Saturday, October 30, 2010

SALEM  WITCH  TRIALS


In the month of  February in 1692
 and the month of May in 1693,
the famous Salem Witch Trials was a
series of hearings before local magistrates
 followed by County Court trials to
 prosecute anyone who was accused of
 witchcraft  in Colonial Massachusetts.



 More than 150 people were accused of
 WITCH CRAFT
 and were imprisoned, awaiting their trial !



All twenty-six people who went to trial were
convicted of the capital felony of witchcraft.
Nineteen of those accused,
 14 women and 5 men, were executed.



One man, Giles Corey,
refused to enter a plea of guilt and
was crushed to death under heavy stones
 in an attempt to force him to do so.



Record of Giles Corey's Trial and Convictions



The Death  of  Giles Corey


WARRANT FOR THE ARREST OF
ELIZABETH PROCTOR
AND SARAH CLOYCE


Salem April 4,  1692



There Being Complaint this day made (Before us)
 by capt Jonat Walcott, and Lt Natheniell Ingersull
both of Salem Village, in Behalfe of theire Majesties
 for themselfes and also for severall of their Neighbours
 Against Sarah Cloyce the wife of peter Cloyce
 of Salem Village; and Elizabeth Proctor the wife
of John Proctor of Salem farmes for high Suspition
of Sundry acts of Witchcraft donne or Committed
 by them upon the bodys of Abigail Williams,
and John Indian both of Mr Sam parris his family
of Salem Village and mary Walcott daughter of the
 above said Complainants, And Ann Putnam and
Marcy Lewis of the famyly of Thomas Putnam
of Salem Village whereby great hurt and dammage
 hath beene donne to the Bodys of s'd persons
 above named therefore Craved Justice.


You are therefore in theire Majest's names hereby
required to apprehend and bring before us
 Sarah Cloyce the wife of peter Cloyce of
Salem Village and Elizabeth proctor the wife
of John Procter of Salem farmes; on
Munday Morneing Next being the
 Eleventh day of this Instant Aprill aboute
 Eleven of the Clock, at the publike
 Meeting house in the Towne, in order to
theire Examination Relateing to the premesis
aboves'd and here of you are. not to faile.


To George Herick Marshall
of the County of essex
John Hathorne
Jonathan Corwin Assists



The original letter of
Abigail Williams' written testimony
that was used in the trials as 
 evidence that  accused and condemned  
 George Jacobs of witchcraft!! 




One of the Original Advertisements written 
and published in the Gazette Newspaper
to warn others of the dangers of
witchcraft by listing  names of those 
accused of practicing witchcraft.

The titles of  several published books on
the subject of witchcraft are also mentioned 
as "eyewitness accounts" revealing  the
 signs of certain indications of witchcraft,
examinations, and ways to "proof"
the actions of a practicing witch. 


Another advertisement from a newspaper
printed in Europe in 1782



The Puritan's believed  that most  
most accused "witches" were
unmarried or recently widowed
land-owning women!

According to the law,
 if no legal heir existed upon
 upon the owner's death, title to the
land reverted to the previous owner,
or  to the colony.

This made witch-hunting a possible method
of acquiring a profitable piece of property.


The Home of Rebecca Nurse



The Home of  Bridget  Bishop



Home of Ann Putman
Ann Putman accused Elizabeth Proctor and Sarah Cloyce
 of causing her "great bodily harm" during the Witch Trials


WHY DID THIS TRAVESTY OF INJUSTICE
OCCUR TO SO MANY INNOCENT PEOPLE? 

"Witch Hunts" and  "Witch Trials
had been taking place 
in Europe
for centuries before the Puritans
began their great migration across the
Atlantic Ocean to settle in the New World.

The Puritans were no strangers to
the superstitious folk lore that  fed the
general public with large doses of 
fear and paranoia, suggesting 
that witches were easily angered,
 anti-social "old crones" that would
 not hesitate to cast a myriad of  evil spells
 with the slightest provocation! 

Many believed that just by crossing the
 path of a witch would surely warrant 
 "death and destuction" 
to befall them by sunset!

Many Puritans witnessed many  bizarre
public examinations that provided the
 examiner  with the undeniable proof  he needed
 to charge all who were accused of witchcraft!
  
 

Puritans and Pilgrims arriving in the

New World during the early 1600's.


