In 1692 Salem was struggling and going through a difficult and confusing time. At this point Salem was under British rule and when this "witch hunt" began the colony was waiting for a new governor general and no one was appointed to enforce laws. By the time a new governor had been selected the jails had already been filled with accused witches. Things got worse when New England towns, like Salem, were attacked by Native Americans and French Canadians.
People living in Salem were forced to support themselves by making their own clothes, planting vegetables, raising meat and farming.
People living in Salem were also very religious. They had a strong belief in the devil and witchcraft. They believed all sins should be punished and that when someone would suffer misfortune, such as getting sick, they saw it as God punishing them and therefore they did not help. It is no wonder that these people didn't hesitate to point the finger and truly believe that these people were witches. The people living in Salem at this time were full of jealousy, fear and superstition.
In 1692 lots of men and women stood trial for witchcraft. These people called themselves witches and they believed the devil had given them special powers. Nineteen of the alleged were judged guilty and were hung, plus another person who was crushed to death for not pleading guilty. Most of the others who were judged not guilty eventually died as a result of mistreatment because they were "witches.".
In Salem in 1692 a young girl, Betty Parris, became oddly ill. Her symptoms were pain and fever and she often burst out in incomprehensible gibberish, experienced convulsions and contortions; her symptoms baffled everyone. Betty's three playmates soon adapted these unusual symptoms. Doctor Griggs studied the girls and he said that the girls symptoms might some how be related to witchcraft.
Everyone began accusing people and Sarah Good and Sarah Osburn who were two elderly women with poor reputations were arrested.