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HI114 - Salem Witch Trials 2

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Wilfrid Laurier University
Darren Mulloy

Hi114 – Sept 19/2013 Salem 2: Witches in Salem • Witches in New England: A problem? o Research of Carol Karlsen, the Devil in the Shape of a woman: Witchcraft in Colonial New England o 1620-1646  No one was persecuted during this period, however there may have been accusations  3 women were informally accused of suspicions of witchcraft, Anne Hutchinson, Jane Hawkins, Mary Dyer • Hutchinson and Hawkins told to leave • Dyer executed o Not because of witchcraft however o 1647-1663  Period of major witch fear  79 people accused  33 put on trial  15 found guilty • 61 of 79 and 13 of 15 executed were women  13 accused in Hartford, Connecticut  1645-1647 suspicion in old England o 1688-1693  Just before Salem • The Godwin Case o Accusation against a prosperous family, the widow glover is accused of bewitching 4 of the children, very good suspect for being a witch, catholic, Irish, poor, outside of the wealthy community, tried, convicted, executed o Written in the book by Cotton Mather’s Memorable Providences o Everybody is focused on Salem • Why Salem was different: o Numbers  200 people accused in Salem, 13 in Hartford, Connecticut o Timing  Of the events is off  Major outbreaks were in the 1640 and 1650 not the 1690s, comes right at the end of the witch hunt, only other case after was in Scotland in 1697 o Extent  Should be called the Essex county witchcraft trials  People make accusations from all over the place  More accused came from Andover than from Salem o Accusers and Accusations  The person who would make accusations would be adult men, in Salem, the key accusers were all young women under 25, these women make different types of accusations o Conviction and Execution Rates  After 3 period, conviction rate dies off • The people who were accused before Hartford outbreak had been wealthy people  Massive return of fear at Salem  Almost everybody who comes before the court in Salem, is found guilty, and most of them are executed  Why do the judges believe these accusations of the young women, when normally they would not? • Contemporary accounts of the Salem crisis: o Historical records are limited, don’t have all documents, don’t have records of the guilty o Reverend Deodat Lawson’s A Brief and True Narrative o Cotton Mather’s Wonders of the Invisible World o Robert Calef’s More Wonders of the Invisible World o Reverend John Hale’s Modes Enquiry into the Nature of Witchcraft • The events at Salem: o Background & beginnings  Salem was not a contented place to live in even before the trials  Salem village was fairly populated and isolated and lived in the shadow of Salem
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