Many of the historical sites and locations related to the Salem Witch Trials still exist in and around Salem as well as other areas.
Visiting these sites is a great way to experience the history of the trials firsthand.
The Salem Witch Trials took place in a settlement within the Massachusetts Bay Colony named Salem which, at the time of the trials in 1692, consisted of two sections: Salem town, which is now modern-day Salem, and Salem Village, which is now modern-day Danvers.
Many people like to argue that the witch trials didn’t really happen in Salem and instead took place in Danvers. This is not entirely true. The Salem Witch Trials did begin in Danvers, but the events of the trials actually took place in both Salem and Danvers.
The early events of the witch trials, particularly the first handful of accusations and pretrial examinations, occurred in Salem Village in March of 1692. The accusations and examinations then quickly spread to Salem town.
The majority of the accused witches were held in the jail in Salem town (as well as jails in Ipswich and Boston). The actual witch trial cases themselves were heard in the courthouse in Salem town and the convicted witches were executed and buried in Salem town (although a few of the bodies, such as Rebecca Nurse, John Proctor and George Jacobs, Sr , were reportedly retrieved by their family members and reburied on their family properties in Salem Village.)
Although some of the events did happen in Danvers, one reason the town doesn’t get the massive influx of tourists like Salem does is because it doesn’t have the same name as the trials anymore (the town’s name was changed from Salem Village to Danvers in 1752.)
Old Salem Village, illustration published in A Short History of the Salem Village Witchcraft Trials, circa 1911
Another reason is because Danvers is a small suburban town and the locations of the Salem Witch Trials sites in Danvers are spread out over miles. They’re not conveniently clustered in the downtown area of a small city like they are in Salem.
Despite their numerous locations, the witch trials historic sites in Salem and outside of it are still easy to find and are well worth traveling to.
If you’re visiting Salem, you can see the sites there by simply following the heritage trail around the downtown area or by taking a Salem history tour .
There are also many other witch trials historic sites across the north shore of Massachusetts, which most can be reached by car or bus.
Some of these historical sites are well preserved and are frequently visited by tourists, but many of them are long forgotten. Only a few of these sites still have the original buildings from that time period. The other buildings have either fallen into ruins, burned down or were torn down to make way for more modern buildings.
The following is a list of historical sites related to the Salem Witch Trials, divided by town:
Address: 132 Main Street, Wenham, Mass
Hours: Weekdays 11am-2pm. Weekends 11:30am, 1:30pm and 2:30pm
This was the home of Reverend Joseph Gerrish in 1692. It was here that Gerrish and Reverend John Hale met with one of Gerrish’s parishioners, Mary Herrick, who then accused Hale’s wife of witchcraft and said the ghost of Mary Easty visited her and told her she was executed unjustly.
Claflin-Richards House, Wenham, Mass
The house, which was built sometime between 1662-1673, still stands today and serves as the office of the Wenham Historical Association. It is open to the public.
Reverend Joseph Gerrish, Thomas Fisk & William Fisk’s Graves:
Address: Old Wenham Burying Ground, Wenham, Mass
Reverend Joseph Gerrish was buried here after he died in 1720 at the age of 70. Also buried here are Thomas Fisk, who died in 1723 at the age of 70, and William Fisk, who died in 1727 at the age of 85.
Both men were jurors in the Salem Witch Trials and both men reportedly signed a confession of error in 1697 stating that they were “sadly deluded and mistaken” during the trials.
The Witch House:
Address: 310 Essex St, Salem, Mass
Hours: March 15-November 15, 10am-5pm, daily
The Witch House was the home of Jonathan Corwin who was a judge in the Salem Witch Trials. Corwin purchased the house in 1675 and lived there for 40 years until his death in 1718.
The Witch House, Salem, Mass, circa November 2015. Photo Credit: Rebecca Brooks
The house remained in the family until the 1850s when it was sold to a pharmacist named George Farrington who added a pharmacy to the side of the building.
In 1944, the building was moved back from the street about 35 feet to allow North street to be widened. The house was restored at the time to look as it would have in the 17th century. The house officially opened as a museum in 1946.
Site of the Old Salem Jail:
Address: corner of St. Peter and Federal Street, Salem, Mass
The jail that the accused witches were kept in was a small wooden structure with a dungeon underneath.
The accused witches were considered very dangerous prisoners and were kept in the dungeon and chained to the walls to prevent their spirits from escaping and tormenting their victims.
Site of the Salem Witch Jail, 10 Federal Street, Salem Ma, photographed by Frank Cousins, 19th century
In 1813, the wooden structure of the jail was remodeled into a large house on the same spot and a new jail was built down the street. The house was then razed in 1956 and a large brick building was built in its place.
Site of Old Salem Jail, 10 Federal Street, Salem, Mass
A plaque dedicated to the old jail can be found on the front of the brick building at 10 Federal Street.
Old Salem Jail, Historical Marker, 10 Federal Street, Salem, Mass
When construction workers were digging the new foundation for the brick building, they unearthed the old dungeon where the accused witches were kept.
Several wooden beams from the dungeon were recovered and donated to the Peabody Essex Museum. Two of these beams are now on display, one at the Salem Witch Museum and one at the Witch Dungeon Museum.
Header beam from Salem Witch Jail at the Salem Witch Museum, Salem, Mass
Site of the Salem Courthouse:
Address: Washington Street (about 100 feet south of Lynde Street), opposite the Masonic Temple, Salem, Mass
The Salem Witch Trials cases were heard in the courthouse in Salem town located in the center of Washington Street about 100 feet south of Lynde Street, opposite of where the Masonic Temple now stands.
“Site of Court House Where Witch Trials Took Place,” illustration published in the New England Magazine, Volume 5, circa 1892
In 1760, this courthouse was torn down but a plaque dedicated to the courthouse can be found on the wall of the Masonic Temple on Washington Street.
Site of Bridget Bishop’s Orchard & House:
Address: 43 Church Street, Salem, Mass. Currently occupied by Turner’s Seafood restaurant.
