1692 in Salem, Massachusetts was a time of fear, allegation, and deceit. It was the time of the Salem witch trials. Family feuds, eccentric personalities, and even keeping dolls in your home were reasons for accusations. Fueled by religious fanatics and young girls screaming for attention, literally, no one was safe from the insanity of the witch-hunt. This paper is intended to discuss the causes of this hysteria, some of the trials that took place during the year 1692, and what finally stopped the madness of the witch-hunt.
The Salem witch trials were fueled by many different things, but the beginning of this hysteria can be traced back to a small group of girls in Salem Village. Betty Parris, a nine-year-old girl with poor health, lived with her father Rev. Samuel Parris, who was the local minister, her mother, an invalid, and her cousin, Abigail Williams. Abigail Williams was a twelve-year-old orphan who worked for her keep; she did most of the chores because of Betty's illness and cared for her aunt. When they were finished with their chores, there was not much for the girls to do; Rev. Parris objected to games because he thought that "playing was a sign of idleness, and idleness allowed the Devil to work his mischief." (http://www.salemwitchtrials.com) Reading books was a popular pastime during the winter. Most popular, were Books about fortune telling and prophecy. These were read, unsurprisingly, mostly by young girls and adolescents. Some of the girls who read these books formed small groups to use the divination techniques that they had read about. Betty, Abigail, and two other girls formed one of these groups and were assisted by the Parris family's' black slave, Tituba. (http://www.salemwitchtrials.com) Tituba, who was originally from Barbados, was very knowledgeable about the voodoo religion, and often told the girls stories of voodoo, witchcraft, and demons. Other girls began to join the group to listen to Tituba's stories and tell their fortunes....
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