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Introduction 11 Chapter 1: Why a Witch-Hunt in Salem in 1692? 1. Theological and Political Conditions Made Salem Vulnerable by Richard Weisman 22 Anxiety about moral backsliding, tense negotia- tions with England over a new charter for the Massachusetts colony, and the intensified threat of Indian attack produced a sense of instability and fear by the early 1690s. The discovery of witches in Salem in 1692 exacerbated the sense of fear and failure in the colony. 2. Factional Politics Provoked the Crisis in Salem Village by Bryan E LeBeau 30 The dispute between the Putnam family (who supported Salem Village autonomy and Reverend Samuel Parris) and the Porter family (who had commercial ties to Salem Town and who chal- lenged Reverend Parris's claim to the parsonage) was a major part of the Salem witch crisis. Mem- bers of the Putnam family actively identified, accused, and testified against numerous "witches." 3. The Salem Witch-Hunt Was Driven by a Conspiracy by Enders A. Robinson 37 The Salem witch-hunt was not a product of mass hysteria but the work of an organized group of conspirators and their dependents. The chief conspirators included the extended Putnam family, the Parris family, and the Griggs family. 4. Devilish Hypocrites in the Church by Samuel Parris 43 In a sermon delivered on March 27, 1692, Rev- erend Samuel Parris compared church members who might be in league with the Devil to Judas, the betrayer of Christ, thus fueling suspicion in the community. 5. Reverend Samuel Parris Triggered the Witch-Hunt by Larry Gragg 46 Reverend Parris's reactions to the alarming behaviors exhibited by his daughter, his niece, and their friends produced fear and suspicion in Salem Village. Parris created an atmosphere of crisis by convening large group prayers and fasts and by preaching that prosperous church mem- bers as well as derelicts and outcasts could be witches. 6. Tituba's Testimony Exacerbated the Witch-Hunt by Elaine G. Breslaw 55 The testimony of Reverend Parris's West Indian servant, Tituba, confirmed the community's fear that the Devil was active in Massachusetts and powerful enough to corrupt clergymen as well as the most prosperous members of the community. Chapter 2: What Motivated the "Afflicted" Girls? 1. The Girls Were Consummate Actresses by Charles W. Upham 66 The accusing girls were not really afflicted by witches. They were play-acting, first to gain attention and later to avoid being condemned for false accusations. 2. Hysteria and Fear of Witchcraft Afflicted the Girls by Chadwick Hansen 72 The girls were not bewitched, but they thought they were. They were actually suffering from clinical hysteria, and their convulsions were psy- chosomatic responses to the fear that they were being afflicted by witches. 3. The Putnam Family's Accusations: A Case of Psychological Projection by Paul Boyer and Stephen Nissenbaum 79 The core group of "afflicted" females was from the family of Thomas Putnam Jr. The series of accusations made by this group reveals an obses- sive desire to eliminate psychological equivalents of Mary Veren Putnam, whom they considered responsible for their declining economic fortunes. 4. The Girls' Possession Was a Response to Stifling Social Conditions by Carol E Karlsen 87 The girls' behavior reveals the tension between their desire to conform to Puritan norms and their discontent with restrictive gender and social expectations. 5. The Girls Were Bewitched by Cotton Mather 95 Boston minister Cotton Mather, who had studied witchcraft and possession cases for years, consid- ered the girls bewitched. He also believed that those convicted of witchcraft were in fact guilty of afflicting the girls. Chapter 3: Why Would the Innocent Confess? 1. The Psychological Pressure to Confess During the Hearings by Paul Boyer and Stephen Nissenbaum 100 Several innocent people confessed to being witches during the hearings because of intense psychological pressure. Confessions released the afflicted girls from their painful convulsions and were interpreted as genuine efforts to achieve reconciliation with the community. 2. Confessions Elicited in the Jails by Larry Gragg 106 Some innocent people were harassed into confes- sion by fellow inmates in the jails; others were coerced by magistrates and ministers during long hours of interrogation. Family and friends were most successful since they urged confession as the safest way to avoid execution. 3. A Word of Caution About the Validity of Confessions by Mary Easty 113 In a petition to Governor Phips, convicted witch Mary Easty proclaimed her innocence and urged the governor to question separately the afflicted girls and the confessing witches, whom she feared had lied in court. 4. The Use of Torture to Elicit Confessions by John Proctor 115 John Proctor, who had been arrested for witch- craft, wrote from Salem prison to five ministers claiming that torture had been used on at least three young men to extort confessions. 5. Giles Corey's Silent Indictment of the Court by David C. Brown 117 Arrested as a witch, Giles Corey refused to stand trial, perhaps to express his contempt for a court which condemned to death all who claimed inno- cence. For "standing mute" the eighty-one-year- old man was crushed beneath heavy rocks placed on his chest one at a time, in a torture known as "pressing." 6.Judge Samuel Sewall Confesses Shame and Guilt by Samuel Sewall 127 Samuel Sewall was the only judge who later made a public statement about his culpability in the Salem witch trials. In 1697 he acknowledged his guilt as a member of the Court of Oyer and Ter- miner and asked pardon for his sins.