A tragic event that occurred in America during the year 1692 was the Salem Witch Trials. This took place in the city of Salem, Massachusetts. A group of young girls claimed that they were being controlled by the devil. Over the next year they accused several women and a few men of being involved in witchcraft. Back then many people believed that magic, spells, and witches were real. The only form of government Massachusetts had believed that the accusations the girls made were true. The victims of the accusers were to either confess they were witches or be hanged. The events that took place in Salem in 1692, are an important part of our history that explains how broken the system was and how easy it was to persecute innocent people.
In the beginning, the people of Salem, Massachusetts believed that if anything out of the ordinary happened it was because of the supernatural. It all started when a group of girls started to show signs of demonic possession. They would make strange noises, lay in bed for hours without moving, and their moods changed. The girls began naming many individuals who had possessed them when asked by their elders. One of the first individuals that was accused was Tituba; a West Indian slave who told one of the girls stories about witchcraft. Over the next while, the girls accused around 200 people. If the accused witches admitted that they were witches, they would not die but be sent to prison until their trial. If they denied that they were witches, they would be hanged. Overall, nineteen people died by hanging, one died by being crushed, and at least seven died in prison.
Furthermore, the Salem Witch Trials ended because the stories that the girls were telling were becoming more and more unbelievable and even the people of that horrible time in our history recognized it. This is evidenced by the fact that, as the communities were so small, the accusers were running out of people to accuse. One thing that most definitely put a stop to the accusations was when they accused the wife of the Governor of Massachusetts of being involved in witchcraft. By the time this happened, several ministers began believing that there were many innocent individuals that were being accused and executed for witchcraft entirely based off untrue evidence. As a result, the people that confessed to being involved in witchcraft asked for a retrial to recant their recent confessions.
Ultimately, there were many theories of why the girls told such horrific lies. One theory was that their food was spoiled, and it caused the girls to hallucinate. Another theory was the poor weather they had in Salem, Massachusetts that could have caused the witches to start performing witchcraft. This tragic event is an extremely important part of our American history because it proves that even hundreds of years ago lying could send anyone to prison. Luckily, the remaining people in prison were released and the current people that were being accused were never indicted. Overall, the outcome of this tragic event was the unfortunate deaths of completely innocent people because of ignorance and unlawful convictions.
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