Bridget Bishop was the first person tried for witchcraft during the Salem Witch Trials. At or around the time of the witch trials, she lived in a house at 43 Church street where she also had an apple orchard. Some of her accusers reported seeing her spirit flying through the apple orchard at night, knocking apples off the trees as she flew.
The Lyceum building circa 2012. Photo credit: Rebecca Brooks
It is not known what happened to the house, but in 1831, the land was purchased by the Salem Lyceum Society who built the large brick building that still stands on this spot today.
The Lyceum building was used as a lecture hall and hosted such famous speakers as Henry David Thoreau, Frederick Douglass and Ralph Waldo Emerson. In 1877, the building hosted Alexander Graham Bell’s first public demonstration of the telephone. The building was later remodeled into a series of bars and restaurants.
Site of Beadle’s Tavern:
Address: south side of Essex Street, opposite of Washington Square E, Salem, Mass
Beadle’s Tavern was owned by Salem resident Thomas Beadle. A few of the accused witches’ pretrial examinations were held in the tavern.
Site of Beadle Tavern, Salem, illustration published in The New England Magazine, Volume 6, circa 1892
It is not known what happened to the tavern after the Salem Witch Trials but the building no longer exists.
Site of Sheriff George Corwin’s House:
Address: 148 Washington Street, Salem, Mass
Sheriff George Corwin was the High Sheriff of Essex County at the time of the Salem Witch Trials. He lived in a house on a plot of land at what is now 148 Washington Street.
Map of Salem, Mass, circa 1700, published in the Essex Antiquarian, Volume 3
According to Upham in his book Salem Witchcraft, Corwin’s grandfather, also named George, previously lived in the house before moving into his newly built mansion on Essex Street in 1660. When Corwin died in 1685, he left the estate to Sheriff Corwin’s mother, Margaret. After she died sometime around 1691-92, Sheriff Corwin inherited it.
Sheriff Corwin died suddenly of a heart attack in 1696, at the age of 30, which is said to be the result of the Curse of Giles Corey , and left the estate to his wife. At the time Corwin died, surviving victims of the Salem Witch Trials, particularly Phillip English, were suing Corwin for damages after he confiscated goods and valuables of the accused during the witch trials.
Local legend says that English threatened to steal Corwin’s body and hold it for ransom. To prevent this from happening, Corwin’s family reportedly buried Corwin in the basement of his house. Corwin’s body was later reburied in the Corwin family tomb. When Corwin’s widow died in 1700, she left the estate to her son, Bartholomew Corwin.
Bartholomew sold the estate in 1714 and it changed hands a number of times over the next couple of decades until it was sold to local merchant Joshua Ward on August 11, 1781. In 1784, Joshua Ward demolished Sheriff George Corwin’s house on the property and built a large brick mansion on the spot. This mansion still stands today and is currently a hotel known as The Merchant, named in honor of Joshua Ward.
Judge Jonathan Corwin & Sheriff George Corwin’s Graves:
Address: Broad Street Cemetery, Broad Street, Salem, Mass
The Corwin family tomb is marked by a short obelisk dedicated to the Corwin family. Jonathan Corwin was buried here in the family tomb when he died in 1718 at the age of 76. George Corwin died in 1696 at the age of 30 but wasn’t buried here until a later date.
Corwin Family Tomb, photo published in the New England Magazine Volume 5, 1892
Site of Judge John Hathorne’s Mansion:
Address: 114 Washington Street, Salem, Mass
John Hathorne was a notorious judge in the Salem Witch Trials. Hathorne purchased this land, on the corner of what is now Essex and Washington streets (where the Bewitched statue now stands), from Deacon John Marston, Sr., on August 25, 1685.
Hathorne also owned the land west of it, which he purchased from John Fogg in 1675. Hathorne divided the tract of land west of his lot into house lots and sold the lots individually to his son Nathaniel Hathorne, John Higgins, Benjamin Marston, Stephen Sewall, John Harvey and Henry West in May of 1699.
After John Hathorne died in 1717, his mansion and land remained in the Hathorne family for several generations until it was sold to a woman named Mrs. Ropes in 1764. John Hathorne’s mansion burned down in the great fire of October 6, 1774 which also destroyed a nearby meetinghouse, seven other homes and 14 stores.
Judge John Hathorne’s Grave:
Address: Old Burying Point Cemetery, Charter Street, Salem, Mass
Judge John Hathorne was buried here after he died on May 10, 1717 at the age of 76.
John Hathorne’s grave, Old Burying Point Cemetery, Salem, Mass, circa 2010. The headstone reads: “Here lyes interred ye body of Co John Hathorne Esq, Aged 76 years, Who Died May ye 10 1717.” Photo credit: Rebecca Brooks
Judge Bartholomew Gedney’s Grave:
Address: Old Burying Point Cemetery, Charter Street, Salem, Mass
Bartholomew Gedney was a local physician and a judge in the Salem Witch Trials. Gedney was buried here after he died in 1697 at the age of 57.
Site of Giles Corey’s Death:
Address: Howard Street Cemetery, Howard Street, Salem, Mass
Giles Corey was a farmer from Salem Village who was accused of witchcraft in April of 1692. Corey was tortured here, which was then just a field next to the old Salem jail, in September of 1692 when he refused to enter a plea in his witchcraft trial.
The Howard Street Cemetery, Salem, Mass, circa 2012. Photo Credit: Rebecca Brooks
Corey was forced to lie on the ground while a board was placed on top of him which was then loaded with heavy stones. Corey died here on September 19, 1692 after three days of torture.
Site of Reverend John Higginson’s Estate:
Address: 19 ½ N Washington Square, Salem, Mass, currently occupied by the Salem Witch Museum .
Reverend John Higginson was the senior minister in Salem town at the time of the Salem Witch Trials. He owned the property that the Salem Witch Museum now sits on.
He also had a house nearby, on what is now Essex Street, where he lived with his daughter, Ann Higginson Dolliver, who was accused of witchcraft in June of 1692. Ann later confessed to the crime and was released. John Higginson himself also provided testimony in defense of an accused witch named Sarah Buckley.
