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The Salem Witch Trials

The Events which led to the Witch Trials actually occured in what is now the town of Danvers, in the time of the trials it was known as Salem Village. Launching the hysteria was the bizarre, seemingly inexpliciable behaviour of two young girls; the daughter Betty, and the niece Abigail Williams, of the Salem Village minister, Reverend Samuel Parris.

Reverend Samuel Parris. In February, 1692, three accused women were examined by the Magistrates Johnathan Corwin and John Hathorne. Corwin's home, known as the Witch House still stands at the corner of North and Essex streets in Salem, providing guided tours and tales of the first witchcraft trials.John Hathorne, an ancestor of Nathaniel Hawthrone, is buried in the charter street Old Burying Point.
By the time hysteria had spent itself, 24 people had died, 19 were hanged on Gallows Hill in Salem Town, but some died in prison. Giles Corey at first pleaded not guilty to charges of witchcraft, but subsequentlyrefused to stand trial. This refusal meant he could not be convicted legally. However, his examiners chose to subject him to interrogation by the placing of stone weights on his body. He survived this brutal torture for two days before dying.
It is remarkable 552 original documents pertaining to the witchcraft trials have been preserved and are still stored by the Peabody Essex Museum.
Eerie memorabilia associated with the trials, such as the "Witch Pins" used in the examination of witches and a small bottle supposed to contain the finger bones of the victim George Jacobs can be found there aswell.
Questions put to the accused Witches by the court

* What evil spirit have you familiarity with? - None.

* Have you made no contact with the devil? - No.

* Why do you hurt these children? - I do not hurt them. I scorn it.

* Why do you employ then to do it? - I employ no body.

* What creature do you employ then? - No creature. I am falsely accused.

Dialogue based on the examination of Sarah Good by Judge Hathorne and Corwin, from the Salem Witchcraft papers, Book II, page 355.