Ironically, the Puritans fled their
 Mother Country of England for
reasons of  "religious persecution"
 and  came to the New World 
 in an attempt to escape
 the old religious standards of
the Church of England
 to freely embrace the revival
and reformation of their
 New Christian Faith!

 The  Puritan Congregational Movement
 was a  intense group of young revolters

who had no problem in
 showing their disrespect for the 
English Church Hierarchy.
 

The Church Hierarchy became angry 
and began   to greatly opposed the 
 "new reformation" bytrying  to stop
the Puritans from their overzealous
efforts to "purify and reform"

 the Church of England.

And as the historians tell us,
the Puritans came to the New World
where they found the personal freedom
 to choose how they would worship,
how their land would be governed,
and how their strong principals would
influence our governing forefathers,

 more than 200 years ago, to establish a 
solid democracy and  institue law to secure 
the freedom that we enjoy today!   

 And yet,

the questions still remain!

 people, who experienced so much
 persecution and  suffering at the hands
of others more powerful than themselves
 allow their Christian faith...
the same faith that they  fought for,
protected and loved so deeply to twist
 and turn them into the cruel,
fanatical  murderers that they became...
so tragically and permanently
sealed in the pages of time...
a doomed and tarnished society.

  
 How could such a strong community of


The original legal document signed by
William Stroughton and Sam Sewall
that began the Witch Trials of Salem




Why did it occur in Salem?
Nothing about this tragedy was inevitable.
Only an unfortunate combination of an
ongoing frontier war, economic conditions,
 congregational strife, teenage boredom,
 and personal jealousies can account for
the spiraling accusations, trials,
and executions that  occurred in the
spring and summer of 1692.




Most accounts begin with the
 "afflictions of the girls"
 in the Parris household
 in January/February 1692 and  
 end with the last trials in May 1693.


The Parsonage and Home of Reverand Parrish
Where the Accusations of Witchcraft began! 



 The girls screamed, threw things about
the room, uttered strange sounds,
crawled under furniture, and contorted
themselves into peculiar positions.
 




The girls complained of being pinched
and pricked with pins. The doctor, 
William Griggs, could find no
 physical evidence of any ailment.
Other young women in the village
 began to exhibit similar behaviors.



At some point in February 1692,
Mary Sibly, a neighbor,  instructed Tituba,
the household slave, to make a witch cake,
using traditional English white magic to
 discover the identity of the witch who
was afflicting the girls. The cake,
 made from rye meal and urine from
 the afflicted girls, was fed to a dog.



"WITCH CAKE"




By this time, suspicion had already begun
to focus on Tituba, who had been known
to tell the girls tales of omens, voodoo,
and witchcraft from her native folklore.




Her participation in the urine cake
episode made her an even more
obvious scapegoat for the inexplicable.





The first three people
accused and arrested
 were Sarah Good,
Sarah Osborne
 and Tituba.

Sarah Good was homeless
 and known to beg for food
or shelter from neighbors.

Sarah Osborne rarely
attended church meetings.

Tituba, as a slave of a
different ethnicity than
 the Puritans,
was an obvious target
 for accusations.




All of these outcast women fit the
description of the "usual suspects"
for witchcraft accusations,
and no one stood up for them.




Jonathan Corwin and John Hawthorne
scheduled examinations for the
suspected witches on
 March 1, 1692
in Ingersoll's tavern.
 When hundreds showed up,
the examinations
 were moved to the meeting house.
SALEM WITCH HOUSE (1962)






At the examinations, the girls described attacks
by the specters of the three women, and fell
 into their  perfected pattern of contortions
 when in the presence of one of the suspects.



 Other accusations followed in March:
Martha Corey, Dorothy Good,
 and Rebecca Nurse.

   Martha Corey pleading for a 
conviction of innocence for 
   her husband, Giles Corey. 


GILES COREY
ACCUSED AND IN JAIL
AWAITING TRIAL..


Martha Corey,  wife of  Giles  Corey,
 had voiced skepticism about
the credibility of the girls' accusations,
drawing attention to herself.


Rebecca Nurse lead to her trial in chains


The charges against her and Rebecca Nurse
 deeply troubled the community because
Martha Corey and Rebecca Nurse
were members in the Church in Salem Town.





