba, as the one who had afflicted them. Tituba was jailed and later sold to pay off her jail fees. The girls also accused homeless woman Sarah Good and an elderly woman, Sarah Osborne. Neither woman had attended church in over a year, which among the Puritans, was considered a sin. Though Tituba did end up admitting her involvement in witchcraft, both Sarah Osborne and Sarah Good professed their innocence until the day they died.

Accusations Continue

Despite the accused witches' pleas of innocence, more and more people were singled out as witches (both women and men), throughout 1692. In the end, over 200 people from Salem and bordering towns were accused of practicing witchcraft. 19 people were hanged, including Sarah Good and up to 17 people died while awaiting their trials. While some decided to admit to practicing witchcraft, for one reason or another, the majority of the accused maintained their innocence until they were hanged. One man, Giles Corey, refused to take part in his trial and therefore was crushed to death slowly by having stones placed upon his chest over a period of two days. All the while, he continued to profess his innocence.

The End of the Salem Witch Trials

In October of 1692, the witchcraft trials were called to an end. All those who had been accused of witchcraft were pardoned. Those who were still in prison had to pay for the food they ate while in jail, otherwise they would have to remain there. Many people lost everything they owned.

The Legacy

To this day, no one really knows what caused the girls' illness. Five years after the witch trials ended, Samuel Parris and his family moved to another town in Massachusetts, but the devastating effects of the witch trials lasted long after they had gone.

Related Stories:
26 Comments

latest videos

F1032999206078

First Witch Found Guilty in Salem?

  • Sarah Good.
  • Sarah Osborne.
  • Giles Corey.
  • Bridget Bishop.

related stories

Thousands of years ago it was common to make nagging wives wear a metal mask. In the Middle Ages ...

Random in the forums

-Allie-
-Allie- posted in General:
Just generally not following the rules and if she asks you to stop and you don't....you should get a penalty. Everyone have a great day! ;) 
reply less than a minute
jordand08
jordand08 posted in General:
They freeze/ban someone on chat because they've done something repeatedly once the mod had said to stop. 
reply 17 minutes
Danielazbike
Danielazbike posted in General:
 [s:p/zxl] if you were a mod why do you freeze or ban someone
reply 38 minutes
jordand08
jordand08 posted in Say Anything:
He probably needed a new username. I would move this, but since I'm on my phone, I can't.
reply about 1 hour
jordand08
jordand08 posted in General:
Actually, what I heard is if you ask someone why they love you, and they don't give you an answer, they really love you. Because if they give you an answer like, "you're pretty, smart, etc" that's only things they like about you, and those things can change.
reply about 1 hour

play online games