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Salem Witch Trials

Page history last edited by SittingBull06 7 years, 10 months ago



     From 1962 to 1963 in colonial Massachusetts, an event known as the Salem Witch Trials occurred. These trials resulted in many people being accused of witchcraft and thrown in jail or hung. One reason behind these trials lies in the strain that was put on Salem's resources when refugees from King Williams' War in 1689 fled to Salem. The addition of these refugees to Salem only increased the frustration of the existing rivalry between families who depended on the land and those who received wealth through the port at Salem. Another reason was the introduction of the first ordained minister of the town, Reverend Samuel Parris, who many did not like because of his greediness. Samuel Parris had a daughter and a niece who essentially began the whole event by claiming that three older women "bewitched" them into doing strange things. While being interrogated, two of the three claimed innocence but the third confessed that the Devil wanted her to serve him. All three of the women were thrown in jail, and soon multiple accusations on different people were made in the months following. As the paranoia of the town increased, many were sentenced and hung. Even though arrests were finally prohibited by the governor in October of 1693, the damage had already been done. As many as 200 people had been accused of witchcraft and thrown in jail and 20 had died. Because more people were accused and executed during the Salem Trials than all previous witchcraft trials in new England, they will always be remembered.





     The Salem Witch Trials that occured in Salem Village, Massachusetts, as well as other nearby towns, were sparked by the outlandish behaviors observed in four little girls. However, the events leading up to the children's strange actions cannot be overlooked. With the Putnams andthe Porters, two different clans, fighting for control over Salem, the village was already in chaos. When Samuel Parris, the new minister, moved into town, things only got worse.

     One of the four girls, Parris's daughter, Betty, began acting strange in February 1692. She constantly complained of pain and fever, and would randomly erupt in screaming fits and seizures. Today, scientists believe these behaviors to have been caused by stress, abuse, or epilepsy, but at the time her actions could not be explained. Rumors spread of the girl being influenced by supernatural forces. When Betty's friends began to exhibit similar behavior, even docors thought it was the result of witchcraft. The village was scared of the devil's presence in these children. The girls were pressured into giving the names of the witches who had bewitched them. When the girls accused Martha Corey, a trusting woman of the congregation, she was put on trial at the Salem Village Meeting House where all the trials were held. When Corey made any movement, even as small as biting her lip, the girls would do the exact same thing. As result of being found guilty of witchcraft, Corey was sent to Salem prison.

     Corey's trial was only one of the many, but after hers, only eight other witches were tried and hung at Gallows Hill. The witches had disappeared in Salem, but the hunt for witches seemed to have just begun. All over America, people continued search for the witches that were infamous for harbouring the devil's spirit.





     The Salem Witch Trials, taking place between June and September of 1692, resulted in the conviction of nineteen men and women and the accusation of hundreds more of witchcraft charges.  The Salem Witch Trials began with the daughter of Minister Samuel Parris, Betty Parris.  Samuel Parris had moved to Salem with his family and their Indian slave, Tituba, when he was invited to be the village minister by a member of one of the two influential families, John Putnam.

     At the time, the Putnam’s and the Porter’s were competing for control of Salem, resulting in tension and suspicion amongst the village people.  The circumstances under which Samuel Parris came to minister in Salem were not viewed kindly by the other village people and only added to the mistrust in Salem.  Parris had only agreed to minister after negotiating for a favorable salary and free firewood in the winter, the latter of which was not available for village people.  Additionally, a frontier war was taking place in the region. 

     Betty Parris became sick in February of 1692.  Her symptoms included hysteria, convulsions, pain, and fever.  The recent publishing of “Memorable Providences”by Cotton Mather, a book on a recent case of witchcraft in Boston, and the diagnosis of supernatural causes by the village doctor led the people to believe witches to be responsible.  Suspicion of witches increased when friends of Betty Parris began to exhibit symptoms similar to hers. 

     The first accused were Tituba, Sarah Good who was a misfit in the community, and Sarah Osborn who had not attended church for over a year.  The whole situation might have ended here if Tituba had not admitted to doing the work of Satan.  Tituba admitted to having been approached by Satan, having worked for him, and having flown on her “pole” with Good and Osborn. 

