What evil spirit have you
Have you made no contract with the devil?
Why do you hurt these children?
I do not hurt them. I scorn it.
Who do you imploy then to do it?
I imploy no body.
What creature do you imploy then?
No creature. I am falsely
Dialogue based on the examination of Sarah
Good by Judges Hathorne and Corwin,
from The Salem Witchcraft Papers, Book II, p.355
- January 20
- Nine-year-old Elizabeth Parris and
eleven-year-old Abigail Williams began to exhibit strange behavior,
such as blasphemous screaming, convulsive seizures, trance-like
states and mysterious spells. Within a short time, several other
Salem girls began to demonstrate similar behavior.
- Unable to determine any physical cause for
the symptoms and dreadful behavior, physicians concluded that the
girls were under the influence of Satan.
- Late February
- Prayer services and community fasting were
conducted by Reverend Samuel Parris in hopes of relieving the evil
forces that plagued them. In an effort to expose the "witches",
John Indian baked a witch cake made with rye meal and the afflicted
girls' urine. This counter-magic was meant to reveal the identities
of the "witches" to the afflicted girls.
Pressured to identify the source of their
affliction, the girls named three women, including Tituba, Parris'
Carib Indian slave, as witches. On February 29, warrants were
issued for the arrests of Tituba, Sarah Good and Sarah
Although Osborne and Good maintained
innocence, Tituba confessed to seeing the devil who appeared to her
"sometimes like a hog and sometimes like a great dog". What's more,
Tituba testified that there was a conspiracy of witches at work in
- March 1
- Magistrates John Hathorne and Jonathan
Corwin examined Tituba, Sarah Good, and Sarah Osborne in the
meeting house in Salem Village. Tituba confessed to practicing
Over the next weeks, other townspeople came
forward and testified that they, too, had been harmed by or had
seen strange apparitions of some of the community members. As the
witch hunt continued, accusations were made against many different
Frequently denounced were women whose
behavior or economic circumstances were somehow disturbing to the
social order and conventions of the time. Some of the accused had
previous records of criminal activity, including witchcraft, but
others were faithful churchgoers and people of high standing in the
- March 12
- Martha Corey is accused of
- March 19
- Rebecca Nurse was denounced as a
- March 21
- Martha Corey was examined before
Magistrates Hathorne and Corwin.
- March 24
- Rebecca Nurse was examined before
Magistrates Hathorne and Corwin.
- March 28
- Elizabeth Proctor was denounced as a
- April 3
- Sarah Cloyce, Rebecca Nurse's sister, was
accused of witchcraft.
- April 11
- Elizabeth Proctor and Sarah Cloyce were
examined before Hathorne, Corwin, Deputy Governor Thomas Danforth,
and Captain Samuel Sewall. During this examination, John Proctor
was also accused and imprisoned.
- April 19
- Abigail Hobbs, Bridget Bishop, Giles
Corey, and Mary Warren were examined. Only Abigail Hobbs
"I can deny it to my dying day."
- April 22
- Nehemiah Abbott, William and Deliverance
Hobbs, Edward and Sarah Bishop, Mary Easty, Mary Black, Sarah
Wildes, and Mary English were examined before Hathorne and Corwin.
Only Nehemiah Abbott was cleared of charges.
- May 2
- Sarah Morey, Lydia Dustin, Susannah
Martin, and Dorcas Hoar were examined by Hathorne and
"I will speak the truth as long as I
- May 4
- George Burroughs was arrested in Wells,
- May 9
- Burroughs was examined by Hathorne,
Corwin, Sewall, and William Stoughton. One of the afflicted girls,
Sarah Churchill, was also examined.
- May 10
- George Jacobs, Sr. and his granddaughter
Margaret were examined before Hathorne and Corwin. Margaret
confessed and testified that her grandfather and George Burroughs
were both witches.
Sarah Osborne died in prison in
"... They told me if I would not confess I should be put down
into the dungeon and would be hanged, but if I would confess I
should save my life."
