Updated: Jul 30, 2021
What will you do if someone detains you without any reason?
How will you react if your neighbors make an allegation that you are a witch?
How will you feel if you got hanged for NO OFFENCE?
The same feeling was observed in a witch trial.
In 1962, sometime during February when there was an exceptional winter, little Betty Parris and Abigail William became strangely ill. They started complaining about fever but that was more than fever!
They began to have fits, violent contortions and uncontrollable screaming. Their overall behavior was ghostly, scary and unnatural. In some ways that were mirrored that of the afflicted person by witchcraft. At that time, talk of witchcraft increased.
Suddenly, other playmates of Betty, including Ann Putnam, Mercy Lewis and Mary Walcott began to exhibit similar unusual behavior. A doctor called to examine girls, suggested that the girls’ might have unnatural problems arisen due to witchcraft.
Here, a tale of the haunted trial began!
At that time, it was believed that witches targeted children made the doctor’s diagnosis true. Meanwhile, one of the neighbors, Mary Sibley, proposed a countermagic. She asked Tituba to bake a cake with the urine of the afflicted victim and feed the same to the black dog. This was the time when suspicion had already begun to focus on Tituba. The act of making cake made her one of the potential victims.
Meanwhile, the number of girls afflicted continued to grow. On February 29, arrest warrants were issued against Tituba and two other women, Sarah Good and Sarah Osborn. Betty and Abigail named their affliction and the witch hunt began. Tituba was a domestic helper, good was a beggar and Osborn was old. During such enquiry, Tituba claimed that she was approached by a tall man from Boston who was appeared to be a satan. He asked Tituba to sign his book and perform whatever was told by him.
With this, Tituba declared that she was a witch. She also maintained that she along with the other two had flown through the air on their poles. In this way, Tituba’s confession succeeded in transforming her from a possible scapegoat to a central figure in the expanding prosecutions.
Suddenly, these witchcraft cases seemed to increase and the Governor Phips created a new court, to hear the witchcraft cases. Five judges were appointed to the Court. As the summer of 1692 warned, the number of trials picked up. The Court started hearing shocking statements, accusations and witnesses from the villagers. Everybody was taken aback. The first accused was Bridget Bishop, subsequently, Rebecca Nurse, Houlton etc. made shocking revelations.
In July, five people were hanged, five people in August and eight in September. In addition to this, seven other accused witches died in jail. Trials continued until early 1693. The time was so difficult that the person who mocked at accusations of witchcraft risked becoming targets of accusations themselves. One victim of the Salem witch hunt was not hanged, but rather pressed under heavy stones until his death. In this way, Salem has witnessed 150 rude deaths of innocent people.
In 1697, the Massachusetts General Court declared a day of fasting for the tragedy of the Salem witch trials; the Court, later declared the trials unlawful and leading justice Samuel Sewall publicly apologized for his role in the process.
This was the most unfortunate trial in the entire history of Courts!
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