The Salem Witch Trials
The Salem witch trials took place in the colonial Massachusetts back in 1692 through to 1693. In the process, over two hundred were accused of being witchcraft practitioners and doing the magic of darkness connected to the devil. This saw the execution of about twenty of them. Consequently, the colony agreed that the trials shouldn’t have been made and the families of the people who were convicted got compensation. From that time, the trials’ story has continued to be synonymous with injustice and paranoia and it has continued to captivate the common imagination for over three hundred years now.
The context and belief system
Inclination towards the supernaturally and most particularly in the practice of devil involved in giving some humans commonly known as witches, the power to cause harm to others in favor of their royalty started in Europe back in the fourteenth century and further spread to colonial New England through immigration of people into the land with such origins. Additionally, the harsh life conditions in the local Puritan society in Salem Village, now Danvers in Massachusetts at a period that was characterized by the effects that came following the British war against France in 1689 and fears from war attacks created a lot of enmity with the affluent Salem town community.
How it happened
These infamous trials started in the 1692 spring following claims that a number of young girls were possessed and under devil’s attack. It happened in the Salem village of Massachusetts. Several women were accused of being involved in such crimes after the girls were found to be in such a problem. A lot of hysteria filled the atmosphere and the environments around and beyond in colonial Massachusetts and this prompted a special court to convene in the village to listen to the cases.
The first witch to be convicted was Bridget Bishop who was hanged as a punishment. Some other eighteen people were also hanged later as a hundred and fifty men, children and women received similar accusations for a number of months that followed. This hysteria started to abate by September 1692 and the public wish turned against the continuing trials. Even though the general court in Massachusetts later negated guilty verdicts against the witches who were accused and gave indemnities to the immediate families, there was a lot of bitterness that filled the air in and around the community and the painful legacy left by Salem witch trials would now last for centuries even to this day.
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The Salem Witch Trials Of 1692
The year 1692 held many terrors for accused witches in the town of Salem. The trials were long and drawn out and many people were sentenced to cruel deaths because of their alleged practices. But these trials were a culmination of more than just witchcraft. The town of Salem had long suffered many other troubles which may have contributed to the trials here mentioned. It is also sad to note how one innocent human life was taken due to the horrible way these accused folk were treated.
In the late sixteen hundreds, many disasters, deaths, and illnesses were blamed on witches. People who happened to be awkward or reclusive were often branded as witches because they did not fit into society. Lots of these cases were unjustified and many people were falsely accused of being involved in black magic. During the year 1692, in a town called Salem, twenty people were sentenced to death. Whether or not all of them were guilty, we can only speculate.
A troubled town
Salem was a ripe town for this type of controversy. There were a number of land disputes taking place during that period and the town itself was in a state of political turmoil. Farm disputes also lead to severe poverty and many people were too poor to feed their families. Religion was another hot topic in Salem; a number of disputes arising from the churches of that area. These troubling circumstances may very well have contributed to the accusations that went out against those accused of witchcraft.
Tragic prison death
The Salem trials were not conducted within a few days or weeks. Months went by during these events, during which many of the accused were sent to prison to await their sentences or their trials. Prisons in those days were kept in a terrible condition, and one of the accused—a woman—had her child die because of these horrible conditions. Considering the circumstances, this was a needless death of an innocent child because of these accusations.
We don’t know whether any of the accused were guilty or not; but what we do know is that the town of Salem seemed to be full of impetuous, paranoid people who needed a distraction from all their problems. It seems that these trials were actually senseless and that quite possibly, more damage was caused than good.