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were alike. Every available place was filled with an audience hostile to the prisoners. Judges and jury entered upon the trials firmly convinced of the guilt of the accused, and their every act directed towards confusing and entrapping the prisoners. Any one in the audience was permitted to speak. so long as his remarks chimed with the prevailing belief. No counsel was allowed the accused nor
anyone allowed to say a word in their behalf. There was a total absence of dignity and the room was in a perfect uproar. What contributed most to the pandemonium were the actions of the accusers, and no words can describe them. At one moment they were shrieking as if undergoing the torments of the damned, writhing upon the floor or falling in a dead faint; at the next they were seeing visions or accusing the prisoners of torturing them right before the very eyes of all present. A few extracts here and there from the evidence preserved will show its character.
"Mary Walcot, who hurts you?-Goody Cloyse."
This fainting, apparently of a hysterical charaeter, was very common in the trials and was intended to convey the impression that the afflicted ones were being tortured for giving their evidence. To restore them it was sufficient to cause the accused to touch them. This was done in the present instance and the examination continued:
“Doth she come alone?_Sometimes alone and sometimes with Goody Nourse and Goody Corey and a great many I do not know.”
“(Then she fell in a fit again.)”
“Abigail Williams, did you see a company at Mr. Parris' house eat and drink?— Yes, sir; that was in the sacrament.”
“How many were there?--About forty, and Goody Cloyse and Goody Good were their deacons."
“What was it?—They said it was our blood and they had it twice that day.”
In explanation it may be said that accounts of witch sacraments appear several times in the evidence, and the witnesses describe baptisms, a devil's supper, sermons, and the like, fashioned after those of the orthodox church. Notice of these meetings was given by
blowing upon a horn which was heard by witches alone as far as Andover and Boston. To these meetings the witches came in the oft described manner.
“We ride upon sticks and are there presently.--Do you go through the trees or over them?–We see nothing but are there presently."
In the examination of Abigail Williams referred to a moment ago Mr. Parris was conducting the examination, and the questions asked and the answers received, lend plausibility to the view that the witnesses were really coached in what they were to say. This also appears in the trial of Mary Black, a colored girl. She was asked:
“Why do you hurt them? I did not hurt them. : “Do you prick sticks? No, I pin my neck cloth. “Will you take out the pin and pin it again?”
She did so, and the afflicted ones cried out that they were pricked, one in the stomach, one in the leg, and one in the arm until the blood
The extent to which the girls inflicted pain upon themselves can be seen from the statement of Lawson, an eye witness, that “one, in the time of examination of a suspected person, had a pin run through both her upper and her lower lip when she was called upon to speak.” A bottle of pins said to have been presented in evidence is still preserved with the records of the trials.
The few extracts already given are fair samples of the evidence presented in every case, but there are two trials which demand special mention. When Martha Carrier was arrested, four of her children were taken with her and these infants were forced to confess.
"It was asked Sarah Carrier by the magistrates:
“How long hast thou been a witch? Ever since I was six years old.
“How old are you now? Near eight years old; Brother Richard says I shall be eight years old in November next. “Who made you a witch? My mother; she made me set my
hand to a book.
“How did you set your hand to it? I touched it with my fingers, and the book was red; the paper of it was white.
“She said she had never seen the black man; the place where she did it was in Andrew Foster's pasture, and Elizabeth Johnson, jr., was there. Being asked who was there besides, she answered, her aunt Toothaker and her cousin. Being asked when it was, she said, when she was baptized.
“What did they promise to give you? A black dog.
said you saw a cat once; what did that say to you? It said it would tear me in pieces, if I did not set my hand to the book.
“She said her mother baptized her, and the devil or black man was not there, as she saw; and her mother said when she baptized her, Thou art mine forever and ever, Amen.'
• "How did you afflict folks? I pinched them.
“And she said she had no puppets, but she went to those she afflicted. Being asked whether she went in her body or in her spirit, she said in her spirit. She said her mother carried her thither to afflict.
“How did your mother carry you when she was in prison? She came like a black cat.
“How did you know it was your mother? The cat told me so, that she was my mother. She said she afflicted Phelps' child last Saturday, and Elizabeth Johnson joined with her to do it. She had a wooden spear about as long as her finger of Elizabeth Johnson, and she had it of the devil. She would not own she had ever been at the witch meeting at the village. This is the substance.”
Think of it! On such evidence by her own children Martha Carrier was convicted of witchcraft and hanged.
