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Salem Witchcraft Trials

Bradly Bass - Aryeh Glickman - Lexi Justus

Beliefs about witchcraft and witches people held in
the past
In early 14th century Christian Europe it was
widely believed that the Devil would give
certain individuals spiritual powers. These
powers were to do harm upon others in
exchange for the individuals loyalty. As the
years went on it was continually believed that
people of Christianity were engaged in a war
against the Devil and his secret army of
What were the Salem witchcraft trials?
In the September of 1692, starting in June 19
men and women were convicted of witchcraft
were brought to Gallows Hill. Gallows Hill was a
barren slope close to Salem Village where the
convicts were sentenced for hanging. Though
there were a few who were pressed to death
under heavy stones for refusing to go on trial for
witchcraft charges. Over a hundred people were
accused of witchcraft, though many sat for
months in jail without a trial.
Some possible explanations for the Salem
witchcraft trials?
A group of young teen girls were caught
having fits in Salem during the summer of
1692. When questioned by the adults
fingers were pointed towards a circle of
“Witches”. Most of the accused were local
townspeople who were seen as strange or
outsiders. During the summer 27 were put
on trial and 19 were sentenced to death.
What options did an accused witch have in Salem?
Once convicted the
accused they could plead,
confess, be forgiven, then
executed. They could
plead innocent, be found
guilty, then be executed.
Either way almost all trials
had the same outcome.
They would all be tortured
and hung.

Boil, Bubble, Toil, and Trouble

How quickly did things get out of hand in Salem?
The witch trials got out of hand very quickly in Salem. It went from a couple of
sick daughters in January, a court being set up in June to put witches on trial.
19 people total were killed before the court was disbanded and taken apart by
Governor William Phipps in October. I believe one of the reasons the witch
trials took off so quickly was because of fear. Rev. Parris and others all drove
the fear of the devil and witchery deep into people’s hearts and they were
acting in self preservation.
How long did the Salem witchcraft trials go on for?
The actual witch trials did not last very long at all. The court was disbanded
within a few months to be replaced with a more fair one. The first arrest
occurred in March of 1692, and the final hanging was in was on September 22,
1692. The trials catalyst however, the illness of Betty Parris, was in January if
you want to count that. In short, the trials lasted for 7 months.
Do "witch hunts" still happen?
Believe it or not, witch hunts do in fact still happen in today’s world. In modern
day India, witch hunts happen quite often and between the years 2000 and
2016, over 2,500 Indians have been hunted down and killed on charges of
witchcraft. According to a 2005 National Geographic poll, 13% of people in the
United kingdom believe in witchcraft and 21% of Americans do as well. The
United Nations has found that witch hunts have actually increased in the last
few years and continue to do so today.
How many people died?
During the witch trials 24 people that were accused as witches died. Most of them
died by being hanged. Four of them died while in prison and one of them was
pressed to death.
Was this the first time people had been tried as
witches? Explain a bit about the history.
During the mid 1400 thousands there was mass hysteria going around in Europe.
80,000 thousand people were put to death. 80 percent of them were woman and
other 20 percent were man. They were killed by burning,hanging, and also put to
the stake.
Evidence used to arrest accused witches?
The evidence that they had was random fits of scream and other random noise.
Some of the evidence of spectral evidence. The victims would claim that they saw
there true form or there spectral form in a dream. The other evidence would be dolls
or if they had book. Then if they look witch's teat or a devil's mark .
Sources 1
Parris, Samuel. The Sermon Notebook of Samuel Parris:

September 11, 1692 | Salem Witch Trials,

Scientific American, 11 Jan. 2018,

Society, National Geographic. “Witch Trials in the 21st Century.” National Geographic Society,

15 Oct. 2012,

Yasmin, Seema. “Witch Hunts Today: Abuse of Women, Superstition and Murder Collide in India.”
Sources 2 Staff. “Salem Witch Trials.”, A&E Television Networks, 2011,

“The Salem Witch Trials: Boil, Bubble, Toil, and Trouble.” History Cooperative, 15 Jan. 2017,
Sources 3
Andrews, Evan. “7 Bizarre Witch Trial Tests.”, A&E Television Networks, 18 Mar. 2014,

“A Brief History of the Salem Witch Trials.”, Smithsonian Institution, 23 Oct. 2007, Staff. “Salem Witch Trials.”, A&E Television Networks, 2011,