You’re a witch! That’s right a real living witch, who is using the power of the Devil to torture the underclassmen of Cleveland High School! …Obviously, you’re not a witch and the allegation above is absolutely absurd. Sadly, it’s not too far off from what many of the people of Salem, mostly elderly women, were accused of back in 1692 in the town of Salem, Massachusetts.
In fact, an allegation like the one above led to the hanging of nineteen people at the Gallow Hills; a group of people who were completely innocent.The chaos began as two young girls in the town, nine year-old Elizabeth Parris and eleven year-old Abigail Williams began to go into a series of hysterics, screaming gibberish and slamming themselves along the walls of their home. When a local doctor could find no physical injuries he came to the conclusion that the girls were “bewitched”; the girls were being manipulated by some evil entity, a witch.
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These two children accused three women of being the witches who had been harming them, one of which being their family slave, Tituba. Tituba was forced by Reverend Parris, the father of the girls and slave owner of Tituba, to confess. So, likely in fear of being punished, Tituba lied to a group of village justices during a hearing that she had been forced by the devil itself to harm the children. The most devastating fabrication from Tituba’s confession was the admittance of there being other witches who resided in Salem. It’s probable that the Parris family constructed these allegations in order to get rid of those in the town who they had personal grudges against. People, mostly elderly women, were being accused left and right of Witchcraft. Among the many accused were Mary Esty, a mother of seven and Rebecca Nurse, grandmother and well liked character.
Although little evidence was provided against both women they were no the less hanged at Gallow Hills in august of 1692. It wasn’t until January of the next year that the trials would end, and it would take an additional 264 years before the state of Massachusetts would life the court accusations of crime from the tragic victims of the Witch Trials in 1957.While the Salem Witch Trials are potentially the most infamous case of groupthink going awry, it is far from the most recent.
“Witch Hunts”, is now a term used to describe such an occurrence when a group of people search for a person or persons to pass blame onto for a tragedy or fear. A famous example being the Red Scare where the United States persecuted suspected communists out of fear of communism spreading to the United States in the 1940s. Everyday we run the risk of finding ourselves in support of a Witch Hunt, so make sure to question yourself, ask why it is you’re doing what you’re doing. We can all do with some better introspection, lest we end up the ones on the fatal side of history.Brooks, Rebecca Beatrice.
“Tituba: The Slave of Salem.” History Of Massachusetts, 2 Jan. 2013, historyofmassachusetts.
org/tituba-the-slave-of-salem/.Brown, Bryan. “America’s Most Famous WITCH HUNT.” Junior Scholastic/Current Events, 9 Oct. 2017, p.
18+. General OneFile, http://link.galegroup.com/apps/doc/A511109292/GPS?u=portland=GPS=b0a07a3c. Accessed 23 Jan. 2018.Gormley, Myra Vanderpool.
“The Salem Witch Trials.” Colonial Homes, Nov. 1997, p. 22. General OneFile, http://link.galegroup.com/apps/doc/A19926765/GPS?u=portland=GPS=54bd9d6c.
Accessed 23 Jan. 2018.