The Witches: Salem, 1692 by Stacy SchiffPulitzer Prize winner Stacy Schiff, author of the #1 bestseller Cleopatra, provides an electrifying, fresh view of the Salem witch trials.
The panic began early in 1692, over an exceptionally raw Massachusetts winter, when a ministers niece began to writhe and roar. It spread quickly, confounding the most educated men and prominent politicians in the colony. Neighbors accused neighbors, husbands accused wives, parents and children one another. It ended less than a year later, but not before nineteen men and women had been hanged and an elderly man crushed to death.
Speaking loudly and emphatically, adolescent girls stood at the center of the crisis. Along with suffrage and Prohibition, the Salem witch trials represent one of the few moments when women played the central role in American history. Drawing masterfully on the archives, Stacy Schiff introduces us to the strains on a Puritan adolescents life and to the authorities whose delicate agendas were at risk. She illuminates the demands of a rigorous faith, the vulnerability of settlements adrift from the mother country, perched--at a politically tumultuous time--on the edge of what a visitor termed a remote, rocky, barren, bushy, wild-woody wilderness. With devastating clarity, the textures and tension of colonial life emerge; hidden patterns subtly, startlingly detach themselves from the darkness. Schiff brings early American anxieties to the fore to align them brilliantly with our own. In an era of religious provocations, crowdsourcing, and invisible enemies, this enthralling story makes more sense than ever.
The Witches is Schiffs riveting account of a seminal episode, a primal American mystery unveiled--in crackling detail and lyrical prose--by one of our most acclaimed historians.
What Happened in Salem, MA in 1692? Know the Details, After the Trials Were Over (2004)
42 Wicked Facts About the Salem Witch Trials
The Salem Witch Trials of were a dark time in American history. More than people were accused of practicing witchcraft and 20 were killed during the hysteria. Ever since those dark days ended, the trials have become synonymous with mass hysteria and scapegoating. The following are some facts about the Salem Witch Trials:. The Salem Witch Trials were a series of witchcraft cases brought before local magistrates in a settlement called Salem which was a part of the Massachusetts Bay colony in the 17th century. The Salem Witch Trials officially began in February of , when the afflicted girls accused the first three victims, Tituba, Sarah Good and Sarah Osborne, of witchcraft and ended in May of , when the remaining victims were released from jail.
The infamous Salem witch trials began during the spring of , after a group of young girls in Salem Village, Massachusetts, claimed to be possessed by the devil and accused several local women of witchcraft. As a wave of hysteria spread throughout colonial Massachusetts, a special court convened in Salem to hear the cases; the first convicted witch, Bridget Bishop, was hanged that June. By September , the hysteria had begun to abate and public opinion turned against the trials. Though the Massachusetts General Court later annulled guilty verdicts against accused witches and granted indemnities to their families, bitterness lingered in the community, and the painful legacy of the Salem witch trials would endure for centuries. In addition, the harsh realities of life in the rural Puritan community of Salem Village present-day Danvers, Massachusetts at the time included the after-effects of a British war with France in the American colonies in , a recent smallpox epidemic, fears of attacks from neighboring Native American tribes and a longstanding rivalry with the more affluent community of Salem Town present-day Salem. In January , 9-year-old Elizabeth Betty Parris and year-old Abigail Williams the daughter and niece of Samuel Parris, minister of Salem Village began having fits, including violent contortions and uncontrollable outbursts of screaming.
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The events of are generally referred to as Salem witchcraft.
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All rights reserved. These trials happened in Salem, Massachusetts, during the winter and spring of When it was all over, suspects, both men and women, were tried as witches.
Add in the numerous films and television series that reference Salem, and things get even more distorted. Being burned at the stake was an occasionally used method of execution in Europe, when one was convicted of witchcraft, but was generally reserved for those who refused to repent of their sins. No one in America has ever been put to death this way. Instead, in , hanging was the preferred form of punishment. Twenty people were put to death in Salem for the crime of witchcraft. Nineteen were hanged, and one—elderly Giles Corey—pressed to death.