Salem Witchcraft Papers

The Salem witchcraft papers refers to the collection of historical documents surrounding the now infamous Salem witchcraft trials when hysteria took over the town and many people died.

You can actually read the official court transcripts on the University of Virginia website on the Salem Witch Trials, organized by individual case but you can also search by name if you are looking for information on someone specific. Just remember that these notes were written in the 1600s, so the English can be a little difficult. Here is a quote from the indictment of Bridget Bishop, the first woman to be executed:

"The Jurors for our Sovereigne Lord & lady the King & Queen p'esents that Bridgett Bishop als Olliver the wife of Edward Bishop of Salem in the County of Essex Sawyer the Nyneteenth Day of April in the fourth Year of the Reigne of our Sovereigne Lord and Lady William and Mary by the Grace of God of England Scottland France & Ireland King & Queen Deffenders of the faith &c and Divers other Dayes & times awell before as after. certaine Detestable Arts called Witchcraft & Sorceries.wickedly.and felloniously hath used Practised & Exercised, at and within the Towneship of Salem in the County of Essex afores'd in upon.and ag't one: Mercy Lewis of Salem Village ...."

Overall, the documents contain warrants and indictments against many townspeople, as well as their examinations and testimonies.

The website mentioned above also has concise lists of all the accusers, defenders, accused, so called "afflicted" girls, the jurors and judges. You can get a good picture of how many people were involved in all of these events.

If you are interested in all the fine details of these terrible but historic trials, you should take a look through all 3 volumes of Salem witchcraft papers to see exactly what went on and what passed as "legal procedure" during those times.


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