Map of Higginson property near Salem Common, Salem, Mass, circa 1700, illustration published in the Essex Antiquarian, Volume 9, circa 1905
The land Higginson owned was later purchased by the East Church who built a Gothic Revival-style church there, between 1844-1846, which still stands today.
East Church, Salem, Mass, circa 1910
In 1972, the new owners of the property, Holly and Tom Mulvihill, opened the Salem Witch Museum in the old church building to appeal to the new tourists flocking to Salem after the publication of The Crucible and the airing of the “Salem Saga” episodes of Bewitched.
Site of Ann Pudeator’s House:
Address: 35 N Washington Square, Salem, Mass
Ann Pudeator was a widow and midwife who was accused of witchcraft in May of 1692 and hanged on September 22, 1692. At the time of the witch trials, Pudeator lived in a home at this address. It is not known what happened to the home but a Federal-era brick mansion now stands on this spot.
William Murray’s House:
Address: 39 Essex Street, Salem, Mass. No admission. Privately owned home
William Murray served as a court clerk in the Salem Witch Trials and also provided testimony against accused witch Alice Parker.
William Murray House, Salem, Mass
At the time of the witch trials, Murray was living in this house, which was built in 1688. The building has been heavily renovated since it was first built. The building is now privately owned.
Former Site of Alice Parker’s House:
Address: 54-58 Derby Street, Salem, Mass
Alice Parker was accused of witchcraft in May of 1692. At the time of the witch trials, she was living in a house, located somewhere on this spot, which she rented from fellow witch trial victim Phillip English. Parker was found guilty and hanged at or near Gallows Hill on September 22, 1692. It is not known what happened to her house after the witch trials but it no longer exists.
Site of the Salem Witch Trials Executions:
Address: Proctor’s Ledge, small hill between Proctor and Pope Street, Salem, Mass
A total of 19 convicted witches were hanged at Proctor’s Ledge, a small hill next to Gallows Hill, between June and September of 1692. The Proctor’s Ledge Memorial was built at the foot of the hill in 2017.
Proctor’s Ledge Memorial, Salem, Mass
Site of Philip English’s Mansion:
Address: 11 Essex Street, Salem, Mass
Phillip English was a wealthy merchant who was accused of witchcraft in April of 1692. At the time of the trials, English lived in a large mansion on Essex Street which he built in 1686.
Philip English’s house, illustration published in The Ships and Sailors of Old Salem, circa 1905
After English was arrested in May, he managed to escape the Boston jail with his wife and fled to New York. He later returned to Salem after the witch trials ended. English’s mansion stood for almost 150 years until it was razed around 1833.
Phillip English’s Grave:
Address: St Peter’s Episcopal Church, 24 St. Peter Street, Salem, Mass
In 1733, Phillip English donated a section of land, on the corner of Brown and St. Peter Street, to build a small wooden church called the St. Peter’s Episcopal Church. A small cemetery was also established around the church in which Phillip English was buried when he died in 1736.
In 1833, the wooden church was taken down and the stone church that exists there now was built in its place. The new church was much larger than the old one and, as a result, it was built on top of some of the graves in the cemetery, including English’s grave. English’s body is buried underneath the church’s chapel and a small exhibit in his honor can be found inside the church.
Salem Witch Trials Memorial:
Address: Liberty Street, Salem, Mass
The Salem Witch Trials Memorial was built in 1992 to honor the victims of the Salem Witch Trials and mark the 300th anniversary of the Salem Witch Trials.
Salem Witch Trials Memorial, Salem, Mass
The memorial was dedicated by Nobel laureate-winner and Holocaust survivor Elie Wiesel in August of 1992 as part of the Salem Witch Trials Tercentenary. The memorial is adjacent to the Old Burying Point Cemetery where Judge John Hathorne is buried.
Major Robert Pike & Mary Perkins Bradbury’s Graves:
Address: Beach Road, Salisbury Colonial Burying Ground, Salisbury, Mass
Major Robert Pike was one of the most prominent citizens of Salisbury, Mass and served as an assistant for the colony and a Justice of the Peace. Pike recorded most of the testimony given against Susannah Martin.
Robert Pike’s grave, Salisbury Colonial Burying Ground, Salisbury, Mass, circa 2015. Photo Credit: Rebecca Brooks
In August of 1692, Pike wrote a letter to Judge Jonathan Corwin attacking the validity of spectral evidence and criticized the logic of the trials by asking why the accused would deny they are witches but then practice witchcraft “in the sight of all men, when they know their lives lie at stake by doing it? Self-interest teaches everyone better.”
Pike also signed an affidavit in defense of another Salisbury woman accused of witchcraft, Mary Bradbury, who was his son’s mother-in-law. Pike was buried here after he died in 1706 at the age of 90.
Mary Perkins Bradbury was the wife of Captain Thomas Bradbury of Salisbury and was accused of witchcraft by the afflicted girls of Salem Village in July of 1692. Bradbury was tried and convicted of witchcraft in September but her execution was delayed and she was eventually released. She was buried here after she died of old age sometime around or just prior to the year 1700.
Site of John Proctor’s Farm:
Address: Lowell Street, one-tenth mile south of Prospect Street, Peabody, Mass. No admission. Privately owned land.
John Proctor was the first male accused of witchcraft during the Salem Witch Trials. He was accused in April of 1692 during his wife Elizabeth Proctor’s examination.
Site of John Proctor’s House, Peabody, illustration published in The New England Magazine, Volume 6, circa 1892
At the time, the Proctor family was living on this farm, where Proctor also ran a tavern called the Proctor Tavern, in what was then the outskirts of Salem Village.
After Proctor’s arrest, Sheriff George Corwin raided the farm and confiscated all of the beer, food and valuables on the property.
John Proctor was found guilty on August 5 and executed on August 19, 1692 at or near Gallows Hill. Proctor’s family reportedly retrieved his body from the execution site and buried it on the northeast corner of the family farm.
