In 1692, a huge case of hysteria and superstition broke out in the small village of Salem, Massachusetts. This hysteria is better known as the Salem Witchcraft trials. Around two hundred people and two dogs were accused of practicing witchcraft or having relations with the devil. Nineteen people were hanged, seventeen died in prisons, two dogs were killed, and an eighty year old man was crushed to death by putting large stones on his stomach until he confessed. These trials changed the life of many people, and have darkened the United States history for years to come. .
Before the trials took place, the people of Salem were becoming very superstitious, because of bad crops, raids by the Native Americans, and diseases. They had to blame it something, so they accused people. The accused were supposedly witches, warlocks, or anyone they thought had any relations with the devil. .
Salem Village was a small farming community of about 550 people. It was smaller than Salem Town, which was about eight miles away. Salem Town was a large port, and was well known for its fishing. Salem Town and Salem Village shared same minister, Samuel Parris, and used the same church. .
At that time there were two groups in Salem Town, those who wanted to be separate from the town, and those who did not. Samuel Parris wanted to be separate. He helped divide the groups even more in his sermons. He called the group that did not want to separate evil and bad, and the group that did want to separate good and righteous. .
Parris and his wife had two children living with them, Betty Parris, their daughter, and Abigail Williams, their niece. Abigail and Betty were the reason that the trials started.
Before becoming a minister, Samuel Parris had failed at being a merchant. All he had to show for all the long hard years of being a merchant, were the family slaves, Tituba, and her husband, John Indian. .
In her early years in African, Tituba practiced ritual dance and "black magic.