Salem Witch Trials
Intolerance leads to hysteria... The Salem Witch Trials are one of the great atrocities ever wrought against a group of people out of sheer ignorance and pure hatred. They were an incidence of bias and prejudice in its basest form and yet so many people seem to know so very little about them. Perhaps it's because many of those same old misbeliefs and prejudices that caused the Salem Witch Trials and other similar events to occur still exist in society today, or perhaps it's because no one believes anything like them could ever happen again. To believe the latter is only further proof of the ignorance that still exists, to believe the former is a state of denial. Be vigilant. Be compassionate. Be tolerant.
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Salem Witchcraft: Holdings from Various Archives by Benjamin Ray
The Carey Document: On The Trail of a Salem Death Warrant by Bryan F. Le Beau
Notable Women Ancestors: Witches by Sam Casey This site includes links to biographies of many women accused of witchcraft, including:
- A superb, well-documented biography by Sam Casey of Susanna North Martin, executed for witchcraft in 1692, with links to transcriptions of the warrant for her arrest, her indictment, and depositions of John Pressey, John & Mary Pressey, and Bernard Peach; Jarvis Ring & Joseph Ring (2); John Kimball, John Allen, Joseph Knight & Elizabeth Clark; Robert Downer, Mary Andrews, Moses Pike, Thomas Putnam, Sam Parris, Nathaniel Ingersoll, Abigail Williams & Ann Putnam, Jr.; William Brown, Elizabeth Hubbard, Mercy Lewis, Sarah Vibber, John Atkinson & Sarah Atkinson.
- Elizabeth Jackson Howe, by Cynthia (Frazier) Abbott
- Rebecca Nurse, by Dana A. Wildes
- Sarah Wild(e), by Rhonda Little
National Geographic's Salem Witch Hysteria Ask an Expert by Richard Trask
Witchcraft Accusations Feb. 29-Mar.31, 1692 by Ben Ray
Witchcraft Accusations: Feb. 29-Mar. 31, 1692 by Benjamin Ray
Goody Cole and Jonathan Moulton by John Putnam Demos
The Malleus Maleficarum by Heinrich Kramer and James Sprenger
Witch City -- Our Review by Peg Aloi
- Innocent VIII: BULL Summis desiderantes, Dec. 5th, 1484
- Johannes Nider, the ANT HILL, circa 1437, Nider, Formicarius, ed. of Augsburg, ca. 1476Lib. V. cap. 3
- Extracts from THE HAMMER OF WITCHES [Malleus maleficarum], 1486
The Salem Witch Trials Page by Tim Sutter
Map of Andover, MA, in 1692 by Research on North Andover Center by Forbes Rockwell & Carl R. Smith. Research on other areas by Gratia Mahony. Map drawn by James S. Batchelder.
The Salem Witch Trials were among the last outbreaks of persecution for accused witches, but it was also one of the darkest times in American history. The episode began when a few young girls were caught playing with a crystal ball. In an attempt to escape punishment, they claimed to have been bothered by a witch. With almost an insane fervor, authorities—acting rashly—proceeded to seek out and punish the witch responsible for tormenting the girls.
The town's newly arrived minister, Samuel Parris, not only did nothing to easy people's fears, but in fact helped to fuel them by telling people witches were everywhere and no one could be trusted. Neighbor accused neighbor and many profited personally from the confiscation of property. The need for retribution against any suspected witch eventually deteriorated to the point where "spectral evidence" was accepted. Spectral evidence involved witnesses being allowed to testify in court that a spirit had told them about someone being a witch.
By the time this tragedy closed nineteen people had been hanged as suspected witches and over 150 more had been imprisoned for varying lengths of time. Most of those imprisoned or killed were on the fringes of society or members of families that Samuel Parris considered to be trouble-makers.