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Salem Witch Trials

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Essay title: Salem Witch Trials

The Salem witch trials were held during the year 1692 in Salem, Massachusetts Bay

Colony. Beginning in May of that year, the proceedings led to the hanging deaths of

nineteen suspected witches and the imprisonment of many others over the five months

that would follow. The courtroom episodes of those being tried for witchery were

complete, and utter travesties of justice. Women were actually considered guilty as

accused until proven innocent. In addition to the known hangings, other cruel forms of

punishment such as the burning of "witches" on a stake and the slow torturous human

crushings by brick.

That which is said to have initiated the trials and related hysteria has become an

historical irony in our time and is the subject of many contemporary jokes and theatrical

performances. Caused by the accusations of a few young girls against women in the

Salem community; a special court was convened; and trials grew quickly into socially

stereotypical prejudices regarding any women seen acting out of or performing "witchery".

Within time the social chaos did not even exclude Salem's more prestigious women as the

local governors wife was even implicated in accusations of witchcraft. The dramatic irony

is re-exemplified through an examination of the young ladies who intentionally lied to a

religious authority and created the "spark" to cause the fire. Based entirely on their beliefs

and accusations, the fear and ignorance of an entire town led to hundreds of

imprisonment's and nearly twenty senseless deaths.

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