Witchcraft of Salem Village by Shirley Jackson

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In 1692, Salem Village was a small community of Puritans located near Salem, Massachusetts.

A group of adolescent girls decided to form a club.  They enjoyed listening to Tituba, a slave from West India, talk about her childhood and the pagan worship practices of her family.

The girls accused Tituba of witchcraft.  They would throw themselves on the ground, roll around, and scream.  They claimed they were being tormented by the witch.  Tituba was convicted of witchcraft based on the girl’s performance.  Immediately after that, the girls started accusing other residents.  They even accused a five year old girl, who was then convicted of witchcraft.

A little over a year later, hundreds of people had been accused and convicted.  Most of them were in prison; however, nineteen had already been executed and an unknown number of victims died in prison.

The witch trials were starting to have a negative impact on the whole community.  Farms were left abandoned and food was becoming scarce.  Slowly, people stopped believing the girls and ignored their antics.

Years later, the judges admitted they convicted innocent people based solely on the girl’s claims of being tormented by witches.

I wonder what became of those girls.  They are responsible for sending people to their death.  The only thing they had to gain was fame and entertainment.  Did they feel guilty for their role in this tragedy?  Was the ring leader a sociopath?

3 thoughts on “Witchcraft of Salem Village by Shirley Jackson

  1. The witch trials fascinate me too. It shows how easy it is to instill mass hysteria and get a community (country) to commit atrocious acts with no proof of quilt. I, too, wonder what happened to the girls. They really should have been punished for their roll in these “murders,” but the town probably just wanted to put it behind them. I can’t imagine being one of them and seeing someone drowned because of what I had done. It’s sad.

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