The guilt of a suspected witch was widely decided by the behavior of the girls they afflicted.  In court, the girls would begin to convulse, fall to the ground, and exhibit other strange behaviors in the presence of a witch.  Other village people would bring forth evidence of the guilt of an accused witch, however much of the evidence was stories, gossip, and supposed sightings.  These accounts were accepted in the courts however and many were sent to jail. 

     Witch hunts continued until autumn when people began to speculate on how many people could suddenly be serving the devil.  The court rulings of witches as guilty were greatly reduced when Governor Phips ordered that spectral evidence would no longer be counted in ruling a witch guilty.  Later, in May of 1693, Governor Phips released all accused and convicted witches from the Salem prisons.

     The Salem Witch Trials came at a time of tension and suspicion when people believed the devil was near due to a frontier war in the region.  Betty Parris and the other afflicted girls were never proven to having been bewitched by a witch.  Some speculate that life in Salem was merely too boring for them and the afflicted girls staged the whole story and the symptoms.   






The Salem Witch trials were considered one of New England's most frightening religious episodes. Young girls became sick in the village of Salem. Doctors couldn't explain the strange sicknesses that young girls were contracting, they claimed the girls were bewitched.  The girls accused Tituba, Sarah Good, and Sarah Osbourn of bewitching them. Tituba confessed to practicing witch craft and exclaimed that there were others practicing also. This set the witch hunt into full motion. Most of the suspects had characteristics in common. When it came to the examinations the sick girls went into their "perfect contortions." They all acted out in almost the exact same way. When all was said and done twenty were lynched, nineteen were hung, and one was pressed to death. There was no factual evidence that the charged were guilty. The colony later on realizing what they had done was wrong, apologized to all the families affected.





Gallows hill where the "witches" were hung:




     In 1962, a group of four girls began to display what was seen as "odd" behavior. They began to convulse, go into trances, and scream out blasphemous things. Their community, clearly concerned, had doctors examine the girls. They were only able to come to one conclusion, and that was witchcraft. The persecution of witches dates back all the way to 560 BC. However, there never had to be any real proof that the accused was performing any sort of witchery. They just had to be acting strangely. One of the girls happened to be the daughter of Rev. Samuel Parris. This enabled the community to put pressure on the girls to reveal who their leader was. They identified and questioned three women. The first two women did not admit to knowing anything about what was happening, but the third woman, Tituba, did. She admitted to having seen the devil in the forms of a hog and a large dog. She also admitted to knowing of a group of witches who had come to Salem.

     This began a long search through the village of Salem to find out who the witches were. Among many others, they accused and convicted Martha Corey, a very involved member of the Puritan church. The people believed that this conviction meant that Satan was showing that he could reach any and every person, no matter what their social ranking or religious belief. Martha was put on trial March 11, 1692. During the trial, it seemed that Martha had a sort of power over the younger girls. Every move that she made, they mimicked. After refusing to admit of any wrong-doing, she was convicted, imprisoned, and hanged.





    As far as thirty years before the Salem Witch Trials began, there have been accusations of people practicing witchcraft. There were cases in Connecticut of people accused for being witches. However, only four were convicted and then executed. In 1956, Ann Hibbins was hung for killing cattle which was considered an evil deed practiced by witches. Unlike the Witch Trials in England, where most of the accused were poor, the Salem Witch Trials convicted many wealthy or people of importance. The "witches" tended to be widows past their forties and the older they were, the higher the risk of conviction. Carl Karlsen believes that the reason such women were convicted readily was because many of them had no sons. Along with being a widow, they had no male heir to inherit their land and so were seen as stalling the colonies' growth. Though the accused were not limited to being women, most of them were.

     In 1693 Governor Phipps received a letter from England stating that the trials need not continue and granted amnesty to people who left to escape persecution. The Salem Witch Trials, from it's beginning (June, 1692) to the last day of executions (September 22, 1962), an estimate of 150 people were jailed for practicing witchcraft, five of which died. Nineteen people and two dogs were executed. On October 17, 1711 victims were given their property and were compensated by the government. Although the government declared the trials over, there were still accusations and tension in Salem for years after.








Salem Witch Trial in a courtroom.                                            This picture portrays the paranoia in the town during the trials.





