Salem witch trials - Wikipedia


salem witch trials article

Salem witch trials - Salem witch trials - The trials: On May 27, , after weeks of informal hearings accompanied by imprisonments, Sir William Phips (also spelled Phipps), the governor of Massachusetts Bay Colony, interceded and ordered the convening of an official Court of Oyer (“to hear”) and Terminer (“to decide”) in Salem Town. Unraveling the Many Mysteries of Tituba, the Star Witness of the Salem Witch Trials No one really knows the true motives of the character central to one of America’s greatest Stacy Schiff. Jul 18,  · Salem witch trials (–93), a series of investigations and persecutions that caused 19 convicted ‘witches’ to be hanged and many other suspects to be imprisoned in Salem Village in the Massachusetts Bay Colony. They were part of a long story of .

A Brief History of the Salem Witch Trials | History | Smithsonian

Inthe Massachusetts Bay Colony executed fourteen women, five men, and two dogs for witchcraft. The sorcery materialized in January. The first hanging took place in June, the last in September; a stark, stunned silence followed.

The youngest was five; the eldest nearly eighty. Husbands implicated wives; nephews their aunts; daughters their mothers; siblings each other. One minister discovered that he was related to no fewer than twenty witches. The population of New England at that time would fit into Yankee Stadium today. Nearly to a person, they were Puritans. On a providential mission, they hoped to begin history anew; they had the advantage of building a civilization from scratch.

Like any oppressed people, they defined themselves by what offended them, which would give New England its gritty flavor and, it has been argued, salem witch trials article, America its independence. New England delivered greater purity but also introduced fresh perils. They had endured without a charter for eight salem witch trials article. From the start, the colonists tangled with that American staple, the swarthy terrorist in the back yard.

Without a knock or a greeting, four armed Indians might appear in your parlor to warm themselves by the fire, propositioning you, while you cowered in the corner with your knitting. You could return from a trip to Boston to find your house in ashes and your family taken captive. The Indians skulked, they lurked, they flitted, they committed atrocities—and they vanished.

Every Bay Colony resident lost a friend or a relative; all knew of a dismemberment or an abduction, salem witch trials article. Byanother Indian war had begun to take shape, with a series of grisly raids by the Wabanaki and their French allies. The frontier had recently moved to within fifty miles of Salem. He was hardly pleased to be displaced by a convoy of Puritans. He was in fact stark raving mad about it, preached Cotton Mather, the brilliant twenty-nine-year-old Boston minister.

Salem witch trials article, exactly, did an army of devils look like? Given the symbiotic relationship of an oppressed people and an inhospitable landscape, it was from there but a short step to a colluding axis of evil. The men who catalogued those dangers—who could discern a line of Revelation in a hailstorm—protected against them, spiritually and politically. They assisted in coups and installed regimes. The most literate men in Massachusetts in were also the most literal.

Among them, few probed salem witch trials article subject of witchcraft as intently as did the lanky, light-haired Mather, who had entered Harvard at eleven and preached his first sermon at sixteen. He knew that the hidden world was there somewhere. He would relinquish no tool to exhibit it. Mather shared the North Church pulpit with his illustrious father, Increase Mather, salem witch trials article.

His son would eventually eclipse him on both counts, publishing four hundred and thirty-seven books, twenty-six of them in the next four years. The elder Mather was returning from England that spring with a new charter. The colonists awaited it in jittery suspense; all manner of rumor circulated as to its terms. So unreliable was the news that a monarch could be dead one minute and alive the next, salem witch trials article.

In isolated settlements, in smoky, fire-lit homes, New Englanders lived very much in the dark, salem witch trials article, where one listens more acutely, feels most passionately, and imagines most vividly, where the salem witch trials article and the occult thrive.

The seventeenth-century sky was crow black, pitch-black, Bible black, so black that it could be difficult at night to keep to the path, so black that a line of trees might freely migrate to another location, or that you might find yourself pursued by a rabid black hog, leaving you to crawl home on all fours, bloody and disoriented.

A tempest blew the roof off one of the finest homes in Salem as its ten occupants slept. A church went flying, with its congregation inside. If there was a book in the house, it was the Bible. The early modern American thought, breathed, dreamed, disciplined, bartered, and hallucinated in Biblical texts and imagery.

