Twenty Executed for Witchery

Twenty men and women were put to death. They were all accused of being witches. All together, 50 people were accused; only those who denied being witches were hanged.

Accusations of witchcraft were not new. They occurred throughout the history of Christianity. In Massachusetts, between 1630 and 1690 there had been 24 indictments for witchcraft, seven convictions and 5 executions. In February 1692, the daughter and niece of Samuel Parris began to show fits which the local doctor called signs of witchcraft. Before long, accusations of witchcraft were being spread everywhere. Children accused parents and parents accused children. The only way to avoid being executed was to confess. When you confessed, you were expected to name your "fellow" witches. The hysteria finally ended, when wives of prominent colonists began to be accused and it became clear that whatever the causes, things had gone too far.