The farm was later passed down to Proctor’s son, Benjamin, and it remained in the family until the late 1800s. It is not known what happened to Proctor’s original house but there is another house still standing on the property that is often referred to as the John Proctor house despite the fact that historians believe it was built in the 1700s by Proctor’s son Thorndike Proctor. The house and the farm are privately owned.
Nathaniel Felton, Sr., House:
Address: 47 Felton Street, Peabody, Mass
Hours: Open by appointment only
Nathaniel Felton, Sr., was a neighbor of John Proctor. He came to the defense of John and Elizabeth Proctor and Rebecca Nurse in 1692 when he signed a petition calling for their release from jail. At the time of the witch trials, Felton was living in this house in Peabody.
Nathaniel Felton Sr’s House, Peabody, Mass
The house was built in 1644, making it the oldest house in Peabody. The house remained in the Felton family for over two centuries until 1902 when it was sold a wealthy shoe manufacturer named Joseph Smith. In 1983, the widow of Joseph Smith’s grandson gave the house to the Peabody Historical Society who later opened it up as a historic house museum.
Nathaniel Felton, Jr., House:
Address: 43 Felton Street, Peabody, Mass
Hours: Open by appointment only
Nathaniel Felton, Jr, also came to the defense of accused witches John and Elizabeth Proctor and Rebecca Nurse. At the time of the witch trials, Felton, Jr., was living in this house in Peabody.
Nathaniel Felton Jr’s House, Peabody, Mass
The house was built in 1683 and remained in the Felton family for almost two centuries until 1902 when it was sold a wealthy shoe manufacturer named Joseph Smith. In 1976, the widow of Joseph Smith’s grandson gave the house to the Peabody Historical Society.
Giles and Martha Corey Memorial Markers:
Address: off of Lowell Street, near Crystal Lake in Peabody, Mass
Two memorial markers dedicated to Giles and Martha Corey are located here near the former site of the Corey farm.
Giles and Martha Corey Memorial Markers, Peabody, Mass
Site of Wilmot Redd’s House:
Address: corner of Pond and Norman Streets, Old Burial Hill near Redd’s Pond, Marblehead, Mass
Wilmot Redd was the wife of a Marblehead fisherman. She was accused of witchcraft in May of 1692 and brought to Ingersoll Tavern in Salem Village to be examined by a judge.
At the time of her arrest, she was living in a house next to Old Burial Hill in Marblehead, on the southeast corner of what is now Redd’s pond. Redd was found guilty in September and was among the last victims of the witch trials when she was hanged on September 22, 1692.
It is not known what happened to Redd’s house after the witch trials but the house no longer exists. The pond near the site of her home was later named after Redd. There is also a memorial marker for Wilmot Redd located on Old Burial Hill.
Ambrose Gale House:
Address: 17 Franklin Street, Marblehead, Mass
Ambrose Gale was a Marblehead fisherman and merchant who testified against Wilmot Redd during the Salem Witch Trials. According to the Marblehead Historical Commission’s website, Gale was living in this house in Marblehead at the time of the trials.
Ambrose Gale House, Marblehead, Mass
Built in 1663, it is the oldest house in Marblehead and it is currently owned by the Marblehead Historical Commission.
Former Site of the James & Elizabeth Howe Farm:
Address: 417 Linebrook Road, Ipswich, Mass
Elizabeth Howe was a woman from Topsfield who was accused of witchcraft in May of 1692. At the time she was living on this farm with her children and blind husband.
After Howe was arrested she was brought to Ingersoll Tavern in Salem Village to be examined by Judge John Hathorne and Judge Jonathan Corwin. She was indicted on two charges of witchcraft and led to jail, probably either the Salem jail or a jail in Ipswich. Howe was found guilty and hanged at or near Gallows Hill on July 19, 1692.
The farm remained in the family for several generations. In 1911, the former location of the Howe homestead on the farm was discovered by a writer investigating the history of the Salem Witch Trials.
The site of the homestead at the time was only a hole in the ground where the cellar used to be. The Howe descendants living on the property at the time referred to it as Mary’s hole, after Elizabeth Howe’s daughter, Mary, who lived in the house after her mother’s execution. The site was later excavated in 2006.
Major Nathaniel Saltonstall’s Grave:
Address: corner of Water and Mill Streets, Pentucket Cemetery, Haverhill, Mass
Major Nathaniel Saltonstall was a judge in the Salem Witch Trials. Saltonstall resigned from the court in June of 1692 and was replaced by Judge Jonathan Corwin. After his resignation, Saltonstall became a prominent critic of the trials. He was then accused of witchcraft himself but never stood trial. Saltonstall was buried here after he died in 1707 of a consumptive illness.
Chief Justice William Stoughton’s Grave:
Address: corner of Stoughton Street and Columbia Road in Dorchester, Old Burying Ground, Dorchester, Mass
William Stoughton was the Chief Justice in the Salem Witch Trials. Stoughton was buried here after he died in 1701 at the age of 70.
Rebecca Nurse Homestead:
Address: 149 Pine Street, Danvers, Mass
Rebecca Nurse was an elderly grandmother from Salem Village who was accused of witchcraft in March of 1692. At the time of the witch trials, she lived in this large house which then sat on 300 acres of land.
Rebecca Nurse Homestead, Danvers, Mass, circa 2013. Photo Credit: Rebecca Brooks
The house is the only home of a person executed during the trials that is open to the public. The house and farm were originally established in 1636 by Townshend Bishop when he was granted 300 acres of land in Salem Village.
In 1641, Bishop sold the estate to Henry Chickering who then sold it to Governor Endicott in 1648 for one hundred and sixty pounds. Endicott gave the farm to his son, John, in 1653.
John died in 1668 and he left it to his wife, who then married Reverend Samuel Allen of the First Church of Salem. When she died in 1673, the farm became the property of Allen who sold it to Francis Nurse, Rebecca’s husband, in 1678.
After Rebecca Nurse was accused of witchcraft in 1692, she was arrested at the house on March 23 and was lodged at Ingersoll’s tavern for the night before being examined at the tavern the next day. Rebecca Nurse never returned to her house again and was hanged on July 19, 1692 at or near Gallows Hill in Salem town. The farm stayed in the Nurse family until it was inherited by the Putnam family in 1784.
