In January of 1692, the daughter and niece of Reverend Samuel Parris of Salem Village became ill. William Griggs, the village doctor, was called in when they failed to improve. His diagnosis of bewitchment put into motion the forces that would ultimately result in the hanging deaths of nineteen men and women. In addition, one man was crushed to death; several others died in prison, and the lives of many were irrevocably changed.

To understand the events of the Salem witch trials, it is necessary to examine the times in which accusations of witchcraft occurred. There were the ordinary stresses of 17th-century life in the Massachusetts Bay Colony. A strong belief in the devil, factions among Salem Village families and rivalry with nearby Salem Town combined with a recent small pox epidemic and the threat of attack by warring tribes created a fertile ground for fear and suspicion. Soon, prisons were filled with more than 150 men and women from towns surrounding Salem; their names had been “cried out” by tormented young girls as the cause of their pain. All would await trial for a crime punishable by death in 17th-century New England – the practice of witchcraft.

In June of 1692, the special Court of Oyer (to hear) and Terminer (to decide) sat in Salem to hear the cases of witchcraft. Presided over by Chief Justice William Stoughton, the court was made up of magistrates and jurors. The first to be tried was Bridget Bishop of Salem who was found guilty and was hanged on June 10. Thirteen women and five men from all stations of life followed her to the gallows on three successive hanging days before the court was disbanded by Governor William Phipps in October of that year. The Superior Court of Judicature, formed to replace the “witchcraft” court, did not allow spectral evidence. This belief in the power of the accused to use their invisible shapes or spectres to torture their victims had sealed the fates of those tried by the Court of Oyer and Terminer. The new court released those awaiting trial and pardoned those awaiting execution. In effect, the Salem witch trials were over.

As years passed, apologies were offered and restitution was made to the victims’ families. Historians and sociologists have examined this most complex episode in our history so that we may understand the issues of that era and view subsequent events with heightened awareness. The parallels between the Salem witch trials and more modem examples of “witch hunting” like the McCarthy hearings of the 1950’s, are remarkable.

Learn more here:
Salem Witch Trials Documentary Archives
Salem Witch Trials Weekly, produced by the Salem Witch Museum
Bewitchment in Salem, produced by the Salem Witch Museum in conjunction with SATV
The Salem Witch Trials: A Day-by-Day Chronicle of a Community Under Siege by Marilynne K. Roach (Jul 22, 2004)

Or click the categories below to learn more about this historical time.

“The True 1692” 3D Film

Visit CinemaSalem at the Museum Place Mall, and learn about the Salem Witch Trials of 1692 in a 3D documentary. Showtimes are available at CinemaSalem.com.

Cry Innocent

Cry Innocent

Critically-acclaimed live reenactment of the witchcraft examination of Bridget Bishop. Featured on The Travel Channel, NPR, TLC, and more. ♿

Gallows Hill

Gallows Hill

Immerse yourself in the facts, myths & legends surrounding the witch trials. Witness ghosts & more with our live theatre experience! Five-star-rating on TripAdvisor. Group…

Salem Wax Museum

Salem Wax Museum of Witches & Seafarers

Salem’s original wax museum, family-owned and operated for over two decades! London-made wax figures depicting Salem’s history from the witch trials hysteria and bold seafarers….

Salem Witch Hunt

Salem Witch Hunt Film & Tours

Learn about true causes and events behind Salem’s witchcraft hysteria through our Salem Witch Hunt film (35 minutes) featuring reenactors at actual 1692 locations and…

Salem Witch Museum

Salem Witch Museum

The Salem Witch Museum is Salem’s most visited museum. Open year round with extended hours throughout the summer and October. We are the perfect start…

Salem Witch Village

Guided by a practicing witch, discover the myths and the facts surrounding witches and their craft! For the answers and truth behind the legends, make…

Witch House

The Witch House

Salem’s only building with direct ties to the witch trials, the 17th century home of Judge Jonathon Corwin. Open daily mid-March through November. Call for…

Witch Dungeon

Witch Dungeon Museum

Award-winning live reenactment of a 1692 witch trial, followed by a guided tour of the dungeon. The most exciting experience in Salem. Open daily 10am-5pm…

Witch History Museum

Witch History Museum

Experience all the historical stories surrounding Salem’s 1692 witch trials told through an interactive tour. Walk among 15 life-sized scenes depicting these tragic untold stories…

Within the Witching Hour- Live Spell Casting

A live spell casting presentation by a practicing witch that will take you through the steps of a ritual circle creating a sacred space, magical…

From the Calendar

Annual Psychic Fair and Witchcraft Expo

Explore the future with a psychic reading at Salem’s longest-running psychic fair! Hosted by Christian Day, Brian Cain, and the Witches of Salem, The Annual…

Authentic Salem Séance with Psychic Medium Kyri Spencer

Take a trip through the Veil Between the Worlds with acclaimed medium Kyri Spencer. Hear the spirits’ messages through many different means, including psychometry. Attune…

Authentic Salem Séance with Psychic Medium Yulia Applewood

Take a trip through the Veil Between the Worlds with acclaimed medium Yulia Applewood. Hear the spirits’ messages through many different means, including psychometry. Attune…

Creative Healing Circle

Join Rebecca Newman, MA, E-RYT, in creating a sacred space to empower each other and cultivate a sense of peace. We will explore numerous art…

Death and Rebirth: Ritual Transformation

Join Salem Witch elder and high priestess Sandra Mariah Power as you draw on the magic of Salem, the power of Witchcraft, and the strength…

Full Moon Guided Meditation for Clearing and Gratitude

Twice monthly guided meditations starting promptly at 8pm. Arrival between 7-8 is encouraged. Our “Witching Hour” of political action runs from 7-8. Early meditation attendees…

Graveyard Conjure

Join traditional Hoodoo worker Sen Moise as you learn to connect with your ancestors who walk beside you through the magical power of the graveyard….

