The Salem Witch Trials: Witch Hunt In American History
Over three hundred years ago, the people in and around Salem, Massachusetts, took part in the most massive witch hunt in American history. The Salem Witch Trials were a terrible time for the little town of Salem. The Trials began in the Spring of 1692 when a group of girls claimed they were possessed by the devil. This sent panic all throughout the Village of Salem and led to more than two hundred local citizens being accused of witchcraft (Worthen 1 of 3). The Trials came to an end in 1693 when the governor of the colony heard that his own wife was being accused of witchcraft (Kiger 3 of 3).
In February of 1692, Betty Parris, the eleven year old daughter of minister Samuel Parris, and her cousin Abigail Williams began …show more content…
During March and through the fall many were charged, examined, tried and condemned to death. When the accused person was in an examination, they were examined for signs of blemishes or birthmarks. Some believed that these marks were known as the “Devil’s Mark” (“The Salem Witch Trials, 1692” 2 of 3).
To determine whether one was a witch or not was a very gruesome experience. One way of doing this was called “Forced Confession by Dunking,” which is where the accused person would be tied to a chair and the chair would be tied to something similar to a seesaw and held over a body of water. The accused would be dunked under the water until they finally confessed or drowned (Thomas 2 of 3). Another way the citizens of Salem thought that they could prove someone was a witch was by “Bound Submersion.” This occurred when the accused person was tied at the hands and feet with a heavy rock attached to them. They were then thrown into the water and if they floated, they were a considered witch and put on trial; if they did not float, they were not considered a witch but would, unfortunately, drown and die (Thomas 3 of 3).
Bridget Bishop, a widow in her fifties, was not the first person accused during the Salem Witch Trials. She was, however, the first to be put on trial because some believed that the