The Salem Witches
Updated: Jun 21
The Year 1692, about 200 years after the beginning of the Witch Hunt in Europe and the official publishing of Malleus Maleficarum, in Salem Massachusetts, where the Greatest Witch Trials in such a small place, ever recorded to the history.
Everything started when Pastor Samuel Parris, brought his wife Tituba. Tituba was a practitioner of Obeah, a magic path of the tribes of the pacific ocean. She had frequent visits by the local girls who respected her and wanted to learn about their fortune, future, dreams etc. This was something totally forbidden in Salem, as Witchcraft was a crime punished by death!
After a while, their visits and their content started to become known in the small society of Salem, and the girls where terrified. Then Elisabeth Parris and Abigail Williams, started to have a spasmodic behaviour and all believed that they are possessed by some kind of demonic powers. After that the Pastor called for help other Pastors of the surrounding areas. Every time they tried to perform the ritual of demonic exorcism, the girls appeared to act like in pain and panic, so they stopped trying this way…
What they did as a precaution, was to observe Tibuta’s every move, because she was the number one suspect for the girls behaviour. Pastor Samuel Parris, remembered that one day he saw his wife Tibuta to take something out of the fireplace and give it to their dog. He demanded to tell him what was this object, and she said that this was just the Witches’ Medicine, and she was willing to give it to the girls as a cure. Of course he did not believe her so he started to beat her so hard until she “admitted” in the end that she was the one who caused everything. Then his daughter Elisabeth Parris and his niece Abigail Williams, started to talk be themselves and told that Tibuta was the one responsible and thet she made them to make a deal with the Devil!
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That’s when the Massive Witch Hunting started in the little town of Salem. Abigail said that another two females were involved, her name was Sarah Good, a poor homeless lady who almost never went to the church at Sundays. The other one was Sarah Osborne. All three ladies, the two Sarahs and Tibuta had now to go to a trial! This was decides in 29 February 1962. Next day, two judges came to the city.
In the beginning of the trial Sarah Good denied the accusations and told that she knows nothing about Witchcraft or the case. Exactly that moment, the girls started to scream, have spasmodic movements and said that it was Sarah’s spirit that caused this to them. Then a woman named Martha Cory who was inside the court started to laugh because she saw that the girls’ behaviour was theatrically fake. When it was time for Sarah Osbourne to face the judges, the girls started their “act” again.
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The two women were imprisoned after the trial and Osbourne died in her cell after two months in jail. When the time to judge Tibuta came, the girls started their act all over again, but this time they were screaming like mad, acting crazy and spasmodic! The first question that the judges did to Tibuta was if she had ever met the Devil. She knew that even if she was say lies about her “meeting” with the Devil and answered “yes” to their question, all this would come to an end, and no more people would get tortured or die in jail. So that’s what she answered “Devil found me and asked me to serve him”. For three days Tibuta was saying to the court the story about how she met Devil, the Sabbaths, and the other Witches!!! Telling about other Witches in her story was something that not only did not end the situation, but it did burst into woman-Witch hunt to discover all the Witches in the area!
Then the girls said that Ann Putnam ( a woman that till then everyone said she was a saint ) and Martha Cory, were also Witches! From that moment on, everyone the girls accused as a Witch, was going to a trial and by all chances did get a death penalty!
Till June of the same year, more than 100 people were accused by the girls and just because the cells were full, it was the big opportunity to start punishing them! The first one was Bridget Bishop. They hanged her! After her was Rebecca Nurse, Sarah Good and forty other women. Judge William Stoughton sentenced all of them to death! They were all hanged!
The August of the same year, it was the third big trial with six people accused by the girls. All of them were hanged except Elisabeth Proctor who was pregnant and this caused a delay, a delay that in the end saved her life.
That September the court came together for a last time and sentenced to death 15 more people, between them Tibuta, Martha Cory and her 80 years old husband. The girls then made a grave mistake! They accused the judges too, which was impossible for back then, because people believed that judges were protected by god.
So the governor of the area sent away judge Stoughton and stopped the “action” of the court. He created a new court and let free the rest of the accused people. 13 January 1963, Governor Phips closed the case and favoured amnesty to the rest of the people in the area.