In 1907, the Rebecca Nurse Memorial Association purchased the house and 27 acres to preserve it. In 1909, the house underwent a renovation by the architect Joseph Chandler. The house was opened to the public in 1909 as Danvers’ first historic house museum.
Also located on the property is the Nurse family cemetery which reportedly is the location of Rebecca Nurse’s unmarked grave. Family legend states that Nurse’s son secretly retrieved her body from the execution site and buried her in the family cemetery.
In 1992, a body believed to be that of fellow witch trials victim, George Jacobs, was moved to the Nurse family cemetery after it was discovered on the nearby Jacobs property.
In 1885, the Nurse family association erected a granite obelisk monument in the cemetery in Nurse’s honor. In 1926, the association gave the property to the Society for the Preservation of New England Antiquities.
In 1981, the Danvers Alarm List Company, a colonial history organization, bought the property to preserve and restore it to its colonial-era appearance. Since then, the company has been slowly restoring the building, removing modern fixtures, re-establishing the original land contour, building period fencing, and re-establishing the kitchen garden and orchard.
Salem Village Parsonage Archaeological Site:
Address: Rear 67 Centre Street, Danvers, Mass (site is accessible via a cart path.)
This was the site of the Salem Village Parsonage where Reverend Samuel Parris , his daughter Betty Parris , his niece Abigail Williams and his slaves Tituba and John Indian lived during the Salem Witch Trials. After the trials ended, the Parris family moved away and a new minister was appointed.
Foundation of the Salem Village Parsonage, Danvers, Mass
It is not known what happened to the original parsonage, but by the 19th century the building was gone and the land was being used for agricultural purposes. During the 19th century and most of the 20th century, the exact location of the old parsonage was marked only by a small granite marker.
In 1970, local historian and archivist Richard B. Trask excavated the site of the old parsonage and the site is now open to visitors.
Sarah Osbourn House:
Address: 273 Maple Street, Danvers, Mass. No admission. Privately owned home
Sarah Osbourn was one of the first women accused in the Salem Witch Trials when she was accused in February of 1692. She was examined before a judge, along with Tituba and Sarah Good , at the Salem Village Meetinghouse on March 1, 1692. Osbourn never stood trial because she died in jail shortly after.
Sarah Osborne House, Danvers, Mass, circa 19th century
At the time of her arrest, Osbourn was living in this house, which was then located on Spring Street. The house was built sometime between 1660-1680. In 1914, it was moved from Spring Street to Maple Street. Not much is known about the history of the house before or after the Salem Witch Trials except that it is now a privately owned home.
Sarah Holten House:
Address: 171 Holten Street, Danvers, Mass
Hours: Open by appointment only
Sarah Holten was a a woman who gave damaging testimony against Rebecca Nurse during the Salem Witch Trials. During the time of the trials, Holten lived in this house on what is now Holten Street.
The house was originally built in 1670. It was later also the home of Judge Samuel Holten, a physician, statesman and judge, who was a signer of the Articles of Confederation and served in the Continental Congress in the 1770s and 1780s. The house in now owned by the General Israel Putnam Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution.
Former Site of George Jacobs’ House:
Address: Margin Street, Danvers, Mass
George Jacobs, Sr, was an elderly grandfather living in Salem Village when he was accused of witchcraft in May of 1692. He was arrested at his house alongside his granddaughter, Margaret, who was also accused and was examined by Judge John Hathorne and Judge Jonathan Corwin. Jacobs was indicted on two charges of witchcraft and brought to jail.
George Jacobs House, Danvers, Mass, photographed by Frank Cousins, circa 1891
At the time of the witch trials, Jacobs was living in a center-chimney farmhouse on Margin Street that he built in the late 1600s. Jacobs was later found guilty and executed on August 19, 1692. According to family legend, his body was secretly retrieved from the execution site and buried on the family property.
The house survived until the early 20th century but became neglected and rundown by 1938 and was demolished sometime around 1940. In 1992, an unidentified body believed to be Jacobs was found on the property and moved to the Nurse homestead so the property could be sold.
Address: 199 Hobart Street, Danvers, Mass. No admission. Privately owned home
This was the former home of Deacon Nathaniel Ingersoll. Ingersoll also ran a tavern from this house during the time of the Salem Witch Trials. Some of the accused witches were examined before a judge at Ingersoll’s Tavern before they were brought to trial.
The house remained a tavern until either the late 1700s or early 1800s but eventually became rundown and was purchased by the First Church of Salem in 1832 and renovated to become a parsonage. The house is still standing but is a privately owned home.
Salem Village Witchcraft Victims’ Memorial:
Address: 176 Hobart Street, Danvers, Mass
This memorial was built in 1992 to honor the victims of the Salem Witch Trials and mark the 300th anniversary of the trials. It was built on Hobart street, opposite of the former site of the Salem Village Meetinghouse.
Salem Village Witchcraft Victim’s Memorial, Danvers, Mass, 2013. Photo Credit: Rebecca Brooks
The memorial was dedicated in May of 1992, during the Danvers Witchcraft Tercentennial Commemoration.
Former Site of the Salem Village Meetinghouse:
Address: Near corner of Hobart and Forest Street, Danvers, Mass. Historical marker on site.
This is the site of the Salem Village Meetinghouse where some of the accused witches were examined before a judge before they were brought to jail.
Salem Village Meetinghouse, Historical Marker, Hobart Street, Danvers, Mass
The meetinghouse was abandoned and then moved across the street and re-purposed into a barn but slowly fell into ruins. By the mid 1800s the building was gone. A historical marker is located on site. A replica of the Salem Village Meetinghouse can be found at the Rebecca Nurse Homestead in Danvers.
Former Site of the Salem Village Church:
Address: Corner of Hobart Street and Centre Street, Danvers, Mass
This is the site of the Salem Village Church where some of the accused witches and their accusers attended church during the Salem Witch Trials.