- May 14
- Increase Mather returned from England,
bringing with him a new charter and the new governor, Sir William
- May 18
- Mary Easty was released from prison. Yet,
due to the outcries and protests of her accusers, she was arrested
a second time.
- May 27
- Governor Phips set up a special Court of
Oyer and Terminer comprised of seven judges to try the witchcraft
cases. Appointed were Lieutenant Governor William Stoughton,
Nathaniel Saltonstall, Bartholomew Gedney, Peter Sergeant, Samuel
Sewall, Wait Still Winthrop, John Richards, John Hathorne, and
These magistrates based their judgments and
evaluations on various kinds of intangible evidence, including
direct confessions, supernatural attributes (such as "witchmarks"),
and reactions of the afflicted girls. Spectral evidence, based on
the assumption that the Devil could assume the "specter" of an
innocent person, was relied upon despite its controversial
- May 31
- Martha Carrier, John Alden, Wilmott Redd,
Elizabeth Howe, and Phillip English were examined before Hathorne,
Corwin, and Gedney.
- June 2
- Initial session of the Court of Oyer and
Terminer. Bridget Bishop was the first to be pronounced guilty of
witchcraft and condemned to death.
- Early June
- Soon after Bridget Bishop's trial,
Nathaniel Saltonstall resigned from the court, dissatisfied with
- June 10
- Bridget Bishop was hanged in Salem, the
first official execution of the Salem witch trials.
"I am no witch. I am innocent. I know nothing of
Following her death, accusations of
witchcraft escalated, but the trials were not unopposed. Several
townspeople signed petitions on behalf of accused people they
believed to be innocent.
- June 29-30
- Rebecca Nurse, Susannah Martin, Sarah
Wildes, Sarah Good and Elizabeth Howe were tried for witchcraft and
"Oh Lord, help me! It is false. I am clear. For my life now
lies in your hands...."
- In an effort to expose the witches
afflicting his life, Joseph Ballard of nearby Andover enlisted the
aid of the accusing girls of Salem. This action marked the
beginning of the Andover witch hunt.
- July 19
- Rebecca Nurse, Susannah Martin, Elizabeth
Howe, Sarah Good, and Sarah Wildes were executed.
"If it was the last moment I was to live, God knows I am
"I have no hand in witchcraft."
- August 2-6
- George Jacobs, Sr., Martha Carrier, George
Burroughs, John and Elizabeth Proctor, and John Willard were tried
for witchcraft and condemned.
"...I am wronged. It is a shameful thing that you should mind
these folks that are out of their wits."
- August 19
- George Jacobs, Sr., Martha Carrier, George
Burroughs, John Proctor, and John Willard were hanged on Gallows
"Because I am falsely accused. I never did
- September 9
- Martha Corey, Mary Easty, Alice Parker,
Ann Pudeator, Dorcas Hoar, and Mary Bradbury were tried and
"I do plead not guilty. I am wholly innocent of such
- September 17
- Margaret Scott, Wilmott Redd, Samuel
Wardwell, Mary Parker, Abigail Faulkner, Rebecca Eames, Mary Lacy,
Ann Foster, and Abigail Hobbs were tried and condemned.
- September 19
- Giles Corey was pressed to death for
refusing a trial.
- September 21
- Dorcas Hoar was the first of those
pleading innocent to confess. Her execution was
- September 22
- Martha Corey, Margaret Scott, Mary Easty,
Alice Parker, Ann Pudeator, Wilmott Redd, Samuel Wardwell, and Mary
Parker were hanged.
- October 8
- After 20 people had been executed in the
Salem witch hunt, Thomas Brattle wrote a letter criticizing the
witchcraft trials. This letter had great impact on Governor Phips,
who ordered that reliance on spectral and intangible evidence no
longer be allowed in trials.
- October 29
- Governor Phips dissolved the Court of Oyer
- November 25
- The General Court of the colony created
the Superior Court to try the remaining witchcraft cases which took
place in May, 1693. This time no one was convicted.
"...if it be possible no more innocent blood be shed...
...I am clear of this sin."