logo
g Text Version
Beauty & Self
Books & Music
Career
Computers
Education
Family
Food & Wine
Health & Fitness
Hobbies & Crafts
Home & Garden
Money
News & Politics
Relationships
Religion & Spirituality
Sports
Travel & Culture
TV & Movies

dailyclick
Bored? Games!
Nutrition
Postcards
Take a Quiz
Rate My Photo

new
European Travel
Action Movies
Bible Basics
Houseplants
Romance Movies
Creativity
Family Travel


dailyclick
All times in EST

Full Schedule
g
g Today in History Site

BellaOnline's Today in History Editor

g

Salem Witch Trials Begin (June 2, 1692)

Guest Author - Christa Mackey

“She’s a witch! Burn ‘er!”

“How do you know she’s a witch?”

“She turned me into a newt! … I go’ better…”

Those immortal words from the sketch “Monty Python and the Holy Grail” make us laugh today. But, in June of 1692, those words were almost as damning as pleading guilty to murder. Salem, Massachusetts wanted to prove that the people were not going to tolerate witchcraft of any kind. Between June 2 and October 29, 1692 a total of 25 men and women were hanged on accusations of witchcraft. The trials spawned religious hysteria and challenged a newly forming state to set down laws for self-governing that would prevent situations such as the witch trials in the future.

The quiet, Puritanical town of Salem Village did not know that it would be in for heartache and tragedy. In 1688, Martha Goodwin, age 13, found herself in an argument with a female servant—Goody Glover. Afterwards, Martha began to exhibit bizarre behavior and within a few days, her siblings began with similar behavior. Talks of bewitchment began circulating and, eventually, Good Glover was arrested and hung for witchcraft.

Four years later, in January of 1692, all Hell was literally about to break lose in Salem Village. Elizabeth Parris, daughter of Samuel Parris, the unpopular Salem minister; her cousin, eleven year old Abigail Williams; and, eventually, their friend Ann Putnam, Jr. and two of her friends, began exhibiting behavior similar to the Goodwin children of four years prior. Rev. Parris began preaching about witchcraft from his pulpit. Already an unpopular minister, he had been preaching about conspiracies against him for months. The witchcraft messages did little to help his position.

By March, three more girls began exhibiting similar symptoms as Abigail and Elizabeth—Ann Putnam, Jr. (12), Mercy Lewis (17), and Mary Walcott (17). Rev. Parris had his daughter sent away to heal and recuperate, leaving Abigail and Ann as the youngest accusers during the trial. Ann would testify at all but one of the trials. The whirlwind of March, April, and May saw more people accused and “checked” for what was called a “witch’s teat”—a purple mark somewhere for the person to give suck to the devil.

By June, the hysteria flared and people were out for blood. In 17th-Century New England, witchcraft was a civil felony, punishable by death by hanging. June 2, 1692 started the infamous trials. Bridget Bishop pleaded innocent to the charges of witchcraft, but her pleas meant nothing to the girls accusing her, the judge, nor the jury—she was found guilty and sentenced to hang. She was the first of 25 men and women to be executed in Salem Village for witchcraft.

After the trials ceased, Ann Putnam, Jr. eventually apologized for her part in the trials, admitting to falsely accusing people and begging for the forgiveness of God and friends. Was the trial nothing more than, as Rev. Parris said, a conspiracy? To our eyes in our times, we would think so. There are many records of the actual proceedings, but as to the motives, we are left to speculate.

For more information on the Salem Witch Trials, please visit the following sites:
National Geographic
The Salem Witchcraft Trials
Salem, MA
Add Salem+Witch+Trials+Begin+%28June+2%2C+1692%29 to Twitter Add Salem+Witch+Trials+Begin+%28June+2%2C+1692%29 to Facebook Add Salem+Witch+Trials+Begin+%28June+2%2C+1692%29 to MySpace Add Salem+Witch+Trials+Begin+%28June+2%2C+1692%29 to Del.icio.us Digg Salem+Witch+Trials+Begin+%28June+2%2C+1692%29 Add Salem+Witch+Trials+Begin+%28June+2%2C+1692%29 to Yahoo My Web Add Salem+Witch+Trials+Begin+%28June+2%2C+1692%29 to Google Bookmarks Add Salem+Witch+Trials+Begin+%28June+2%2C+1692%29 to Stumbleupon Add Salem+Witch+Trials+Begin+%28June+2%2C+1692%29 to Reddit




Bloody Valentine's (February 14, 1929)
Rosenberg's Sentenced (April 5, 1951)
Religion & Spirituality Channel
RSS
Related Articles
Editor's Picks Articles
Top Ten Articles
Previous Features
Site Map


For FREE email updates, subscribe to the Today in History Newsletter


Past Issues


print
Printer Friendly
bookmark
Bookmark
tell friend
Tell a Friend
forum
Forum
email
Email Editor


Content copyright © 2014 by Christa Mackey. All rights reserved.
This content was written by Christa Mackey. If you wish to use this content in any manner, you need written permission. Contact Vance R. Rowe for details.

g


g features
Annie Edson Taylor

August Heatwave of 2003

Remembering Lucille Ball

Archives | Site Map

forum
Forum
email
Contact

Past Issues
memberscenter


vote
Poetry
Daily
Weekly
Monthly
Less than Monthly



BellaOnline on Facebook
g


| About BellaOnline | Privacy Policy | Advertising | Become an Editor |
Website copyright © 2014 Minerva WebWorks LLC. All rights reserved.


BellaOnline Editor