On September 19, , Giles Corey refused to plead at arraignment, and was killed by peine forte et dure , a form of torture in which the subject is pressed beneath an increasingly heavy load of stones, in an attempt to make him enter a plea. Four pleaded guilty and 11 others were tried and found guilty. On September 20, Cotton Mather wrote to Stephen Sewall: "That I may be the more capable to assist in lifting up a standard against the infernal enemy", requesting "a narrative of the evidence given in at the trials of half a dozen, or if you please, a dozen, of the principal witches that have been condemned.
Noyes turning him to the Bodies, said, what a sad thing it is to see Eight Firebrands of Hell hanging there. Dorcas Hoar was given a temporary reprieve, with the support of several ministers, to make a confession of being a witch. Mary Bradbury aged 77 managed to escape with the help of family and friends.
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Abigail Faulkner, Sr. Mather quickly completed his account of the trials, Wonders of the Invisible World  and it was given to Phips when he returned from the fighting in Maine in early October. Burr says both Phips' letter and Mather's manuscript "must have gone to London by the same ship" in mid-October.
I hereby declare that as soon as I came from fighting After Phips' order, there were no more executions. All were found not guilty. Grand juries were held for many of those remaining in jail. Charges were dismissed against many, but 16 more people were indicted and tried, three of whom were found guilty: Elizabeth Johnson Jr. When Stoughton wrote the warrants for the execution of these three and others remaining from the previous court, Governor Phips issued pardons, sparing their lives.
All were found not guilty but were not released until they paid their jail fees. Lydia Dustin died in jail on March 10, John Alden by proclamation. It heard charges against a servant girl, Mary Watkins, for falsely accusing her mistress of witchcraft. They dismissed charges against all but five people. After someone concluded that a loss, illness, or death had been caused by witchcraft, the accuser entered a complaint against the alleged witch with the local magistrates. If the magistrates at this local level were satisfied that the complaint was well-founded, the prisoner was handed over to be dealt with by a superior court.
In , the magistrates opted to wait for the arrival of the new charter and governor, who would establish a Court of Oyer and Terminer to handle these cases. The next step, at the superior court level, was to summon witnesses before a grand jury. A person could be indicted on charges of afflicting with witchcraft,  or for making an unlawful covenant with the Devil. Several others, including Elizabeth Bassett Proctor and Abigail Faulkner, were convicted but given temporary reprieves because they were pregnant.
Five other women were convicted in , but the death sentence was never carried out: Mary Bradbury in absentia , Ann Foster who later died in prison , Mary Lacey Sr.
Foster's daughter , Dorcas Hoar and Abigail Hobbs. Giles Corey , an year-old farmer from the southeast end of Salem called Salem Farms , refused to enter a plea when he came to trial in September. The judges applied an archaic form of punishment called peine forte et dure, in which stones were piled on his chest until he could no longer breathe. After two days of peine fort et dure, Corey died without entering a plea. As convicted witches, Rebecca Nurse and Martha Corey had been excommunicated from their churches and denied proper burials.
As soon as the bodies of the accused were cut down from the trees, they were thrown into a shallow grave, and the crowd dispersed. Oral history claims that the families of the dead reclaimed their bodies after dark and buried them in unmarked graves on family property. The record books of the time do not note the deaths of any of those executed. Much, but not all, of the evidence used against the accused, was spectral evidence , or the testimony of the afflicted who claimed to see the apparition or the shape of the person who was allegedly afflicting them.
Opponents claimed that the Devil was able to use anyone's shape to afflict people, but the Court contended that the Devil could not use a person's shape without that person's permission; therefore, when the afflicted claimed to see the apparition of a specific person, that was accepted as evidence that the accused had been complicit with the Devil. Cotton Mather's The Wonders of the Invisible World was written with the purpose to show how careful the court was in managing the trials. Unfortunately the work did not get released until after the trials had already ended.
Increase Mather and other ministers sent a letter to the Court, "The Return of Several Ministers Consulted", urging the magistrates not to convict on spectral evidence alone.
Context & Origins of the Salem Witch Trials
A copy of this letter was printed in Increase Mather 's Cases of Conscience , published in The publication A Tryal of Witches , related to the Bury St Edmunds witch trial , was used by the magistrates at Salem when looking for a precedent in allowing spectral evidence. Since the jurist Sir Matthew Hale had permitted this evidence, supported by the eminent philosopher, physician and author Thomas Browne , to be used in the Bury St Edmunds witch trial and the accusations against two Lowestoft women, the colonial magistrates also accepted its validity and their trials proceeded.
Sometime in February , likely after the afflictions began but before specific names were mentioned, a neighbor of Rev. She intended to use 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. According to English folk understanding of how witches accomplished affliction when the dog ate the cake, the witch herself would be hurt.
