The Salem Witch Trials all began on January 20, 1692, with nine-year-old Elizabeth "Betty" Parris and eleven-year-old Abigail Williams, daughter and niece of the village reverend Samuel Parris, beginning to exhibit strange behavior, such as blasphemous screaming, convulsive seizures, trance-like states and mysterious spells. Within a short period of time, several other Salem girls began to illustrate similar behavior; physicians resolved that the girls were under the control of Satan. Reverend Parris conducted prayer services and public fasting in hopes of relieving the evil forces that tormented them. In an effort to expose the "enchantress", one man baked a "witch cake" made with rye bran and the urine of the ill girls. This counter-magic was meant to reveal the identities of the "witched" to the ailing girls. Pressured to identify the cause of their misfortune, the girls named three women, including Tituba, Samuel Parris" slave, as witches. On February 29, warrants were dispatched for the arrests of Tituba, Sarah Good, and Sarah Osborne. Although Osborne and Good sustained guiltlessness, Tituba confessed to seeing Lucifer, who appeared to her "sometimes like a hog and sometimes like a great dog." What's more, Tituba certified that there was a collaboration of witches at work in Salem. .
On March 1, Magistrates John Hathorne and Jonathon Corwin investigated the three women in the courthouse in Salem Village. Tituba confessed to pursuing black magic. Over the next few weeks, other villagers came forward and testified that they too had been traumatized by or had seen strange phantoms of some of the village members. As the witch-hunting prolonged, charges were made toward many different people. Frequently unmasked were women whose behavior was somehow disturbing to the social order and formalities of the time. Some of the accused had records of unlawful pastimes, including witchery, but others were faithful churchgoers and people of high status in the society.