In cases where a possessed person fell into spells or fits, the suspected witch would be brought into the room and asked to a lay a hand on them. A non-reaction signaled innocence, but if the victim came out of their fit, it was seen as proof that the suspect had placed them under a spell.
What kind of evidence did the courts have of witchcraft?
Courts relied on three kinds of evidence: 1) confession, 2) testimony of two eyewitnesses to acts of witchcraft, or 3) spectral evidence (when the afflicted girls were having their fits, they would interact with an unseen assailant – the apparition of the witch tormenting them).
Was there any evidence in the Salem witch trials?
One of the reasons that the witch trials stand out in the history of early American law is that the court admitted spectral evidence to the proceedings. Spectral evidence was testimony in which witnesses claimed that the accused appeared to them and did them harm in a dream or a vision.
How did the accusations of witchcraft in Salem begin?
The infamous Salem witch trials began during the spring of 1692, after a group of young girls in Salem Village, Massachusetts, claimed to be possessed by the devil and accused several local women of witchcraft. … By September 1692, the hysteria had begun to abate and public opinion turned against the trials.
What are some possible reasons the accusations of witchcraft were made?
Somebody new to a community might be accused of witchcraft because his or her neighbours were suspicious of them. Sometimes a person might pretend to be bewitched because it was a way of making money. People were more suspicious of witchcraft when the harvest failed, as they looked to find a cause.
What is spectral evidence based on?
Spectral evidence is a form of evidence based on dreams and visions. It was witness testimony that a person’s spirit or specter appeared to the witness in a dream or vision and afflicted them.
What is one potential shortcoming of allowing spectral evidence in a witch trial?
However, spectral evidence was rarely used to secure a conviction, as theologians were unable to agree that the Devil could not take on the shape of an innocent person. The debate about the validity of spectral evidence rose to a climax with the Bury St Edmunds witch trial of 1662, and the Salem witch trials of 1692–3.
What happened to the Salem witch accusers?
What Happened to the Girls? Most of the accusers in the Salem trials went on to lead fairly normal lives. Betty Parris, Elizabeth Booth, Sarah Churchill, Mary Walcott, and Mercy Lewis eventually married and had families. … Ann Putnam, Jr. , stayed in Salem Village for the rest of her life.
What were the Salem witches accused of?
The Salem witch trials occurred in colonial Massachusetts between 1692 and 1693. More than 200 people were accused of practicing witchcraft—the Devil’s magic—and 20 were executed. Eventually, the colony admitted the trials were a mistake and compensated the families of those convicted.
Why was spectral evidence allowed in Salem witch trials?
It was accepted in the courts during the Salem Witch Trials. The evidence was accepted on the basis that the devil and his minions were powerful enough to send their spirits, or specters, to pure, religious people in order to lead them astray.
Who was the first woman accused of witchcraft in Salem?
It was because of this “evidence” that 19 people were hanged and one man was pressed to death during the Salem Witch Trials of 1692. The first person to be tried, found guilty, and hanged on June 10, was the innocent Bridget Bishop.
Who was the first person accused of witchcraft in The Crucible?
Tituba was the first person to be accused of practicing witchcraft by Elizabeth Parris and Abigail Williams. It has been theorized that Tituba told the girls tales of voodoo and witchcraft prior to the accusations.
Which person was most likely to be accused of witchcraft in Salem?
Most accusers were teenage girls
The accusers were generally young females between the ages of 11 and 20. The mischief began when a group of girls accused Tituba, a slave from South America who had told their fortunes, of witchcraft after they became mysteriously ill.
When was the last woman tried for witchcraft?
Records show that the last person to be convicted under the Witchcraft Act was Jane Rebecca Yorke in late 1944. Due to her age (she was in her seventies) she received a comparatively lenient sentence and was fined.
What does Elizabeth ask John to do?
What does Elizabeth ask John to do? She wants John to go to Salem and tell the court what Abigail had said to him about the incident in the woods.
The Salem witch trials and executions came about as the result of a combination of church politics, family feuds, and hysterical children, all of which unfolded in a vacuum of political authority.