Witchcraft in Salem Village:
Intersections of Religion and Society
Links to online resources:
Salem Witchcraft Hysteria:
An Original National Geographic Interactive Feature
Superb site from National Geographic that simulates the terrifying experience of being accused of witchcraft in Salem in 1692—to the point of demanding “Will you confess? Yes or No.” “Yes” leads to the desperate process of shock and accusation. “No” leads to the inevitable doom of conviction and hanging. Visually superb, the site evokes on a computer screen the dark suspicious world of Salem. Textually active, it leads one through an intellectual house-of-horrors where one is never dulled by the scroll of script. The entire “interactive feature” requires less than ten minutes, including both “Yes” and “No” choices, after which one may relay questions to a historian, check out a bibliography, and more. An example of what can be done on the Internet to simulate historical experience.
The Salem Witchcraft Trials
Numerous primary sources, including images, are presented in this site that is visually as well as intellectually rich. A concise and well-written “Account of Events in Salem” introduces the site and encorporates the primary sources available on the site. From the site “Famous American Trials” of Douglas O. Linder, professor at the University of Missouri - Kansas City School of Law.
Primary sources at this site, which include easy-to-read transcripts of critical documents:
- Trial records and examinations of six accused witches
- Arrest warrant of two witches (image and text)
- Petitions of two convicted witches awaiting execution
- Petitions for compensation, and a decision concerning compensation
- Selection from Cotton Mather’s 1689 publication, Memorable Providences, Relating to Witchcrafts and Possessions, on the case of accused witch Goody Glover
- Two letters of Gov. William Phips on the execution of justice in Salem
- Six images useful in teaching the trials
Primary Sources on the Salem Witchcraft Trials from Ogram’s Page
This resource-filled site is hosted by writer and amateur genealogist Margo Burns, a descendent of Rebecca Nurse who was hanged as a witch in Salem.
Primary sources on this site include:
- Warrant vs. Tituba and Sarah Osborne
- Petition for Mary Osgood, Eunice Fry, Deliverance Dane, Sarah Wilson, Sr., and Abigail Barker
- Rev. Increase Mather’s Report of his Conversation in Prison with Sarah Wilson, Sr.
- Recognizance for Sarah Wilson, Sr. and Sarah Wilson, Jr.
Witchcraft in Salem Village
A growing site with trustworthy information, including nineteen documents related to the accusation of Rebecca Nurse, an “Ask the Archivist” section with a valuable Q&A section, and a page on the Witchcraft Victims’ Memorial dedicated in 1992 in Danvers, Massachusetts (site of Salem Village). From the Danvers Archival Center in collaboration with the University of Virginia Electronic Text Center.
Petition for Bail from Accused Witches
Large image and readable text of a desperate appeal from ten women who fear dying of cold and illness while awaiting their trial in jail during the winter. One of many primary sources on the Library of Congress site “American Memory: Words and Deeds in American History.”
“The Carey Document: On The Trail of a Salem Death Warrant”
Not on the Salem witchcraft hysteria per se, but on its place in American culture—and on the skillful detective work of a history professor investigating a “Salem death warrant” presented to his university. By Professor Bryan F. LeBeau, Department of History, Creighton University, in the online The Early America Review, Summer 1997.