The Salem Witch Trials of 1692
By: Katherine Taylor
In Salem, Massachusetts, 1692, there was a mass outbreak of panic, caused by the hysteria of the discovery of witches living in Salem. Many people were accused of witchcraft, yet there was no proof that the accused were witches. The accused had trials, but were usually sentenced guilty. In rare cases. The accused were relieved of their accusations, due to pregnancy or disability. Some people confessed to practicing with witchcraft, but, surprisingly, did not even have trials. Why were these innocent people executed?
Tituba, a Native American slave, was one of the first to be accused of witchcraft. Tituba was sold to Reverend Samuel Parris when she was around the age of 12 to 17. She was the caretaker of his 9 year old daughter, Betty Parris, and his 11 year old niece, Abigail Williams (Who both had been suffering from strange behavior, that will later be diagnosed as Witchcraft). Tituba was known to tell enchanting stories of life in Barbados (Where she was originally born) to the village girls. When young Betty accused her, Parris beat Tituba until she felt she had to confess. Tituba also wove stories of a thriving witch community hidden in Salem.
Sarah Osborne, another one of the three first accused, was accused because of her appalling nature, and also because she had not been to church in three years due to a very serious sickness.
There are many explanations as to why the accused were "thought" to be using witchcraft, and if they were tried fairly, their explanations would have come to surface. Unfortunately, they are all examples of what rumors and mass hysteria can do to the mind. Their families were eventually apologized to and were paid restitution because of the governments huge mistakes.