During the Salem witch trials, a group of women and men were accused of practicing witchcraft and causing afflictions. This is known as a “witch hunt.” While many people believed in witchcraft, the trials were based on a series of accusations and false evidence. The trials were used as a tool to justify the imprisonment and execution of many innocent people. The trials of 1692 are still remembered today. Many descendants of the accusers and victims live around the world and visit Salem, MA to trace their roots. Witch hunts have a long history of happening throughout Europe and in the United States. They continue to happen around the world today.
The seventeenth-century sky was crow black, Bible black, so dark that one heard more acutely, felt more passionately, and imagined more vividly. It was the kind of night, in isolated settlements like Salem Village, when a storm might blow the roof off your house and send you scrambling through the woods to find safety.
In the dark, a specter might appear and offer “a vast confession of all their villainies,” as Cotton Mather put it. This might seem a bold claim, but Mather hoped to prove that the devil was conspiring against New England. He had already embroidered on court reports details that do not exist in the surviving records: a smell of brimstone, money raining down, a corner of a sheet ripped from a spectre.