Salem Village Church, Historical Marker, Salem, Mass
Some of the afflicted girls exhibited symptoms of their affliction during services here in the spring of 1692 and some of the accused where excommunicated here. A historical marker is located on the site. The First Church of Danvers Congregational now occupies the spot.
Ann Putnam, Jr, Ann Putnam, Sr, & Thomas Putnam’s graves:
Address: Putnam burial ground, 485 Maple Street, Danvers, Mass
The Putnam family were the main accusers during the Salem Witch Trials. Thomas Putnam was buried here after he died in May of 1699 at the age of 47. His wife Ann Putnam, Sr., was buried here a few weeks later in June of 1699. Their daughter, Ann Putnam, Jr , was buried here after she died in 1716 at the age of 37. Their graves are unmarked.
Judge Samuel Sewall’s Grave:
Address: Tremont Street, Granary Burying Ground, Boston, Mass
Samuel Sewall was a judge in the Salem Witch Trials. Sewall later issued a public apology for his role in the trials on January 15, 1697, during an official day of prayer and fasting in honor of the witch trial victims. Sewall was buried here after he died on January 1, 1730 at the age of 78.
Cotton Mather’s Grave:
Address: Copp’s Hill Burying Ground, 45 Hull Street, Boston, Mass
Cotton Mather was a Boston minister who assisted the court during the Salem Witch Trials. Mather later wrote a book about the trials, titled Wonders of the Invisible World. Mather was buried here when he died in 1728 at the age of 65.
Reverend John Hale Farm:
Address: 9 Hale Street, Beverly, Mass
Hours: June-October: Saturdays 11am to 3pm.
July-August: Fridays & Saturdays: 11am-3pm.
Reverend John Hale was a minister from Beverly who assisted court officials during the Salem Witch Trials. Hale later became a critic of the witch trials after his wife was accused of witchcraft.
John Hale House in Beverly, Mass
At the time of the trials, he was living in this farmhouse in Beverly, which had been deeded to him along with 200 acres of land by his parish. After the witch trials ended, Hale wrote a book about the trials, titled A Modest Inquiry Into the Nature of Witchcraft, which was published posthumously in 1702. Hale died in this home on May 15, 1700.
The farm remained in the family for several generations and many renovations and alterations were made to the house over the years. In 1937, it was sold to the Beverly Historical Society and was opened to the public as a historic house museum.
Reverend John Hale’s grave:
Address: Abbott Street Burial Ground, Beverly, Mass
Reverend John Hale was buried here after he died in 1700 at the age of 64.
Site of Susannah Martin’s house:
Address: end of North Martin Road, Amesbury, Mass
Susannah Martin was a poor widow living in Amesbury when she was accused of witchcraft in May of 1692. She was arrested and brought to Salem Village where she was examined by Judge John Hathorne and Judge Jonathan Corwin. She was indicted on two charges of witchcraft and led to jail.
At the time of the witch trials, Martin was living in a home on what is now North Martin Road. Martin was found guilty and executed on July 19, 1692. It is not known what happened to the house after the witch trials but Amesbury residents later placed a large boulder with a memorial plaque near the former site of her home.
“Judge Samuel Holten House.” Essex National Heritage Area, www.essexheritage.org/attractions/judge-samuel-holten-house
“Witchcraft Victim’s Memorial.” Danvers Archival Center, Peabody Institute Library and Richard Trask, www.danverslibrary.org/archive/?page_id=750
“Witch Trials Self-Guided Tour.” Salem Witch Museum, www.salemwitchmuseum.com/SitesTour
“Historical Sites of Danvers.” Salem Witch Trials Documentary Archive and Transcription Project, University of Virginia, n.d., salem.lib.virginia.edu/Danvers.html
“Redd’s Pond.” Old Burial Hill, www.oldburialhill.org/redds/redds_pond_01a.html
Swift, Adam. “A Walking Tour of Salem Witch Sites with the Salem Historical Society.” Salem Patch, 29 Oct. 2015, patch.com/massachusetts/salem/walking-tour-witch-sites-salem-salem-historical-society-0
Larkin, Jack. Where We Lived: Discovering the Places We Once Called Home. The Taunton Press, 2006.
Historical Collections of the Danvers Historical Society, Volumes 6-9. Danvers Historical Society, 1918.
Drake, Samuel Adams. Our Colonial Homes. Lee and Shepard, 1894.
Robinson, John. Visitors’ Guide to Salem. Essex Institute, 1895.
The Essex Antiquarian, Volume 3. Edited by Sidney Perley. The Essex Antiquarian, 1899.
Goss, K. David. Salem Witch Trials: A Reference Guide. Greenwood Press, 2008.
Trask, Richard B. Danvers. Arcadia Publishing, 2002.
Historical Collections of the Danvers Historical Society. Vols. 3-5. Danvers Historical Society, 1915.
Perley, Sidney. The History of Salem, Massachusetts: 1671-1716. S. Perley, 1928.
20 thoughts on “Salem Witch Trials: Historical Sites Locations”
Thank you for posting this interesting material!Reply ↓
You’re welcome, John. I’m glad you liked it.Reply ↓
This was a great article. My step daughter went to Salem on a field trip just last week. I wish I had found this sooner! I’m going to go next week because I haven’t been there since I was a kidReply ↓
Thanks Mike! Glad you liked the article. Hope you have fun in Salem next week!Reply ↓
Interesting and excellent information. Thank you!
I’m doing considerable family history work…
I discovered recently is that have a family connection to two individuals mentioned… 1) Capt. Thomas Fisk (jury foreman for the Rebecca Nurse trial) is my direct 8th Great Grandfather. 2) Giles Corey apparently killed Jacob Goodale around 1676. Jacob was the son of my 10th Great Grand Parents (Robert Goodale and Catherine -Kilham- Goodale). I am also directly related to Henry Herrick (juror on the Rebecca Nurse trial that eventually convicted her) and to Joshua Rea (signed a petition to save Rebecca Nurse).
Are you related to any Witch Trial connected individuals?