Salem Villiage Meeting House                                     Betty Parris's examination by Dr. William Griggs                             Joseph Baker's depiction of the Salem Witch Trials

http://www.eyewitnesstohistory.com/salem.htm            http://www.salemwitchmuseum.com/education/index.shtml              http://channel.nationalgeographic.com/photos/salem-witch-trial-lithograph/



 (A girl being accused during a trial.) http://www.smithsonianmag.com/history-archaeology/brief-salem.html

 (Courtroom during a witch trial.) http://www.edutopia.org/salem-witch-trials





The tombstone of one of the first victims of the Salem Witch Trials.




The Salem Witch Trials Memorial in Salem Massachusetts.





Martha Corey's Grave:  http://www.salemweb.com/memorial/images/09225.jpg


Girls Being hanged due to Trials: http://s3.hubimg.com/u/1974130_f520.jpg




     Although my research did not differ from the textbook a great deal, the textbook did leave out certain aspects of the women who were accused in the first place. My research shows that the women who were accused fit the description of a "usual suspect". The three women who were first blamed for the witchcraft were Sarah Good, Sarah Osborn, and Tituba. Sarah Good was a known beggar and therefore was a perfect fit for a suspect. Sarah Osborn, because of her absence from church meetings, also was accused. Tituba was a different ethnicity from the Puritans and so was immediately a target for accusations. The textbook has left out this important detail by saying that they were only "certain older women". In this way the textbook is biased and tries to portray that the accusations were random but they were actually for stereotypical certain reasons.



    The textbook fails to mention the likelihood that the girls staged the whole story for their own amusement.  The symptoms associated with a bewitchment were easy to exhibit.  Additionally, as the trials continued, the stories of the bewitched girls became progressively more polished, almost rehearsed.  In the presence of a “witch”, all the afflicted girls would become frozen or begin to convulse, or, in later cases, be “struck dumb”.  There were never any witch trials in which there was clear evidence that pointed to the accused being a witch.  Most evidence consisted of stories, gossip, “sightings”, and spectral evidence.  After spectral evidence was to be ignored in the trials, no “witch” was ever convicted of being guilty again.      



          The textbook is certainly very vague. It leaves out information about what was happening before the trials, as well as details about the accusations. With the beginning line, "Women also played aprominent role..." the textbook fails to indicate that men were also accused of being witches. "Individuals" and "certain older women" are the terms used to describe the witches. The textbook was kind enough to mention that dogs were hung along with women, but it never acknowledges if men were or were not included in the hangings or trials.

     After introducing the Salem Witch Trials, The American Pageant reminds us that the "witch hunting" in Europe was much worse in size and outcome. Is this supposed to make us feel good about our country? Don't worry, someone else is more inferior than we are. From a young age, we are taught that we are not supposed to put others down in order to build ourselves up, but it seems that is just what our textbooks have done here.

     After my research, I also noticed that the textbook forgets the smaller, less important to society, people. The textbook adds that once th governor's wife was accused of being a witch, he and "the more responsible members of the clergy" ended the trials. It does not note the middle class families whose loved ones were accused of witchcraft. It hardly even mentions the group of girls that started all of the trials. Like johnmarshall06 said, the girls could have just been pretending they were bewitched. No symptoms are named, and unlike some articles on the internet, there is not even a hint of doubt that the witches were truely witches until the governor, a figure of authority that apparently could never have anything to do with a witch, was involved.



     As sylviaplath06 mentioned, The American Pageant includes a few lines about the persecutions in Europe. The book then proceeds to state "But the reign of horror in Salem grew not only from the superstitions and prejudices of the age but also from the unsettled social and religious conditions", comparing the Salem Witch Hunt to those in Europe. After researching the witch hunts that occurred in Europe, they were not dissimilar to the witch hunt in Salem. For example, during the late 15th and early 16th centuries in Germany, witch hunts were related to the Counter-Reformation. Germany being occupied by both Catholics and Protestants, each group accused women of the other of being tainted by Satan. To paraphrase Mark Twain's Europe and Elsewhere: "The Catholics and Protestants, as instructed by the Bible, took to killing those they considered witches. They carried out the tasks and tortured and killed thousands. In the end, both sides realized there were no such thing as witches and all that resulted were the deaths of innocent lives."

     The textbook leads the readers to believe that the Salem Witch Hunt was considerably worse than the ones that occurred in Europe in terms of the accused or the reasons driving it when, in fact, most witch hunts were driven by similar motives. If anything, the European witch hunts, such as the one in Germany, took a greater toll on the people and their lifestyle.




