The Salem Journal: The Hysteria

Witches' Remise

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Witches Are Everywhere

By Roxanne N

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Witches are very peculiar; they sometimes blend in to the normal crowd. But The Salem Journal has investigated, and studied court procedures.

Ways to Find a Witch On Your Own

Witches have signed the Devil's book, so they do not go to church. Witches cannot recite the Lord's Prayer word for word. Witches also practice black and white magic. White magic is when one uses good luck charms. Those who practice white magic are punished very slightly. People who practice black magic have the intent to hurt and kill. Brigit Bishop (the first to be hanged) was accused of black magic; two workers found a rag doll used for black magic in her cellar.

Court of Oyer and Terminer Witch Determiners

Previously in the beginning of this year (1692), the witch identifiers consisted of the afflicted girls having fits while the witches are in court, the girls wailing if the accused denied witchcraft, or the afflicted one giving spectral evidence. If this occurred, accused were witches. If the accused confessed to witchcraft, they were guilty. The accused witches' land was taken away by the government. If the witch would not admit to witchcraft, the government would sentence them to death by hanging. But now, in the summer of 1692, the Court of Oyer and Terminer have different ways of determining witches.

If the accused witch can't recite the Lord's Prayer without disruption, they are a witch, and are to be hanged. If an accused witch does not admit to being a witch, they are to be hanged. Since water represents purity, a non-witch will sink, as an acceptance that they are pure, where as a witch will float to the top, as the pure water will not accept them. To test this, the court magistrates tie the accused witch to a chair. If the accused floats that person is a witch, if they sink, they are innocent. A witch has two circular marks that are supposedly from the Devil. Sticking a needle through the bite marks determines innocence or guiltiness. If the accused one bleeds, or feels pain, they are innocent. If not they are guilty as witches and are to be put to death. The accused witch is asked to touch the one that was afflicted by the torturing from the witch's specter. If the tortured one screamed at the touch of the witch, they were guilty, and if the afflicted one did nothing, they were innocent.

There are three different scenarios of accusations made. One may plead guiltiness to practicing witchcraft if they are accused. One can accuse a person if they have seen them practice witchcraft, or if the afflicted has been tortured by the accused. An example of this is when Brigit Bishop was accused by the ones she had afflicted. One can accuse another even if the accuser is a witch. They can do so only if there is evidence that the person they are accusing is a witch. An example of this would be when Tituba accused Sarah Good and Sarah Osborne.

To avoid being accused or being sentenced to death the following should be pursued:

  1. Go to church more often than normal.
  2. If someone were accused, the best way to get out of it would be to accuse someone else who has been torturing you immediately.
  3. A person might try to flee Salem, which is not a bad idea, but it is hard to leave Salem if you do not have money to do so.
  4. One could plead innocence, but they would have to face the court with no lawyer, and would be asked to explain the reasons why they are innocent. If the court unanimously found the accused one guilty, they should be hanged in Gallows Hall.

The court of Oyer and Terminer has found a more effective way to sort out witches from the innocent. It is better to do things this way because there are more accurate sentences, and better ways to determine innocence and guiltiness.

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