Salem Witch Trials

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On April 30, the Rev. George Burroughs, Lydia Dustin, Susannah Martin, Dorcas Hoar, Sarah Morey and Philip English (Mary's husband) were arrested. Nehemiah Abbott Jr. was released because the accusers agreed he was not the person whose specter had afflicted them. Mary Eastey was released for a few days after her initial arrest because the accusers failed to confirm that it was she who had afflicted them; she had been arrested again when the accusers reconsidered. In May, accusations continued to pour in, but some of those suspects began to evade apprehension. Multiple warrants were issued before John Willard and Elizabeth Colson were apprehended; George Jacobs Jr. and Daniel Andrews were not caught. Until this point, all the proceedings were investigative, but on May 27, 1692, William Phips ordered the establishment of a Special Court of Oyer and Terminer for Suffolk, Essex and Middlesex counties to prosecute the cases of those in jail. Warrants were issued for more people. Sarah Osborne, one of the first three persons accused, died in jail on May 10, 1692.

The Salem witch trials were a series of hearings and prosecutions of people accused of witchcraft in colonial Massachusetts between February 1692 and May 1693. The trials resulted in the executions of twenty people, fourteen of them women, and all but one by hanging . Five others (including two infant children) died in prison.

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