HI Everyone, my name is ThomasMaule. I am aQuaker man who lived through theSalem Witch Trials. When they first began, I, sadly, was a partof them. However, I later realized howhorrific these trials were. I even published a pamphlet to call myfellow Quakers out and to say that God would be displeased with such actions
The Salem WitchTrials took place, here, in colonial Massachusetts between 1692 and 1693. More than 200 people were accused of practicing witchcraft and 20 were executed. Many religious people of my time had a strong beliefthat witches were people who, essentially, soldtheir soul to the devilin exchange for supernatural powers to harm others. Salem's Witch Trials, however, started asthe rest of the world's execution of these "witches"came to an end.
The reason why this started in Salem can be traced back to England. In 1689, English rulers William and Mary started a war with France in the American colonies. Known as King William's War to colonists, it ravagedvarious colonies and sent many refugees to Salem. This overflow of new people caused strain on the town's resources. Consequently, arguments among the people broke out.Controversy also brewed over Reverend Samuel Parris, who became Salem Village's first ordained minister in 1689, and was disliked because of his rigid ways and greedy nature. This was veryconcerning to the Quakers because they believed all this arguing was the work of the devil.
In January of 1692, Reverend Parris' daughter Elizabeth, age 9, and niece Abigail Williams, age 11, started having "fits." They screamed, threw things, uttered peculiar sounds and contorted themselves into strange positions, and a local doctor blamed the supernatural. Another girl, Ann Putnam, age 11, experienced similar episodes. On February 29, under pressure from magistrates Jonathan Corwin and John Hathorne, the girls blamed three women for afflicting them: Tituba, the Parris' Caribbean slave; Sarah Good, a homeless beggar; and Sarah Osborne, an elderly impoverished woman.
All three women were brought before the local magistrates, starting on March 1, 1692. Osborne claimed innocence, as did Good. But Tituba confessed, "The Devil came to me and bid me serve him." She described elaborate images of black dogs, red cats, yellow birds and a "black man" who wanted her to sign his book. She said there were several other witches looking to destroy the Puritans. All three women were put in jail.
These claims are not where the story ends, sadly. After this, the Quakers were riddled with paranoia. Many others would behung or killed in other ways, on the grounds that they practiced witchcraft.