Invisible particles she had sent to afflict the girls were believed to remain in the girls' urine, and a woman's cries of pain when the dog ate the cake would identify her as the witch. This superstition was based on the Cartesian "Doctrine of Effluvia", which posited that witches afflicted others by the use of "venomous and malignant particles, that were ejected from the eye", according to the October 8, letter of Thomas Brattle , a contemporary critic of the trials.
According to the Records of the Salem-Village Church , Parris spoke with Sibly or Sibley privately on March 25, , about her "grand error" and accepted her "sorrowful confession. Other instances appear in the records of the episode that demonstrated a continued belief by members of the community in this effluvia as legitimate evidence.
Two statements against Elizabeth Howe included accounts of people suggesting that an ear be cut off and burned from two different animals which Howe was thought to have afflicted, to prove she was the one who had bewitched them to death. Traditionally, the allegedly afflicted girls are said to have been entertained by Parris' slave, Tituba. She supposedly taught them about voodoo in the parsonage kitchen in early , although there is no contemporary evidence to support this.
Upham in the 19th century, typically relate that a circle of the girls, with Tituba's help, tried their hands at fortune telling. They used the white of an egg and a mirror to create a primitive crystal ball to divine the professions of their future spouses and scared one another when one supposedly saw the shape of a coffin instead. The story is drawn from John Hale 's book about the trials,  but in his account, only one of the girls, not a group of them, had confessed to him afterward that she had once tried this.
Hale did not mention Tituba as having any part of it, nor did he identify when the incident took place. But the record of Tituba's pre-trial examination holds her giving an energetic confession, speaking before the court of "creatures who inhabit the invisible world," and "the dark rituals which bind them together in service of Satan", implicating both Good and Osborne while asserting that "many other people in the colony were engaged in the devil's conspiracy against the Bay.
Tituba's race has often been described in later accounts as of Carib-Indian or African descent, but contemporary sources describe her only as an "Indian". Research by Elaine Breslaw has suggested that Tituba may have been captured in what is now Venezuela and brought to Barbados , and so may have been an Arawak Indian. Thomas Hutchinson writing his history of the Massachusetts Bay Colony in the 18th century, describe her as a "Spanish Indian.
The most infamous application of the belief in effluvia was the touch test used in Andover during preliminary examinations in September Parris had explicitly warned his congregation against such examinations. If the accused witch touched the victim while the victim was having a fit, and the fit stopped, observers believed that meant the accused was the person who had afflicted the victim.
As several of those accused later recounted,. Some led us and laid our hands upon them, and then they said they were well and that we were guilty of afflicting them; whereupon we were all seized, as prisoners, by a warrant from the justice of the peace and forthwith carried to Salem. The Rev. John Hale explained how this supposedly worked: "the Witch by the cast of her eye sends forth a Malefick Venome into the Bewitched to cast him into a fit, and therefore the touch of the hand doth by sympathy cause that venome to return into the Body of the Witch again".
Other evidence included the confessions of the accused; testimony by a confessed witch who identified others as witches; the discovery of poppits poppets , books of palmistry and horoscopes, or pots of ointments in the possession or home of the accused; and observation of what were called witch's teats on the body of the accused.
A witch's teat was said to be a mole or blemish somewhere on the body that was insensitive to touch; discovery of such insensitive areas was considered de facto evidence of witchcraft. Various accounts and opinions about the proceedings began to be published in William Milbourne, a Baptist minister in Boston, publicly petitioned the General Assembly in early June , challenging the use of spectral evidence by the Court.
On June 15, , twelve local ministers—including Increase Mather and Samuel Willard —submitted The Return of several Ministers to the Governor and Council in Boston, cautioning the authorities not to rely entirely on the use of spectral evidence:.
Salem witch trials - Wikipedia
Presumptions whereupon persons may be Committed, and much more, Convictions whereupon persons may be Condemned as Guilty of Witchcrafts, ought certainly to be more considerable, than barely the Accused Persons being Represented by a Spectre unto the Afflicted. In it, two characters, S Salem and B Boston , discuss the way the proceedings were being conducted, with "B" urging caution about the use of testimony from the afflicted and the confessors, stating, "whatever comes from them is to be suspected; and it is dangerous using or crediting them too far".
Sometime in September , at the request of Governor Phips, Cotton Mather wrote Wonders of the Invisible World: Being an Account of the Tryals of Several Witches, Lately Executed in New-England , as a defense of the trials, to "help very much flatten that fury which we now so much turn upon one another". The book included accounts of five trials, with much of the material copied directly from the court records, which were supplied to Mather by Stephen Sewall, his friend and Clerk of the Court.