After a few weeks of the excitement, the girls began to speak of a minister among the witches. At first no name was given, but rather such hints as to thoroughly arouse the audience. One cried out, while in a trance: "Oh dreadful, dreadful! Here is a minister come! What! are ministers witches too? Whence came you, and what is your name? For I will complain of you though you be a minister, if you be a wizard." A few days latter George Burroughs, a former pastor of Salem village was denounced. His trial which resulted in conviction and death was of the same general character as that of the others, only the charges against him were worse. Не had been promised the position of chief conjurer in hell; he blew the horn calling the witch congregation together and when assembled he preached the sermons. He was even accused of causing the death by witchcraft of several who died during his pastorate. Burroughs was very athletic and had been noted for his strength while in college and this too was turned against him, it being claimed that the feats enumerated could be accomplished but by Satanic aid.
As every charge depended for support upon the accusing girls, their action needs a word of description beyond that already given. While it must have been terrible to see them, exhausted by their torments falling as if dead upon the floor, how much more appalling must it have been to have them announce that they saw the devil present in person whispering advice and consolation in the ears of the accused. These girls, like some of the clairvoyants of to-day pretended to be able to see the apparitions of both the living and the dead. Time and time again according to the records one or another of the girls would exclaim, “There is the blackman whispering in her ear;" while as often they would announce the apparition of the prisoner performing some perfectly senseless operation. At one time every one of the accusing circle, gazing with simulated horror at the timbers in the upper part of the meeting house, exclaimed, “Look you! there is Goody Proctor upon the beam.”
“Afterwards some of the afflicted cried, "There is Proctor going to take up Mrs. Pope's feet!' and immediately her feet were taken
“Abigail Williams cried out, “There is Goodman Proctor going to Mrs. Pope! and immediately said Pope fell into a fit.”
Every act, every motion of the accused was carefully watched and produced corresponding torments upon the girls. When Giles Corey was being examined, the old record says, “One of his hands was let go, and several were afflicted. He held his head upon one side and then the heads of several were held on one side. He drew in his cheeks and the cheeks of some of the afflicted were sucked in.”
The magistrates do not seem to have had a suspicion of fraud, but regarded all denials by the prisoners as aggravations of guilt. At the time just mentioned when Mrs. Pope fainted, one of the justices remarked, “You see, the devil will deceive you; the children could see what you was going to do before the woman was hurt.” At another time the judge turned to the prisoner and the following conversation ensued:
“There, she accuseth you to your face; she chargeth you that you
hurt her twice. It is not true. I never wronged no man in word nor deed.”
"Is it no harm to afflict these? I never did it."
“But how comes it to be your appearance? The devil can take any likeness.”
"Not without their consent.'
There must have been some wonderful acting upon the part of the girls to carry conviction to a whole community, but nowhere was it better shown than in the case of Mary Warren, whose name was mentioned as one of the accusers, but who suddenly appeared among the accused. The only explanation of this change involves a depravity almost too great for belief. The chief conspirators were afraid that they might be suspected of acting in concert, while if one of their own number were accused, this charge could not be brought. So Mary Warren was drilled for her new role. All at once she left the circle and said that her former associates "did but dissemble." She was immediately cried out upon and brought up for examination. She pleaded not guilty and the afflicted ones went through the same torments as in other cases. After detailing these the records continue:
“Now Mary Warren fell into a fit, and some of the afflicted cried out that she was going to confess; but [observe the language) Goody Corey and Proctor and his wife came in, in their apparitions, and struck her down, and said she should tell nothing.
“Mary Warren continued a good space in a fit, that she did neither see, nor speak, nor hear.
“Afterwards she started up and said, 'I will speak,' and cried out “Oh, I am sorry for it, I am sorry for it and wringed her hands, and fell a little while into a fit again, and then came to speak, but immediately her teeth were set; and then she fell into a violent fit, and cried ‘Oh, Lord, help me! Oh! good Lord, save me!
“And then afterwards cried again, I will tell, I will tell!' and then fell into a fit again.” And thus it went on, struggle after struggle, fit af er fit, from the 19th of April until the middle of May. At one time she cried out, “ 'I shall not speak a word; but I will, I will speak, Satan! She saith she will kill me. Oh! she saith she owes me a spite, and will claw me off. Avoid Satan, for the name of God avoid!' and then fell into fits again and cried Will ye? I will prevent ye, in the name of God.''