     In Lies My Teacher Told Me it states that textbooks leave out the critical details of major events and provide meaningless facts. In the textbook it only provides about three paragraphs of the actual happenenings of the Salem witch trials and even in those three paragraphs it doesn't provide alot of information to base a summary on. The text doesn't even provide names of any or the accused or details into the trials or where they were hung. So the textbook gives a general and vague layover of what happened, but doesn't provide enough information to have a knowledgeable inisght to the subject.



     In Lies My Teacher Told Me, Loewen perfectly describes the arrangement of The American Pageant. In this book, the Salem Witch Trial is very briefly described. However, the Salem Witch Trials is a very well known occurrence. There aren't very many facts presented to us, it's more of a vague explanation. After learning more about the trials, it seems that they are very underplayed and are under-represented by being mainly in one paragraph of the entire book. When compared to the executions of witches that happened throughout the course of history, the trials in Salem are made out to be the most horrific occurrence of this kind. Even though it was a very bad thing that happened, the book makes the killing of 20 people seem more immense than the genocide of thousands of people. Another thing that this textbook leaves out is details that make the story more interesting. If they wanted to make the story seem so important, they should have provided more facts. The fact that they make this trial out to be worse than the hundred of years of witch hunting makes it seem that they should have put more effort into telling why. If students wanted to know why this was such a horrible thing, they would have to do outside research. Textbooks are meant to be there to provide you with all the information you need in a clean format.




Critical Thinking


     When reading Lies My Teacher Told Me it made me realize how much textbooks can "hide" information from you by being biased about certain subjects or people. Although they are right about most things, they often try to show only the good things about certain people in history and therefore do not give the whole story. This has essentially changed how I will read a textbook from now on. It has also showed me how vital it is to always get a second opinion on subjects when you are researching them



     Lies My Teacher Told Me has opened my eyes about not only textbooks, but all resources. Authors can leave out as much information as they want, and still be technically telling the truth. In order to get the entire picture, you have to do research beyond the textbook to fully understand the topic. Good or bad, history needs to be told in full. Understanding the not-so-glorious past will help to create a better future, in that hopefully mistakes in history will not be repeated.



     Heroification, being one of the themes in  Lies My Teacher Told Me, was quite prominent in the textbook. "The witchcraft hysteria eventually ended in 1693, when the governor, alarmed by an accusation against his own wife....pardoned those already convicted." The textbook fails to clearly point out that one of the main reasons Governor Phips decided to put an end to the witch hunt was because his wife was accused. The other reason he had ceased the trials was because the Monarch in England had sent a letter stating that the trials were unnecessary. The textbook eluded these facts, leaving the reader to reason that the Governor and the clergy ended the witch hunt of their own accord. 

     Lies My Teacher Told Me opened my eyes to how vague and misleading textbooks can be. Its hard to be an educated informed student when the books dont display the cold hard facts. I couldn't base my overview off of information only in the textbook. Research has to be done more in depth to have a better understanding.



     Lies My Teacher Told Me really opened my eyes to a lot of things. I never really realized that there was so much more beyond the textbook. Since that's what we're learned and told, you never really seem to question it. Scholars these days only want to give students the "pretty picture," not the truth about how we came to be what we are today. They want it to be sugar coated. I think that knowing not only the good about history, but the horrific as well will truly help students understand and find more interest in where we came from.

Comments (32)

RichardNixon16 said

at 5:14 pm on Aug 16, 2012

Do you believe that the accused witches were faking it? I mean, were they conspiring together, acting crazy in court, deliberately contorting their bodies just to get attention? Did they suffer from hysteria, or from some other psychiatric condition? Is it possible that everyone who was convicted was innocent of the "charges?" Were the innocent ones thrown into this situation condemned along with the guilty?

JohnMarshall06 said

at 6:36 pm on Aug 18, 2012

I do believe that the afflicted girls were faking. As the trials continued, the behavior of the girls become more and more rehearsed. In the presence of a "witch", they all acted the same way at the same time. There is no evidence of anything that would cause hysteria among the girls, which leads one to believe they wanted attention. There is no clear evidence that any of the accused were guilty of being a witch, so it's quite likely they were all innocent.

