What Was Behind the Salem Witch Trials?


The hysteria surrounding the Salem witch trials began in January, 1692. It has been reported that a group of young girls began to show signs of some strange behavior. Physicians who initially examined the girls could find no explanation for the behavior they exhibited. The girls were said to have been exhibiting screaming, cursing and having convulsive seizures. People came to the conclusion that it was the work of the Devil, and that witches were to blame.

Many of the accused were considered outcasts in society, or independent thinking women and nonconformists.   In other words, they didn’t quite fit in with the Puritan society of their time. This is indeed a sad part of American history.

The girls were pressured into saying that some women in the community had been responsible for their behavior. One of these women was a slave named Tibuta, that actually confessed that Satan appeared to her in the form of an animal. She also confessed that other women were involved as well. Martha Corey, a high ranking and respected woman within the Puritan congregation was also accused. According to the girls, she to had been responsible for what happened to them.

Mass hysteria throughout the community reached a fever pitch that June, when a woman named Bridget Bishop, was hanged. The hangings continued through the fall, and the Salem witch trials resulted in the deaths of around 25 people. 19 of these people were hanged on Gallows Hill. Close to 200 people had been falsely accused or put in prison. The last trial was held in May of 1693.

The Salem witch trials are at best a cautionary tail about jumping to conclusions about people who may appear different. It is certainly best to take a step back and take a deep breath before acting.  It was more than 300 years later on Halloween of 2001, that then Governor Jane Swift, of Massachusetts, signed a resolution proclaiming that all the accused were indeed innocent. Better late than never.

The Salem Witch House, and surrounding area is an interesting place to visit at Halloween, or any other time of year.

If you enjoyed this article-Please Like or Share Below!

Filed under: Witches

Like this post? Subscribe to my RSS feed and get loads more!