In May, 1692, in Salem, Massachusetts, one of the largest New England judicial processes on a charge of witchcraft began. During the Salem witch hunt, 19 people were sentenced to death by hanging; while from 175 to 200 people were under arrest. In May, 1693, Massachusetts governor pardoned the remaining defendants. In 1697, the court admitted the erroneous of the decision. In 1702, the judgment was declared illegal.
In January, 1692, in Salem, Samuel Parris’s, who was a local pastor, daughter and niece got sick. The causes of the disease and the diagnosis could not be established. Every day the girls felt worse. Symptoms of the disease were very strange: the children hid behind furniture, complained of vision, as well as being pinned by a prick, and a knife, and both had a high fever. The local doctor with no sufficient knowledge, after reading a well-known at that time book by pastor Cutter, became assure that the girls’ disease was the machinations of the devil and witchcraft of local witches. As proof of his diagnosis, Dr. William Griggs read the descriptions from the book.
After several days, one of the sick girls claimed that a girl Tituba, who was a slave at Parris’s house, was a witch. According to the kids, she was telling them about the witchcraft. Soon, the number of sick girls became bigger. The girls continued to name the witches in their village and the number of arrests grew. Stories of children and provocation of the authorities was not in vain, the population of Salem had a mass paranoia; they were suspecting everybody in the witchcraft.
The trial of the Salem witches began in May 1692. Judges were appointed by the Governor Phipps. William Stoughton was appointed as the president of the Court; he had no legal training and had been a fierce supporter of the witch hunt.
At the hearing there were rigid theological disputes. The court considered suspects guilty, because they have allowed the devil to use their human form to achieve his evil plans. The proof was the testimony of the sick girls. Opponents of judges proved that the Devil could use the defendants without their will; they insisted that the Devil did not require a permit for the abduction of the human soul. The Court asserted its position. The court passed the death sentence of 19 accused. During the trial, about two hundred people were under arrest.
In October 1692, many began to doubt the loyalty of the decisions made. The governor ordered to no longer use spectral evidence, he also forbade to test prisoners on belonging to the dark forces. He canceled arrests and ordered to release the suspects. The court’s decision on the Salem witch case was declared illegal in 1702.
In May, 1692, in Salem, Massachusetts, one of the largest New England judicial processes on a charge of witchcraft began. During the Salem witch hunt, 19 people were sentenced to death by hanging; while from 175 to 200 people were under arrest. In May, 1693, Massachusetts governor pardoned the remaining defendants. In 1697, the court admitted the erroneous of the decision.