John the Baptist might well turn up in a land dispute. A prisoner cited Deuteronomy in his own defense. When a killer cat came flying in your window—taking hold of your throat and crushing your chest as you lay defenseless in your bed—you scared it away by invoking the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost. You also concluded salem witch trials article your irascible neighbor had paid a call, in feline form, salem witch trials article.

Human frailty was understood to account for inclement weather: teeth chattering, toes numb, salem witch trials article, the Massachusetts Puritan had every reason to believe that he sinned flamboyantly. He did so especially during the arctic winter ofwhen bread froze on Communion plates, ink in pens, sap in the fireplace.

In tiny Salem village, the Reverend Samuel Parris preached to a chorus of rattling coughs and sniffles, to the shuffling of cruelly frostbitten feet. It was too cold to salem witch trials article on. Weeks later, word got out that something was grievously wrong in the Parris household. They went limp or spasmodically rigid. They interrupted sermons and fell into trances. Neither appeared to have time for prayer, though until January both had been perfectly well behaved and well mannered.

At night they slept like babies, salem witch trials article. Inwhen the colonists established a legal code, the first capital crime was idolatry. The second was witchcraft. Blasphemy came next, followed by murder, poisoning, and bestiality. In the years since, New England had indicted more than a hundred witches, about a quarter of them men.

The first person to confess to having entered into a pact with Satan, a Connecticut servant, had prayed for his help salem witch trials article her chores. An assistant materialized to clear the ashes from the hearth and the hogs from the fields. Infour exemplary Boston children, the sons and daughters of a devout Boston stonelayer named John Goodwin, suffered from a baffling disorder.

The Goodwin children flew like geese, on one occasion for twenty feet. They recoiled from blows of invisible sticks, shrieked that they were sliced by knives or wrapped in chains.

Jaws, wrists, necks flew out of joint. Parental reproof sent the children into agonies. Chores defied them. To observe her symptoms more closely, Mather that summer took Martha Goodwin into his salem witch trials article. She read and reread his pages on her case, lampooning their author.

The sauciness astonished him. The witch was the mother of a neighborhood laundress. She was hanged in November,on Boston Common. The girls cried that they were being stabbed with fine needles. Their skin burned. One disappeared halfway down a well. Their shrieks could be heard from a distance. Through February, Parris fasted and prayed. He consulted with fellow-clergymen.

With cider and cakes, he and his wife entertained the well-wishers who crowded their home. They prayed ardently, gooseflesh rising on their arms. They sang Psalms. In plasters or powders, snails figured in many remedies. Salem village had one practicing physician that winter. He owned nine medical texts; he could likely read but not write.

His surgical arsenal consisted of lances, razors, and saws. The doctor who had examined a seizing Groton girl a generation earlier initially diagnosed a stomach disorder. On a second visit, he refused to administer to her further.

The distemper was diabolical in origin. Whoever examined Abigail and Betty arrived at the same conclusion. The diagnosis likely terrified the girls, whose symptoms deteriorated. It may have gratified Reverend Parris. Witchcraft was portentous, a Puritan favorite. Never before had it broken out in a parsonage. A creature had followed her home from an errand, through the snow; she now realized that it had not been a wolf at all.

The girls named names. They could see the culprits clearly. Not one but three witches were loose in Salem. What exactly was a witch? Any seventeenth-century New Englander could have told you. As workers of magic, witches and wizards extend as far back as recorded history. The witch as Salem conceived her materialized in the thirteenth century, when sorcery and heresy moved closer together.


Salem Witch Trials | National Geographic Society


salem witch trials article


The witch as Salem conceived her materialized in the thirteenth century, when sorcery and heresy moved closer together. She came into her own with the Inquisition, as a popular myth yielded to a Author: Stacy Schiff. Salem witch trials - Salem witch trials - The trials: On May 27, , after weeks of informal hearings accompanied by imprisonments, Sir William Phips (also spelled Phipps), the governor of Massachusetts Bay Colony, interceded and ordered the convening of an official Court of Oyer (“to hear”) and Terminer (“to decide”) in Salem Town. Aug 18,  · 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. Ever since those dark days ended, the trials have become synonymous with mass hysteria and scapegoating. The following are some facts about the Salem Witch Trials.