What was the cause of the Salem Witch Trials? In the 300 hundred years since the Witch Trials in Salem, there has been much speculation concerning whether those accused of witchcraft in 1692, were in fact witches or merely the object of the hysteria that raged through New England at the time. So how did it begin and why were these innocent girls accused of witchcraft?.
The Salem Witch Trials hysteria occurred in Salem, Massachusetts between 1692 and 1693. A total of 141 people were arrested, 19 people were hanged and one was crushed to death (SWT internet 3).
It all started off when Rev. Samuel Parris before coming a minister, worked as a merchant in Barbados. In his return to Massachusetts he brought back two slaves. One of the slaves, Tituba, his nine-year-old daughter Elizabeth called Betty and his eleven-year-old niece Abigail. Tituba passed on stories to the other girls about voodoo. They soon became very interested in it and began playing with it all the time. One time when the other girls in the village knew about it, they all got into it and they all started telling each other's fortune. They did this by floating an egg white in a glass on water and predicted their future husbands. Betty started to feel ill and not long after the other girls in the village started to feel the same way and started to see things that weren't there. " Its hard to say whether the girls believed they were possessed or whether the whole thing started as an act which got out of control." (Drake 56).
People in the village believed witches gained their power from the devil. It was decided to find the witches responsible for all the hysteria going around with the girls seeing things and hallucinating and kill them. All the girls accused Tituba for all the problems going around that the village thought was witchcraft since she was the one who brought it over. The first to be accused were Tituba, Sarah Good, and Sarah Osborne.