The Salem Witch Trials

During Halloween, most collegiettes like to watch scary movies, TV shows and look for a Halloween costume. All normal and fun of course, but me--I like to dig in to our history. I like to look back during a certain part of our history when people actually believed that the devil was working. For example, the Salem Witch trials, not many people know that it actually happened here in American soil and those that do, don’t know the exact details what led to the trials. 

The Salem Witch Trials happened during a very dark time in our history. In the year of 1692 more than 200 people were accused of practicing witchcraft and among those 200 people 20 were killed. But, some people ask--what exactly were the witch trials and where did it all take place? Let me give you a history lesson on how the Salem Witch Trials went down.

What were the Salem Witch Trials exactly? They were series of cases where people accused each other of witchcraft. It happened in Salem, Massachusetts during the 17th century. 

It all began, in January 1692 when a group of young girls became ill after playing a fortune-telling game and they started to act strange.  They later were known in the colony as the “afflicted girls.” 

These are the name of the girls who shifted the colony in Salem.

The names are as followed: 

Elizabeth Booth 

Elizabeth Hubbard 

Mercy Lewis 

Betty Parris 

Ann Putnam, Jr. 

Susannah Sheldon 

Abigail Williams 

Mary Walcott 

Mary Warren 

Right after Dr. William Griggs examined the girls two of the girls named two women who they believed bewitched them. These women were Sarah Good, Sarah Osburn and a slave named Tituba who worked for Reverend Samuel Parris. 

Once Tituba confessed, she sparked the masses and the hunt for more witches in Salem. Fast forward to May, the number of the witchcraft cases continued to grow. It even spread to other towns and villages such Andover, Gloucester and those residents eventually had to come to Salem to be put on trial. 

The executions were brutal in the 17th century. Although not everyone believed in the witchcraft, such as John Proctor protocol still continued. People were hanged, jailed and some other were stoned if they if they refused to enter a plea. The death that still defines everything about the witch trials is the death of Giles Corey. Giles Corey was accused of witchcraft during his wife’s cross-examination. He knew, if convicted, he could lose his land. So, the council did what the English law set at the time and it was called “peine forte et dure” translated to “strong and harsh punishment.” The torture consisted of laying the prisoner on the ground, naked and with a board placed on top of him or her. The heavy stones are loaded on the board as the weight increases until the person enters a plea or dies. Giles Corey was tortured for three days and died on September 19. 

After Giles Corey’s death, more and more people opposed the trials and those who were guilty ended up being pardoned. The witch trials shocked up a whole colony and now the history lives on in Salem, Massachusetts. Still to this day Salem is known to be one of the most haunted towns in the states. The trials that happened in 1692 still haunts the town and spirits are to be felt all over. So, if you want to experience something spooky for Halloween, put Salem, Mass. down on your list. 

The Witch House of Jonathan Corwin, Corwin who had a big part in the witch trials. The only building that still stands and has strong ties to the 1692 Witch Trials.