I plan to visit the Nurse and the Rea homesteads in the spring. Any additional advice? (e.g., grave sites, other homes).Reply ↓
Thanks for your comment. As far as I know I’m not related to anyone involved in the witch trials (although some of my ancestors, the Fitchs, lived in the area at the time and had the same last name as some of the accusers in Esther Elwell’s case – so perhaps but I can’t find any evidence of it.) I included everything I know about the witch trial locations in this article so I don’t really have any additional advice except that one place I didn’t mention in the article is the General Israel Putnam house at 431 Maple Street in Danvers. Joseph Putnam lived there are the time but, unlike the other Putnams, he was a critic of the trials and refused to participate. His son Israel was born in the house and he later became a notable general in the American Revolution. The house is unfortunately closed due to a lack of funding but you can still view it from the street.Reply ↓
Anyway I can find more about judge Jonathan Corwin… We share the very same name and a few weird details! Thank you!Reply ↓
Great timing, Jonathan! I just wrote an article on Jonathan Corwin and plan on publishing it in about a week or so. Check the blog during the last week of January or subscribe to my email list to get all the latest articles delivered right to your inbox. You can also search for Corwin’s name in the search box at the top of the page for a handful of articles I wrote that mention Corwin, including an article I recently wrote about the Witch House in Salem.Reply ↓
Do you have anhything regard what haooened to the afflicted girls? Like their life after the trials and if yhey were punished for their crimes?Reply ↓
Hi Sammy, I’ve written several articles about specific afflicted girls including this one about Ann Putnam, Jr: http://historyofmassachusetts.org/ann-putnam-jr/ . That article contains links to the other articles about the girls.Reply ↓
Your research on Thomas Beadle’s Tavern conflicts with research I found at the Phillips Library some years ago.
There is a drawing, different from the one you have, and the book states the Tavern was “west of Daniels”, across from now Washington Square East; then Thomas Beadle’s Lane. From the drawing, it may be the house that is set back from
Essex and borders the Salem Maritime site.
I have copies of the information if you are interested.Reply ↓
Hi Blaire, yes I am definitely interested. I’ll email you.Reply ↓
Hi, I’m doing a project on the Salem Witch trials. Thanks so much for making this for everyone to read. It was very useful and helpful. Have a great day!!Reply ↓
You’re welcome, Nola!Reply ↓
i am very annoyed simply because todays salem is taking credit to many vistors that this was where all of the witch hystera took place when actually most occured in salem village [ danvers now). If you don’t have a car you are out of luck to see these sites of interest as there is no touring bus that can take you there which i am sure there are many that would actually like to see the real sites. I think it a shame ! Most vistors think that present day Salem is where it all happened when it really didn’t ! They need to have a tour bus that would take those interested and i am sure there would be many without taking away other attractions that Salem has to offer.Reply ↓
The trials happened in both Salem and Danvers. It is true that many of the early accused and accusers lived in Danvers and many of the early examinations took place there but examinations also took place in Salem and the accused where held in the Salem jail (as well as Boston and Ipswich) and the actual trials were held in Salem at the Salem courthouse.Reply ↓
Where did Ann Putnam Jr live, and does her house still survive? I see 19th photos of her (purported) home online (on her Wikipedia entry, for example), but can’t find any reference to a location or final fate of the house. (It’s not the Israel Putnam house – that house has a different arrangement of windows vs. the old photos I’m finding of Ann Putnam’s house…)
Any ideas? Thank you!Reply ↓
I saw an old article about Elizabeth Phinney (finney) )bailey) tryed and aqquited if withcraft between 1647 and 1697, but on your site I can not find anything, Do you know of any information on her. She would be my 6th time great grandmother.
M. FinneyReply ↓
Sorry but I don’t have any information on her.Reply ↓
I am a 10 th generation descendant from Martha Carrier from her son Andrew. They lived in Andover. Any information on location of their farm or any other info pertinent to her would be appreciated.Reply ↓
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Best Books About the Salem Witch Trials
If you’re interested in learning more about the Salem Witch Trials, you may want to read one of the many books published on the topic. Hundreds of books have been written about the Salem Witch Trials since they first took place in 1692. This is despite the fact that in October of 1692, Governor Phips ordered a publication ban on books discussing witchcraft and the Salem Witch Trials, fearing it would only fan the flames and incite more fear. […]
Salem witch trials
- Jeff Wallenfeldt
Salem witch trials, (June 1692–May 1693), in American history, a series of investigations and persecutions that caused 19 convicted “witches” to be hanged and many other suspects to be imprisoned in Salem Village in the Massachusetts Bay Colony (now Danvers , Massachusetts).
The real devil in Salem may have lived on the supper table.
The events in Salem in 1692 were but one chapter in a long story of witch hunts that began in Europe between 1300 and 1330 and ended in the late 18th century (with the last known execution for witchcraft taking place in Switzerland in 1782). The Salem trials occurred late in the sequence, after the abatement of the European witch-hunt fervour, which peaked from the 1580s and ’90s to the 1630s and ’40s. Some three-fourths of those European witch hunts took place in western Germany , the Low Countries , France , northern Italy , and Switzerland. The number of trials and executions varied according to time and place, but it is generally believed that some 110,000 persons in total were tried for witchcraft and between 40,000 to 60,000 were executed.
The “hunts” were efforts to identify witches rather than pursuits of individuals who were already thought to be witches. Witches were considered to be followers of Satan who had traded their souls for his assistance. It was believed that they employed demons to accomplish magical deeds, that they changed from human to animal form or from one human form to another, that animals acted as their “familiar spirits,” and that they rode through the air at night to secret meetings and orgies. There is little doubt that some individuals did worship the devil and attempt to practice sorcery with harmful intent; however, no one ever embodied the concept of a “witch” as previously described.
The process of identifying witches began with suspicions or rumours. Accusations followed, often escalating to convictions and executions. The Salem witch trials and executions came about as the result of a combination of church politics, family feuds, and hysterical children, all of which unfolded in a vacuum of political authority.