The title page mistakenly lists the publication year as "". In it, Increase Mather repeated his caution about the reliance on spectral evidence, stating " It were better that Ten Suspected Witches should escape, than that one Innocent Person should be Condemned ". Although the last trial was held in May , public response to the events continued. In the decades following the trials, survivors and family members and their supporters sought to establish the innocence of the individuals who were convicted and to gain compensation.
In the following centuries, the descendants of those unjustly accused and condemned have sought to honor their memories. Events in Salem and Danvers in were used to commemorate the trials. In November , years after the celebration of the th anniversary of the trials, the Massachusetts legislature passed an act exonerating all who had been convicted and naming each of the innocent. The first indication that public calls for justice were not over occurred in when Thomas Maule , a noted Quaker, publicly criticized the handling of the trials by the Puritan leaders in Chapter 29 of his book Truth Held Forth and Maintained , expanding on Increase Mather by stating, "it were better that one hundred Witches should live, than that one person be put to death for a witch, which is not a Witch".
On December 17, , the General Court ruled that there would be a fast day on January 14, , "referring to the late Tragedy, raised among us by Satan and his Instruments. From —97, Robert Calef , a "weaver" and a cloth merchant in Boston, collected correspondence, court records and petitions, and other accounts of the trials, and placed them, for contrast, alongside portions of Cotton Mather's Wonders of the Invisible World , under the title More Wonders of the Invisible World , .
Calef could not get it published in Boston and he had to take it to London, where it was published in Scholars of the trials—Hutchinson, Upham, Burr, and even Poole—have relied on Calef's compilation of documents. John Hale, a minister in Beverly who was present at many of the proceedings, had completed his book, A Modest Enquiry into the Nature of Witchcraft in , which was not published until , after his death, and perhaps in response to Calef's book. Expressing regret over the actions taken, Hale admitted, "Such was the darkness of that day, the tortures and lamentations of the afflicted, and the power of former presidents, that we walked in the clouds, and could not see our way.
Various petitions were filed between and with the Massachusetts government, demanding that the convictions be formally reversed. Those tried and found guilty were considered dead in the eyes of the law, and with convictions still on the books, those not executed were vulnerable to further accusations.
The General Court initially reversed the attainder only for those who had filed petitions,  only three people who had been convicted but not executed: Abigail Faulkner Sr. In May , twenty-two people who had been convicted of witchcraft, or whose relatives had been convicted of witchcraft, presented the government with a petition in which they demanded both a reversal of attainder and compensation for financial losses.
Repentance was evident within the Salem Village church.
Joseph Green and the members of the church voted on February 14, , after nearly two months of consideration, to reverse the excommunication of Martha Corey. She claimed that she had not acted out of malice, but had been deluded by Satan into denouncing innocent people, mentioning Rebecca Nurse , in particular,  and was accepted for full membership.
On October 17, , the General Court passed a bill reversing the judgment against the twenty-two people listed in the petition there were seven additional people who had been convicted but had not signed the petition, but there was no reversal of attainder for them. Two months later, on December 17, , Governor Joseph Dudley authorized monetary compensation to the twenty-two people in the petition.
Rebecca Nurse's descendants erected an obelisk-shaped granite memorial in her memory in on the grounds of the Nurse Homestead in Danvers, with an inscription from John Greenleaf Whittier. In , an additional monument was erected in honor of forty neighbors who signed a petition in support of Nurse. Not all the condemned had been exonerated in the early 18th century. In , descendants of the six people who had been wrongly convicted and executed but who had not been included in the bill for a reversal of attainder in , or added to it in , demanded that the General Court formally clear the names of their ancestral family members.
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An act was passed pronouncing the innocence of those accused, although it listed only Ann Pudeator by name. The th anniversary of the trials was marked in in Salem and Danvers by a variety of events. A memorial park was dedicated in Salem which included stone slab benches inserted in the stone wall of the park for each of those executed in In , The Danvers Tercentennial Committee also persuaded the Massachusetts House of Representatives to issue a resolution honoring those who had died.
After extensive efforts by Paula Keene, a Salem schoolteacher, state representatives J. Michael Ruane and Paul Tirone , along with others, issued a bill whereby the names of all those not previously listed were to be added to this resolution. When it was finally signed on October 31, , by Governor Jane Swift , more than years later, all were finally proclaimed innocent. In January , the University of Virginia announced its project team had determined the execution site on Gallows Hill in Salem, where nineteen "witches" had been hanged in public.