MargaretSanger02 said

at 3:37 pm on Aug 24, 2012

johnmarshall06 I really liked your analysis and how you mentioned the possibility of the girls merely faking the whole thing. I can't believe the textbook does not even mention the notion. Strange because when I did a research project on the Salem Witch Trials there was an overwhelming amount of sources which brought up the idea of the afflicted girls faking. Wow... I supposed the textbook really does choose to purposely leave some things out. I wonder why they would choose to leave this out?...

LucretiaMott12 said

at 11:32 am on Aug 20, 2012

(lucretiamott12) How did decide that a woman was a witch?200 hundred women being accused is a lot of women. Did some confess to it? We're the witches follow worshipping te devil or said to be casting spells? I don't believe that they were a actually cursing people, so how did they tell that people were telling the truth?

JeannetteRankin06 said

at 1:19 pm on Aug 20, 2012

There were many reasons why people may have been thought of as a witch. Anything from killing cattle to eccentric behavior. I believe that, because of the mass hysteria, every little thing could get someone accused.

SylviaPlath06 said

at 12:34 pm on Aug 23, 2012

Many of the men and women that were said to be witches were accused. Their accusers pointed out traits like seizures (possibly caused by epilepsy), strange habits (possibly caused by OCD), the elderly, people that muttered to themselves, people of different skin colors, and many other things. Some of the accused were said to have "cast" the devil into vulnerable, such as children. They did not cast spells, but the accused witches were said to have performed unspeakable things, such as making ghosts appear. The governor at the time, William Phipps, created a special court that listened and decided the witch's fate according to the testimonies by the accusers. It pretty much assured that the witch would be found guilty, even if the accusers were simply making something up. so to answer your question, "how did they tell that people were telling the truth," they didn't. The judges simply took other people's word for it.
The link below has some helpful videos if my explanations do not include the answers you were looking for.

AndrewMellon04 said

at 12:17 am on Sep 3, 2012

Yes, some did confess, but they had good reason. Those who confessed had to declare their allegiance to God and recant their allegiance to Satan ( there was a small religious ceremony for this, I believe) but those who denied being witches would just be executed, since their denial just proves their guilt. The only way to get out of being an accused is to either confess or start accusing. The book also doesn't mention that many of the girls who later on began accusing other "witches" were accused themselves; that may lead us to conclude that they might be accusing out of self-preservation. That is why I believe so many confessed or went along with the whole charade. If you called the preacher's daughter a liar, odds are, you will be crucified next (metaphorically). Does this answer yours and WilliamPrescott15's question? Also, Tituba was an actual slave of the preacher, and one source said that she was beaten regularly by him. I would not be surprised if it was easy for her to just lie and confess considering her denial might just earn her additional punishment outside the courtroom...

MarilynMonroe09 said

at 2:29 pm on Aug 20, 2012

The information on this page is really neat. I also really like the visuals you all have.

JPierpontMorgan10 said

at 12:22 pm on Aug 21, 2012

I find it interesting that numerous women were accused of witchcraft, something that now, would be considered a ridiculous assumption. I find this topic and the information given very interesting. The past is so much different than the present.

RalphNader13 said

at 11:26 pm on Aug 21, 2012

I liked how Rosa Parks said that it seems that " they often try to show only the good things about certain people in history and therefore do not give the whole story" because I also believe that is very true. However, I believe this happens because of the customers for the textbooks tend to control what the textbooks says, I think if you learn about one event from several different cultures you will receive many different stories. Simply because people want to remember 'their people' as being the good guys. I think the textbook is published by the biased people to teach the biased people. And rarely will you ever find a piece of history straight from the source with no opinions affecting it.

NelsonMandela03 said

at 8:51 am on Aug 22, 2012

I find it interesting how no matter who the person was, they would throw them in jail if they were accused of witchcraft. Even if they were innocent, no one bothered to do anything about it. How could you tell if they were serious or not whenever someone reacted to being in the presence of a so called, witch? Maybe they were just pretending so the accused would be punished.

Pocahontas07 said

at 4:42 pm on Aug 22, 2012

First Rosaparks06 the Salem Witch Trials did not occur in 1962-63, although Arthur Miller's famous play "The Crucible" premiered 10 years earlier and a opera version was on Broadway at the time. And second in your analysis you state that Tituba was targeted because of her race being different than the Puritans, and that state that the accusations were described as random but actually completely stereotypical. I fully agree with you that those targeted were not random what so ever and those plagued as different were targeted. Which throughout history are commonly used as scapegoats in trials. I'm not exactly positive that is what you were aiming for, but it is my opinion. Do you agree? Or anyone else for that option?