 If such upstanding people
could be witches,
then anybody
could be a witch,
and church membership
was no protection
from accusation.



The magistrates, in the common
 practice of the time,
asked the same questions
 of each suspect
over and over: 
Were they witches?



 One man who was openly critical
of the trials paid for his skepticism
with his life.  John Proctor, openly
denounced the witchhunt and became a
target for accusations of being a witch.


The Home of John Proctor


Proctor fought back, accusing confessed
 witches of lying, complaining of torture, and
demanding that his trial be moved to Boston.
The efforts proved futile. Proctor was hanged.


The Hanging of John Proctor





 His wife Elizabeth, who was also
convicted of witchcraft, was spared
execution because of her pregnancy. 



Bridget Bishop was the first to
be pronounced guilty of witchcraft
and condemned to death.

Soon after Bridget Bishop's trial,
Nathaniel Saltonstall, one of the
 magistrates, resigned from the court,
 dissatisfied with its proceedings.

Bridget Bishop was hanged in Salem,
 the first official execution
of the Salem witch trials.

 

Following her death,
accusations of witchcraft escalated,
 but the trials were not unopposed.
Several townspeople
 signed petitions on behalf
of accused people
 they believed to be innocent.



 
Rebecca Nurse, Susannah Martin,
Sarah Wildes, Sarah Good and
Elizabeth Howe were tried for
 witchcraft, condemned, and executed.

George Jacobs, Sr., Martha Carrier,
 George Burroughs, and John Willard

 were tried for witchcraft, 
condemned, and executed.
Martha Corey, Mary Easty,
Alice Parker, Ann Pudeator,
Dorcas Hoar,and Mary Bradbury
were tried, condemned, and executed.



Margaret Scott, Wilmott Redd,
Samuel Wardwell, Mary Parker,
 Abigail Faulkner, Rebecca Eames,
Mary Lacy, Ann Foster, and Abigail Hobbs
 were tried, condemned, and executed.




Bridget Bishop
"I am no witch.
I am innocent. I know nothing of it."

Rebecca Nurse
  "Oh Lord, help me! It is false.
  I am clear. For my life now lies in your hands...."

Elizabeth Howe
"If it was the last moment I was to live,
God knows I am innocent..."


Susannah Martin
"I have no hand in witchcraft."

Martha Carrier
"...I am wronged.
It is a shameful thing that
 you should mind these folks
 that are out of their wits."


George Jacobs
"Because I am falsely accused....
I am clear of this sin." I never did it."

Mary Easty
"...if it be possible
 no more innocent blood be shed... 

Mary Bradbury
"I do plead not guilty.
I am wholly innocent of such wickedness."




After 20 people had been
executed  in the Salem witch hunt,
Thomas Brattle wrote a letter
 criticizing the witchcraft trials.
       This letter had great impact
 on  Governor Phips,  who
ordered that spectral  
evidence could no
 longer be allowed in trials.


The General Court of the colony
 created the Superior Court to try
the remaining witchcraft cases
which took place in May, 1693.
This time no one was convicted.



By the time that the witchhunt ended,
and the hysteria and insanity began
to subside,more than two hundred
 other people had been arrested and
 imprisoned on witchcraft chrages.

Two dogs were executed as suspected
accomplices of the witches.



The Salem Witch Trials Memorial



O Christian Martyr Who for Truth could die
When all about thee Owned the hideous lie!
The world, redeemed from superstition's sway,
Is breathing freer for thy sake today.

---Words written by
John Greenleaf Whittier
and inscribed on a
 monument marking
 the grave of Rebecca Nurse,
one of the condemned
"Witches" of Salem.


Bridget Bishop


Rebecca Nurse



Martha Corey



Giles Corey



Sarah Good



George Burroughs



George Jacobs



John Proctor



Martha Carrier



Mary Easty



Susannah Martin



Sarah Wildes


2 comments:

The Afflicted Girls said...

Fabulous presentation of the Salem Witch Trials, Dark Rosaleen!

Sugarpie said...

What a fantastic but but horrid story. The poor accused against the deranged townspeople. I can only imagine the talk among them associating normal everyday happenings as witchcraft.
Thanks for the reminder never to make urine cakes! ;)
You have some awesome blogs, I love stopping by.
xx
Celia

I'll just be brokenhearted if I don't hear from you!