Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Which Witch is Witch? - Salem Witch Trials

I've always had a particular fasination with Magic. Even before I knew the Harry Potter books existed, I loved pretending I had magical powers. From The Sword and the Stone to Kiki's Delivery Service, the media only sparked my interest. I guess it was fifth grade when I first heard about "The Salem Witch Trials." "Witches could have been real and stuff?" I was so intrigued by this little discovery of mine that I yearned to learn more about this particular part of colonial history.

So, in lue of Mary Walcott's anniversary of birth -- I thought I'd post a bit about the Salem Witch Trials

Meet Mary Walcott (July 5, 1875 -- sometime after 1719). The daughter of Captain Jonathan Walcott and his wife Mary Sibley, she was a witness in the Salem Witch Trials. Her Aunt, Mary Woodrow, was the wife of Samuel Sibley (he was the person who first showed Tituba and her husband John Indian how to bake a witch cake to feed to a dog, in order for her friends to determine who was afflicting them. Remember Tituba from The Cruicible? Yep, Susanne Walcott in The Crucible is believed to be based off of the real Mary Walcott.

Mary married Issac Farrar and had several children. They moved to Townsend, Massachussetts then Sutton, Massachussetts where Mary married David Hardwood and had nine children.

From May 1692 to May 1693, a series of trials were held to prosecute and accuse men and women of witchcraft. Events began to unfold when Betty Parris and her cousin Abigail Williams (the daughter and nieve of the reverend) began to have fits. These fits consisted of screaming, uttering, contorting and even complaining of being pinched and pricked with pins. As other young women in the village began having similar behavior such as Ann Putnam Jr. and Elizabeth Hubbard. Sarah Good, Sarah Osborne, and Tituba were the first people to have been arrested for witchcraft.

There is evidence of a family feud that could have been the cause in the start of the Trials, as there was a rivalry between the Putnam and Porter families.

Over 150 people were arrested and imprisoned in Salem, though only twenty-six were convicted (all those who were tried were convicted). Most of the accusations were made due to some sort of jealousy or greed. Neighbors saw it as a way to get back at people they did not like, or to gain land.

Odly enough, spells and charms were actively used in the colonies before the Salem Trials. This "magic" was based on the belief that Satan was on earth. Eventually "white magic" turned into "dark magic," and that is where the trouble begain. Whenever bad events happened in colonial communities, the supernatural was blamed.


  1. Hi. Thanks for following my blog.

    I have some ancestors who were in Salem, MA during the witch trials. I don't know if they were blaming or blamed though.

  2. That's fascinating, did any of them arrive to America on the May Flower?

  3. Magic has always fascinated me as well - is it wrong that I wish it was real? Though I'd be gutted if I was a Muggle in a magical world.

    I'm also hoping to go to Salem someday, it's meant to be a beautiful town despite its sad cruel history

  4. I completely agree, I wish that I could ride a broomstick and accio whatever I wanted from across the room. I was one of many who waited around for my letter when I turned 11.

    Salem is beautiful, and creepy. I went in the winter a few years back, so it wasn't during the tourist season, but I saw gorgeous old houses and still learned a lot about it's history.

  5. Me too. Though I'm curious to know what animal my Patronus would resemble!