House Plants 101 with Niche Urban Garden Supply

Get started on your houseplant journey! Houseplants 101 is an introductory houseplant course designed to introduce the novice indoor gardener to a variety of plants…

Intro to Tarot Workshop

Come learn the basics of Tarot at Circle of Stitches! In this workshop, you will learn about Jungian principles and how tarot relates to these….

Introduction to Tarot Workshop

This introductory workshop will help you gain a basic understanding of the Tarot deck and how it’s used, do your own mini-readings, and have a…

Make a Full Moon Woven Wall Hanging

Join us for a night of witchy fiber arts! No prior experience necessary! Whether you’re a long time fiber lover or have never touched yarn…

Make Your Own Lotions and Salves

Bring out your inner herbal witch at Circle of Stitches! Treat yourself to this workshop where you’ll learn how to make your own herbal moisturizing…

Messages from the Spirit World: A Séance with Kyri Spencer

Take a trip through the Veil Between the Worlds with acclaimed medium Kyri Spencer. Hear the spirits’ messages through many different means, including psychometry. Attune…

Messages from the Spirit World: An Authentic Salem Seance

Step into the Spirit Parlor of OMEN and experience an authentic séance in Salem with true spirit mediums who were born with the uncanny ability…

New Moon Guided Meditation for Intention Setting and Manifesting

Twice monthly guided meditations starting promptly at 8pm. Arrival between 7-8 is encouraged. Our “Witching Hour” of political action runs from 7-8. Early meditation attendees…

Niche Urban Garden Pop-up

Visit HausWitch and say hey to their fave plant people! Pick out a new green friend or a budding buddy for your coffee table or…

Omen Wheel of the Year – Autumnal Equinox

This is a free event and open to the public. Join Mama Kyri, Lady Steale and Lady Ginger as we spin the Wheel once more!…

Omen Wheel of the Year Celebration – Lughnassad

The Omen Lughnassad Open Ritual is a free event and is open to the public. Join Mama Kyri, Lady Steale and Lady Ginger as we…

Portal to the Spirit World: Through Necromanteum with Rosemary Ellen

Join paranormal expert Rosemary Ellen Guiley as you voyage into the shadowy doorway that bridges our world with the afterlife! Since ancient times, darkened mirrors…

Red Antler Apothecary Pop-up at HausWitch

Come see the makers of the Full Moon Bath Bomb! The Red Antler crew will be slinging beer shampoo, a variety of soaps, moisturizers, balms,…

Salem Haunted Happenings 2017

A festive celebration of Halloween and fall in New England, more than 250,000 people come to Salem Haunted Happenings each year.  Events include a Grand…

Speaking to the Dead with Laurie Cabot

Join Salem’s Official Witch, Laurie Cabot, as you learn to communicate with loved ones on the Other Side! High Priestess and Founder of the Cabot…

Tarot Experiment Opening Night

Opening Night for The Tarot Experiment! Enjoy a tarot-themed evening of performance art, video, spoken word & music. The Tarot Experiment is an ongoing show…

Tarot Salon

A monthly gathering to practice the tarot together Learn new spreads and magical skills. Individual, partner, and group readings. All levels welcome! Tickets ($12) may…

The Dumb Supper: Dinner with the Dead

Join the Salem Witches as we honor the dead with a dinner observed in utter silence. Salem Warlocks Christian Day and Brian Cain invite you…

The Mourning Tea: Remembering the Dead

Join Salem Witches Leanne Marrama and Sandra Mariah Wright for a 3-course High Tea in grand Victorian tradition. Don your finest mourning attire and celebrate…

The Official Salem Witches’ Halloween Ball: Signs of the Zodiac

Join Christian Day, Brian Cain, and the Witches of Salem with guests Dragon Ritual Drummers for a night of magic, music, and powerful rituals at…

The Salem Witches’ Magic Circle

Join Christian Day, Brian Cain, Leanne Marrama, and Sandra Mariah Wright with the Dragon Ritual Drummers as Witches from around the globe gather for the…

The Tarot Experiment

Immerse yourself in the mystical tarot! The Tarot Experiment uses video, spoken word, original music and performance art to explore themes found in tarot cards. Enrich your Salem…

The Witch’s Familiar: Conjuring Animal Spirits

Join Witchdoctor Utu, as you learn to connect with and conjure the spirits of the animal kingdom, known through history and magical lore as the…

The Witches Three

Gaze into the world of the magickal witch! The Witches Three  ​is an October event with live music and theatrical performance, centered around The Witch in her many aspects….

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