SylviaPlath06 said

at 1:28 pm on Aug 23, 2012

Some of the accusations were indeed stereotypical. They can not, however be generalized to a certain race, gender, or age. Tituba was one of the first to be accused, and at that time, most of the people that were said to be witches were indeed outliers. Tituba was of a different race, a woman named Sarah Good was poor and was forced to go around begging, another woman named Sarah Osborne was very ill and was unable to go to church like everyone else. These women were picked out of society for being different. As the trials went on and more trials were held, they started to drift to the center of "normal" society. Men and women were both accused. Regular church goers were accused. The ages ranged from around 40 to 80 years old. All economic classes of society were accused. Anyone could be a witch, it seemed. This, i believe, is why so many records state that the accusations were said to be random.

AnneSexton14 said

at 9:08 pm on Aug 24, 2012

I have to disagree with RosaParks06's analysis. The textbook clearly states that most of the accused witches came from families involved with Salem's prospering economy; their accusers were mostly of subsistence farming families. Puritans were fearful that Yankee commercialism would take over, so they used these "witches" as scapegoats to blame for society's problems and dwindling, traditional culture. The book explains that this showed how New England's social classes had become more distinct. I don't believe the textbook made it seem that the selection was random at all.

JacksonPollock11 said

at 12:17 pm on Aug 25, 2012

I think it's wrong how they went after and accused only certain kinda of woman. Don't you think it's kind of sexist in a way how they only went after particularly women and not men too? I also agree with sylviaplath06's analysis, seems like you put a lot of thought into it, good job!

SylviaPlath06 said

at 7:17 pm on Aug 26, 2012

First of all, thank you! That means a lot! Secondly, contrary to some beliefs, women were not the only ones targeted. Men, although their stories don't seem to be as popular, we're often accused as well.

WilliamPrescott15 said

at 2:18 pm on Aug 25, 2012

So there was one thing I just didn't get: Why would Tituba confess if she obviously didn't do it? I agree that it was sexest, but that was just part of the time period. I feel so bad for Tituba, Sarah Good, and Sarah Osborne. These women were picked out of the town to be condemed because they were different. And Betty Paris and her friends are just cruel if they really did just make the whole thing up for entertainment, like johnmarshall06 said.

WilliamMcKinley01 said

at 5:58 pm on Aug 25, 2012

I think it is very interesting to read all of the different stories of how the witch trials got their starts and the beginning of this crazy phenomenon that occurred. Nowadays, the closest thing that occurs that is anywhere close to this would be excorcisms but we still barely even hear about that. The thing that I find strange is that they took they took the accusations to the extremity and seriousness that they did especially with the fact that so many even the innocent were accused and killed. In addition, this is weird without even going into the facts that the people who were accused and tried were stereotyped and were women as well.

WilliamPenn12 said

at 9:34 pm on Aug 25, 2012

I like how you all covered completely different stories about the trials and seemed to cover every aspect of this part in history. It was really interesting how everyone was so suspicious of the young girls that were just sick. I feel like an expert on the Salem Witch Trials after reading your posts!

MatthewPerry15 said

at 2:21 pm on Aug 26, 2012

In each person's analysis, I can gather that the information given is consistent. The Salem Witch Trials seem to have an underlying theme based on what is said by each interpretation of the story. These trials showed that in time of struggle blame was placed on the suspicion and accusations of "witchcraft" rather than on the people themselves. When one bad event occurred for any person, they more than likely blamed it on one another because of other previous conflicts. However, I do believe there could have been practices of witchcraft taking place in the town of Salem. My point is even though witchcraft could have occurred, I do not believe it was the reason for the strange events. In modern day, if the same events happened then the causes would more than likely refer back to scientific reasons rather than superstitions.

FranklinPierce03 said

at 7:10 pm on Aug 26, 2012

I find it very disturbing that an entire community allowed a few teenage girls to create this kind of hysteria in a supposedly religiously based community. They used the girls' accusations as the perfect excuse to further their own interests and persecute anyone who stood in their way.