The city owns the property and plans to install a memorial there to the innocent victims. A documentary, Gallows Hill — Nineteen, is in production about these events. The story of the witchcraft accusations, trials and executions has captured the imagination of writers and artists in the centuries since the event took place. As the trials took place at the intersection between a gradually disappearing medieval past and an emerging enlightenment, and dealt with torture and confession, some interpretations draw attention to the boundaries between the medieval and the post-medieval as cultural constructions.
The cause of the symptoms of those who claimed affliction continues to be a subject of interest. Various medical and psychological explanations for the observed symptoms have been explored by researchers, including psychological hysteria in response to Indian attacks, convulsive ergotism caused by eating rye bread made from grain infected by the fungus Claviceps purpurea a natural substance from which LSD is derived ,  an epidemic of bird-borne encephalitis lethargica , and sleep paralysis to explain the nocturnal attacks alleged by some of the accusers.
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. For the minor league baseball team, see Salem Witches baseball. For the lawsuit, see Salem witchcraft trial Crucial themes. Troubles at Frankfurt. Notable individuals. Continuing movements. Congregational churches U. Further information: Protests against early modern witch trials. See also: History of the Puritans in North America. Main article: Timeline of the Salem witch trials.
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Main article: Cultural depictions of the Salem witch trials. Main article: Medical and psychological explanations of bewitchment. Narratives of the Witchcraft Cases, — Scribner's Sons. The New York Times. The Boston Globe. The Puritan Tradition in America.
Spanish Witch Hunts
UP of New England. To which is added, the relation of the fam'd disturbance by the drummer, in the house of Mr. Mortlock, , pp. McCormick , p. University of Virginia. Puritanism: A Very Short Introduction. Oxford University Press. The New England Quarterly. Bremer and Tom Webster, eds. New York: W. New York: Da Capo Press. Memorable Providences, Relating to Witchcraft and Possessions. Benjamin Elliot. Retrieved January 9, Benjamin Harris. Studies of Salem witch trials , [ dead link ] law. Montague Summer.
Archived from the original on Retrieved November 15, Robinson The Devil Discovered: Salem Witchcraft Hippocrene: New York. Heritage Books: Bowie, MD. Roach Cooper Square Press, New York. Upham, Salem Witchcraft and Cotton Mather. A Reply. Morrisania, NY, , Project Gutenberg, gutenberg. Selected Letters of Cotton Mather. Archived from the original on 17 May Narratives of the Witchcraft Cases, In Burr, George Lincoln ed. Rebecca Nurse" , etext.
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Salem Witch Trials
Grand Rapids, Michigan: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company. Diary of Cotton Mather. Boston: The Society. A Modest Enquiry into the Nature of Witchcraft. Benjamin Elliot, Boston. Retrieved Lawrence Shaw Mayo. See:  Archived at the Wayback Machine , etext. The Salem witchcraft papers: Verbatim transcripts of the legal documents of the Salem witchcraft outbreak of New York: De Capo Press. Massachusetts State Archives. Boston, MA. Essays in Honour of Leslie J. Workman eds. Adams, G. Memorable Providence, Relating to Witchcraft and Possessions.
Remembering the Victims of the Salem Witch Executions
Aronson, Marc. Atheneum: New York. A Guide to the Salem Witchcraft Hysteria of David C. Brown: Washington Crossing, PA. William and Mary Quarterly , , Vol. Photo: William A. Crafts Vol. They were among 20 who were killed as a result of the hysteria that took place in the New England village of Salem where fear of demonic possession struck panic among the Puritans and led to more than accusations against anyone suspected of witchcraft.
While in prison, the accused, many of them women, were repeatedly humiliated by being forced to strip naked and undergo physical examinations of their nude bodies. About 20 years after the convictions, in , the colony passed a bill pardoning those accused and granted monetary restitution to the surviving victims and their families. However, hundreds of lives were damaged by the Salem witch hunts. A total of 24 innocent people died for their alleged participation in dark magic.
Photo: Freeland A. Carter, artist [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons. On June 10, , Bridget Bishop was hanged. In addition, year-old Giles Corey died after being pressed with heavy stones—his punishment for refusing to enter an innocent or guilty plea to the court. As colluders with the devil, they were not afforded proper Christian burials.
Their corpses were thrown into shallow graves. However, the bodies of Rebecca Nurse, John Proctor and George Jacobs were eventually retrieved by their families and given Christian burials. A drawing of the death of Giles Corey who was pressed with heavy stones for failing to enter a plea to the charge of being a witch during the Salem Witch Trials. Some were burned alive while others were initially hanged or beheaded and later incinerated to prevent any possibility of postmortem black magic.
While the majority were women, men were also both accused and convicted of being involved in the occult. In fact, five of the 20 who were executed were men. These men were not well-liked in the community and many were very outspoken against the witch trials.