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In Massachusetts from 1692 to 1693, The Salem witch trials were a series of prosecutions (often hangings) due to the belief that the certain people possessed magical traits. During these times, anyone who was accused of being a ‘witch’ or suspected of ‘practicing witchcraft’ was sentenced to death. See below for more fascinating facts about the Salem witch trials or download the comprehensive worksheet pack which can be utilised within the classroom or home environment.
- The witch trials were held in Salem, Massachusetts, between February 1692 and May 1693. They were during the Colonial times.
- The first witch trial occurred because the daughter (Betty Parris) and niece (Abigail Williams) of the local Salem Reverend had become violently ill. The girls were having a type of epileptic fit and would scream out, move their bodies involuntarily and throw things across the room. The village doctor, William Griggs, diagnosed her as being ‘bewitched’ and the hunt for the ‘witch’ who had done this to her began.
- The first 3 women to be accused of witchcraft were all people who were frowned upon by local residents and seen as outcasts. One lived on the streets, one didn’t regularly attend church and one was a black slave.
- Anyone could request a trial if they concluded that a death or illness has been brought on by witchcraft. The suspected ‘witch’ would then be arrested.
- People were put on trial for ‘afflicting with witchcraft’ (making someone ill/die using magic) or ‘unlawful covenant with the Devil’.
- Most people didn’t have any evidence that these women actually used witchcraft to make someone ill. Often people would use ‘spectral evidence’ and tell the courts that they had seen the ghostly outline of the suspected witch in the room with them. This was generally accepted as evidence that the person was a witch because it was believed that the Devil could only appear as a ghost with a person’s permission. It was concluded that the ‘witch’ had given the Devil this permission.
- There were many ways in which people were tested for witchcraft. One method was a ‘witch cake’. This cake was made using urine from the ill girls and fed to a dog. When the dog ate the cake the witch would cry out in pain as if the dog was eating part of them!
- The ‘touch test’ was another method of testing for witchcraft. It was believe that if the accused witch touched their victim, and the victim’s symptoms stopped, it meant that it was them who caused the illness.
- Some people believed that witchcraft could be proved due to the appearance of ‘witch’s teats’ on the victim’s bodies. These were moles or blemishes on the skin that were insensitive to touch.
- Over 150 men and women were imprisoned because they were accused of witchcraft.
- 19 men and women were hanged, 1 man was crushed and 7 people died in prison.
- The place in Salem where the ‘witches’ were hanged became known as Gallows Hill. People would gather there to watch the latest witch be hanged.
- The witch trials eventually ended when Salem’s minister and his father urged people to consider the evidence they were presenting. The ‘spectral evidence’ of ghostly figures was declared to be not enough to condemn someone to death and the people imprisoned for suspected witchcraft were released.
Salem Witch Trials Worksheets
This bundle contains 11 ready-to-use Salem Witch Trials Worksheets that are perfect for students who want to learn more about The Salem witch trials which were a series of prosecutions (often hangings) due to the belief that the certain people possessed magical traits.
Download includes the following worksheets:
- Salem Witch Trials Facts
- Fact or Bluff
- Salem Witch Trials in Numbers
- Cotton Mather
- Eyewitness: Deodat Lawson
- Testimony of Abigail Hobbs
- Picture Analysis
- Grounds for Being a Witch
- Point of View
- Right or Wrong?
- Salem Today
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Link will appear as Salem Witch Trials Facts & Worksheets: https://kidskonnect.com - KidsKonnect, April 6, 2017
Use With Any Curriculum
These worksheets have been specifically designed for use with any international curriculum. You can use these worksheets as-is, or edit them using Google Slides to make them more specific to your own student ability levels and curriculum standards.