AndrewMellon04 said

at 12:21 am on Sep 3, 2012

Or how an entire nation can succumb to propaganda, nationalism, and misinformation, and embrace the Nazi movement? I think this is just a small-scale, yet horrifying example of the dark side of human nature, since the same basic idea of an "insert group of people here"-hunt is repeated consistently throughout history.

NormanMailer02 said

at 10:19 pm on Aug 26, 2012

While I was reading the overviews, I came to the conclusion that these people who were tried were either sick or just different than everyone else. In this time peroid, if you didn't act or do the same things that the rest of settlers did, they would being to question you. which in this case they were. I think this group did a very good job.

WilliamRehnquist10 said

at 5:01 pm on Aug 30, 2012

I find it interesting how textbooks failed to explain and go in depth as to what started the Salem Witch Trials. The 4 girls were basically the origin. Learning that their symptoms could've been easily been a form of medical condition or form of fraud, I somewhat deny any spiritual aspect to the case. In that being said, it's disturbing how the Salem Witch Trials was started over the overlooked children. The group did a nice job of combining information and nothing sounded repetative, just more in depth.

LeeHarveyOswald03 said

at 10:18 pm on Aug 30, 2012

It amazes me that even though Europe's witch hunts were more devastating, the Salem witch trials receive more hype. Perhaps they only collect the extra attention in our country. If that is the case, I must say I'm discusted that our country would try to over emphasize this horrible event just because it happened here. Also, the fact that the book neglects to mention other events surrounding Governor Phips decision to end the trials is a blantant example of herofication. Textbook authors really are like politicians, only presenting the information they feel will serve their purpose. Well anyways, great job on this page. It was very well researched and a pleasure to read!

AMitchellPalmer05 said

at 4:41 pm on Aug 31, 2012

This was very well written and i learned lots about the Witch hunts. just one thing nags me a bit, why did the first four "bewitched" girls (if they were faking) choose those three women to be the witches? Why not someone else?

MauriceSendak01 said

at 9:30 pm on Sep 1, 2012

Each person's summary is radically different than the rest, with different numbers of people accused of witchcraft, and different people being the first accused, and even with some of them saying 1962 instead of 1692! (although that is likely just a typo).
I think this speaks to how well this event was documented, but also to how un-concrete history is while every source proclaims their story with absolute certainty.

GeorgeMarshall07 said

at 9:42 pm on Sep 2, 2012

I was very disappointed with the textbook’s information on this subject, it was inadequate. I really enjoyed this page and reading and learning more about the trials and the people involved. I thought the pictures went well with the information and thank you for putting captions! Johnmarshall06 your right about the evidence never being clear and that most of it being gossip. It was much easier for the colonists to blame someone or something for things that they did not understand. Such an interesting history has made me want to go there. Some even say it’s hunted. Just ask the Ghost Adventure crew they “think” it is.

HoraceMann04 said

at 7:46 am on Sep 3, 2012

It is very interesting how people used the Salem Witch trials to get rid of people they didn't like, like rivals or people they are jealous of.

WilliamMarbury05 said

at 4:40 pm on Sep 3, 2012

It really surprises me how quickly these people let the situation get out of hand. The symptoms those girls showed could have been some sort of epilipsy like your page suggested or maybe another behavioral disorder or even just faking it altogether. It's sickening how the people so quickly accused their neighbors just because they didn't exactly fit in with the rest of the community. I see it as an act of genocide to an extent. This whole thing could have been avoided with a little more though and investigation rather than radical acts of rage and misunderstanding.

JohnRockefeller15 said

at 6:28 pm on Sep 3, 2012

I agree with MatthewPerry and I found it very interesting that you brought up it is nearly a genocide to a certain extent. It wasn't targeting a certain race or religion but was based on unusual accusations that couldn't be proved. They didn't use scientific knowledge but just assumed something which was wrong all along.

BuzzAldrin12 said

at 7:50 pm on Sep 3, 2012

It's amazing how serious the people took the accusations of the "witches". There wasn't any organization through any of this, and the accused women had no way to prove that they weren't actually a "witch". I am surprised nobody spoke up, and explained all of this was very judgmental and a lie. I enjoyed reading Rosa Parks overview because she gave vital information that I didn't know about the witch trials. It is shocking to learn how huge this problem was and how often it occurred, but it was probably the only interesting thing happening at the time. This page was very informative, and I learned a lot of history about the Salem With Trials after reading this page.

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