The Salem Witch Hysteria Essay, Research Paper
The Salem Witch Hysteria
Specific purpose: To inform my audience about the Salem witch trials
Thesis Statement: The Salem witch trials were a series of events that lead up to the hanging of 19 man and women in Salem Mass.
A. – The year, 1692. The place, Salem Mass. Imagine yourself a woman at home cooking dinner for your family. You peer out the window and find your husband finishing up his days work in the field while your children frolic about as the sun sets behind them. Or imagine yourself a man. Wiping the sweat from your brow as you hurriedly finish up a long days work with anticipation of dinner with the family. Now your at the dinner table , across from your husband or wife. You discuss the weather, how the day went , and the Reverend’s most recent Sunday sermon. Suddenly, there’s a knock on your door. It’s the town magistrate with a warrant for your arrest. You are charged with the crime of witchcraft, examined , then found guilty . If you confess, you spend a lifetime in prison. If you maintain your innocence, you’re hung. This is similar to a common scenario of what happened at the Salem witch trials.
B- The Salem witch trials were a series of events that eventually lead to the hanging of 19 men and women. They took place in Salem Mass. in the year 1692.
C- Who were the accusers? Who where the people being charged? What were the out comes of the trials and why ? Let’s start with how it all began.
II How did it all begin?-
A – Rev. Samuel Parriss’ daughter Elizabeth, age 9, and niece Abigail Williams, age 11, had a slave that cared for them : TITUBA
B – Tituba tells story from native land
C – Girls love stories and start playing with it. Joined by other girls in town.
D- On Jan. 16, 1692, started to have fits , seizures , and trance – like episodes. Soon after that the rest of the girls did too.
E- Rev. Parriss brought in Dr. William Griggs who could diagnose no medical reason for girls behavior. Concluded girls under influence of Satan.
F- Pray services and community fasting held by Rev. in hoped of ” relaying the evil forces that plagued them”. In efforts to expose the witches John Indian baked a witch cake with rye meal and the afflicted girls urine.
G- Pressured to identify the witches, girls named 3 woman. Tituba, Sarah Goode, and Sarah Osborne.
H- Goode and Osborne maintained their innocence while Tituba confessed to seeing the devil. AND testified to a witch conspiracy in Salem.
I- Judges John Hawthorne and Jonathan Corwin examined the 3 women. Once again only Tituba confessed to practicing witchcraft.
J- Over the next few weeks, more and more people came forward with accusations
III – Who were these new accusers? -
A – Most of the new accusers relates to the Putman family
B – Ann Putnam Jr. – one of the ” afflicted children” Age 12, accused a total of 62 people of being witches.
C – Thomas Putnam – Chief filer of complaints in the Town of Salem. Aided Anne Jr. In her accusations by taking her to court.
D – Her mother Anne Putnam SR in court room as much as daughter with accusations. Coincidentally in court room, would become afflicted.
E – Mercy Lewis- Servant to Putnam’s 17 years old. Also on of the ” afflicted ” girls
F – Mary Walcot- Ann jr. Best friend. Afflicted girl.
G – All 5 girls, Ann Jr., Mercy, Mary, Abigail, and Elizabeth were involved in Tituba’s story telling, voodoo practicing, and fortune telling
IV Who were the people being charged ?
A – The 1st people accused of witchcraft were Tituba, Sarah Goode and Sarah Osborne. Once again , Tituba confessed, while Sarah Goode and Osborne still maintained there innocence.
B – Sarah Goode- a prime example of what caused a lot of the accusations. She was viewed as socially undesirable. Sarah ’s actions and attitude caused friction amongst other community members and it was no wonder she was accused.
C – The next to be convicted was Martha Corey and Rebecca Nurse. Both were upstanding members of the community. Always avid church goers. However, they became quite suspicious of the trial proceedings and openly spoke out against the accusers. Soon after they were accused.
D – Martha’s husband , Giles Corey, made a deposition against her. Once he realized what he had done, he retracted his statement. A warrant for his arrest was then issued. He refused to enter a plea. He was crushed to death under a board and stones for not being compliant.
F – Next to be denounced a witch was Elizabeth Proctor. When her husband, John Proctor tried to defend her, he was accused and imprisoned. He was convicted and hung later. His wife however, b/c with child was not.
G – The list goes on of so many similar stories. In total 13 women and 6 men were hung for being witches. Names – females-Bridgett Bishop, Martha carrier, Martha Corey, Mary Easty, Sarah Goode, Elizabeth Howe, Susannah Martin, Rebecca Nurse, Alice Parker, Mary Parker, Ann Pudeator, Margaret Scott, Sarah Wildes.
Males- George burroughs, George Jacobs , SR, John Proctor, Wilmott Redd, Samuel Wardwell, and John Willard.
H – The reason they were hung was because they would not confess. If they did confess, they would have went to jail and not died.
Why were these people accused and convicted?
A – A common similarity found amongst all the people who were hung, was that they all had had past disagreement, or land argument with some on in the town. Often one of the accusers.
B- For example, George Burroughs was a Minister but quarreled over his salary and left.
During the trial, the afflicted girls referred to him as the ” black Minister” . And Claimed he was leader of the Salem Coven
C- John Proctor was known for being outspoken and hot tempered. He was a wealthy
land owner and owned a tavern. And he was sternly opposed to the witchcraft trials and openly spoke out against them. The people who accused John proctor were the people he spoke out against.
D – Giles Corey had a criminal record and a hot -temper. He would constantly argue and threaten neighbors.
E – So you see , the people accused were people who frequently caused conflict amongst powerful people in town.
VI – Conclusion-
A – The Salem Witch trials ended on Nov. 25th 1692, 2 months after the last 8 people were hung. Thomas Brattle wrote a letter criticizing the trials. The letter impacted Governor Phips , who dissolved the court of Oyer and Terminer . The courts in Salem trying the cases.
B – The general courts of the colony created the superior court to try the remaining cases. This time no one was convicted.
C – The Salem witch hysteria was a tragedy that caused families to break up, and innocent people there lives.
D- Was there really a ” Witch Hysteria” ? Or was it just playful girls who got in over there head? Did the accusers really believe the people they were accusing were really witches? Or was it an easy way to rid the town of ” Socially undesirable” and the conflict causers? The only 19 people who would ever really know, were hung.