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Salem Witch Trials Essay

935 words - 4 pages

Sorcery in Salem began its mass hysteria in January 1692 when Dr. William Griggs diagnosed the first girls with being “bewitched”. He was the only physician in the village and since his educational background is unknown, we do not know exactly what education he has in the medical field but we assume that he had some medical training since he was the doctor in the village. Both of the young girls that was diagnosed as “bewitched” was Reverend Samuel Parris’s own daughter and niece. (Lawson, 2007) According to psychologist Linnda Caporeal, in 1976, she believed that the girls that were considered to be “bewitched” because of the symptoms that they displayed could have very well been symptoms ...view middle of the document...

The swimming test was considered one of the most famous tests to be used when convicting someone of being “bewitched”. It was a pass/fail type of test but you never could actually pass the test. They stripped the convicted person down to the underclothes, dragged to the nearest river, and tossed in. If they floated, they were a witch and were to be executed and if they drowned then they knew that they were not a witch, but you still lost your life. So really, where’s the win? If you did not die by drowning, you were took to the stake and burned alive.
Another well-known test to determine if someone was “bewitched” was the prayer test. The prayer test consisted of having the accused recite selections from the bible because it was believed that people who were “bewitched” could not recite them without getting a nervous tick because of the demonic evil that was living inside of them. (…) This test alone was enough to be used as evidence and to convict them. An example of this test being used to convict someone of being “bewitched” was in 1712 on Jane Wenham. She was accused of being “bewitched” and when asked to recite the Lord’s Prayer, she struggled getting out the words “forgive us our trespassers” and “lead us not into temptation”. Even though she recited the whole prayer as asked, because she struggled saying just nine words, she was not acquitted of the charges against her.
The final test that was used to determine if a person was “bewitched” was the touch test. The touch test was designed to test if a person was “bewitched” by having them enter a room and laying a hand on a person who is not considered to be “bewitched”. If the person who is being touched has no reaction to the touch of the accused, then this is a clear sign of...

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