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The Actual Salem Witch Trials

             The Salem Witch trials of 1692, was a time in American history that portrayed how unstable society could be. Salem, Massachusetts was torn apart by lies and accusations made solely on the basis of their imagination and own personal grudges. Some pieces of literature have been written describing the events that led to the hysteria like Salem Witchcraft by Charles W. Upham and The Salem Witchcraft Delusion by Alice Dickinson. Arthur Miller's play The Crucible is another example. The events described in The Crucible and the actual Salem Witch Trial events are closely related in that both portray the reasons for the start and end of the hysteria. .
             The historical Salem Witch Trials all began because of childhood fantasies and jealousies. Prior to the year 1692, a man named Cotton Mather wrote a book called Memorable Providences Relating to Witchcrafts and Possessions. This book told of a case of witchcraft in Boston in the year 1688, involving the children of John Goodwin. Apparently 4 Goodwin children would go into fits and blamed a woman named Mrs. Glover. Mrs. Glover admitted to her magical powers and even demonstrated them in court. Soon after, she was sentenced to death for the practice of witchcraft and working with the devil. Mather firmly believed this was a case of witchcraft and his opinion influenced others. His influence was carried into the year 1692 when the people of Salem village had suspicions of witchcraft. .
             The people of Salem Village looked back at the Goodwin children and related them to events happening in their own town. The two girls in the family of Reverend Samuel Parris- daughter, Elizabeth (9) and niece, Abigail Williams (11)- began to act strangely and attract negative attention. The village doctor, Dr. Griggs, had not been able to find any medical problems with the girls and stated, "An evil hand is on them." This was the beginning of the hysteria. People of high status in the village were reminded of the earlier Goodwin children and beckoned the girls to name those who were responsible for their pain and fits.

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