From June through September of 1692, a travesty we know as the Salem Witch Trials took place in coastal Massachusetts. Nineteen unlucky men and women were wrongfully put to dead by hanging, one man pressed to death and four others died in jail during the hysteria-filled summer of 1692. Numerous historians have debated the cause for witch-hunt and subsequent trials for many years. The witch-hunt started due to a combination of unfortunate circumstances. The frontier war with the Indians, a power struggle between two prominent families, and a group of mischievous teenaged girls played a major role in what happen in the Village of Salem.
During the time of the Salem Witch Trials, the frontier war with the Indians was in full swing just seventy miles from Salem. The war effort was not going very well and many thought the Indians were winning the war because of a pact with the devil. Thoughts such as this were the normal in Puritan Massachusetts. The Puritans that founded Massachusetts had strong beliefs in good and evil. With the devil believed to be nearby in the war and presences of many refugees from the war, the accusations of witchcraft by three young girls were only more believable. The frontier war and the people conducting the witch-hunts were closely connected. Many of the high-ranking witch-hunters also played major roles in the failing war effort. The witch-hunts and trials were a convenient way to place blame for the failures on the battlefield on someone else.
The trials for the accused witches were far from fair by standard now or then. The Governor Phips formed a special court called The Court of Oyer and Terminer to hear the witchcraft cases. The Court was made of five judges, three of which were close friends of a man named Cotton Mather, a popular writer who published a book named "Memorable Providences . The book described the suspected witchcraft of an Irish woman in Boston. Mather convi