Setting the scene
There were two Salems in the late 17th century: a bustling commerce-oriented port community on Massachusetts Bay known as Salem Town, which would evolve into modern Salem , and, roughly 10 miles (16 km) inland from it, a smaller, poorer farming community of some 500 persons known as Salem Village. The village itself had a noticeable social divide that was exacerbated by a rivalry between its two leading families—the well-heeled Porters, who had strong connections with Salem Town’s wealthy merchants, and the Putnams , who sought greater autonomy for the village and were the standard-bearers for the less-prosperous farm families. Squabbles over property were commonplace, and litigiousness was rampant.
In 1689, through the influence of the Putnams, Samuel Parris , a merchant from Boston by way of Barbados , became the pastor of the village’s Congregational church. Parris, whose largely theological studies at Harvard College (now Harvard University ) had been interrupted before he could graduate, was in the process of changing careers from business to the ministry. He brought to Salem Village his wife, their three children, a niece, and two slaves who were originally from Barbados: John Indian, a man, and Tituba , a woman. (There is uncertainty regarding the relationship between the slaves and their ethnic origins. Some scholars believe that they were of African heritage; others think that they may have been of Caribbean Native American stock.)
Parris had shrewdly negotiated his contract with the congregation, but relatively early in his tenure he sought greater compensation, including ownership of the parsonage, which did not sit well with many members of the congregation. Parris’s orthodox Puritan theology and preaching also divided the congregation, a split that became demonstrably visible when he routinely insisted that nonmembers of the congregation leave before communion was celebrated. In the process Salem divided into pro- and anti-Parris factions.
Fits and contortions
Probably stimulated by voodoo tales told to them by Tituba , Parris’s daughter Betty (age 9), his niece Abigail Williams (age 11), and their friend Ann Putnam, Jr. (about age 12), began indulging in fortune-telling. In January 1692 Betty’s and Abigail’s increasingly strange behaviour (described by at least one historian as juvenile deliquency) came to include fits. They screamed, made odd sounds, threw things, contorted their bodies, and complained of biting and pinching sensations.
Looking back with the perspective provided by modern science, some scholars have speculated that the strange behaviour may have resulted from some combination of asthma , encephalitis , Lyme disease , epilepsy , child abuse , delusional psychosis, or convulsive ergotism—the last a disease caused by eating bread or cereal made of rye that has been infected with the fungus ergot , which can elicit vomiting, choking, fits, hallucinations, and the sense of something crawling on one’s skin. (The hallucinogen LSD is a derivative of ergot.) Given the subsequent spread of the strange behaviour to other girls and young women in the community and the timing of its display, however, those physiological and psychological explanations are not very convincing. The litany of odd behaviour also mirrored that of the children of a Boston family who in 1688 were believed to have been bewitched, a description of which had been provided by Congregational minister Cotton Mather in his book Memorable Providences, Relating to Witchcraft and Possessions (1689) and which may have been known by the girls in Salem Village. In February, unable to account for their behaviour medically, the local doctor, William Griggs, put the blame on the supernatural. At the suggestion of a neighbour, a “witch cake” (made with the urine of the victims) was baked by Tituba to try to ferret out the supernatural perpetrator of the girls’ illness. Although it provided no answers, its baking outraged Parris, who saw it as a blasphemous act.
Pressured by Parris to identify their tormentor, Betty and Abigail claimed to have been bewitched by Tituba and two other marginalized members of the community, neither of whom attended church regularly: Sarah Good , an irascible beggar, and Sarah Osborn (also spelled Osborne), an elderly bed-ridden woman who was scorned for her romantic involvement with an indentured servant. On March 1 two magistrates from Salem Town, John Hathorne and Jonathan Corwin, went to the village to conduct a public inquiry. Both Good and Osborn protested their own innocence, though Good accused Osborn. Initially, Tituba also claimed to be blameless, but after being repeatedly badgered (and undoubtedly fearful owing to her vulnerable status as a slave), she told the magistrates what they apparently wanted to hear—that she had been visited by the devil and made a deal with him. In three days of vivid testimony, she described encounters with Satan’s animal familiars and with a tall, dark man from Boston who had called upon her to sign the devil’s book, in which she saw the names of Good and Osborn along with those of seven others that she could not read.
The magistrates then had not only a confession but also what they accepted as evidence of the presence of more witches in the community, and hysteria mounted. Other girls and young women began experiencing fits, among them Ann Putnam, Jr. ; her mother; her cousin, Mary Walcott; and the Putnams’s servant, Mercy Lewis. Significantly, those that they began identifying as other witches were no longer just outsiders and outcasts but rather upstanding members of the community, beginning with Rebecca Nurse , a mature woman of some prominence. As the weeks passed, many of the accused proved to be enemies of the Putnams , and Putnam family members and in-laws would end up being the accusers in dozens of cases.
On May 27, 1692, after weeks of informal hearings accompanied by imprisonments, Sir William Phips (also spelled Phipps), the governor of Massachusetts Bay Colony, interceded and ordered the convening of an official Court of Oyer (“to hear”) and Terminer (“to decide”) in Salem Town. Presided over by William Stoughton, the colony’s lieutenant governor, the court consisted of seven judges. The accused were forced to defend themselves without aid of counsel . Most damning for them was the admission of “spectral evidence”—that is, claims by the victims that they had seen and been attacked (pinched, bitten, contorted) by spectres of the accused, whose forms Satan allegedly had assumed to work his evil. Even as the accused testified on the witness stand, the girls and young women who had accused them writhed, whimpered, and babbled in the gallery, seemingly providing evidence of the spectre’s demonic presence. Those who confessed—or who confessed and named other witches—were spared the court’s vengeance , owing to the Puritan belief that they would receive their punishment from God. Those who insisted upon their innocence met harsher fates, becoming martyrs to their own sense of justice . Many in the community who viewed the unfolding events as travesties remained mute, afraid that they would be punished for raising objections to the proceedings by being accused of witchcraft themselves.
On June 2 Bridget Bishop—who had been accused and found innocent of witchery some 12 years earlier—was the first of the defendants to be convicted. On June 10 she was hanged on what became known as Gallows Hill in Salem Village. On July 19 five more convicted persons were hanged, including Nurse and Good (the latter of whom responded to her conviction by saying that she was no more a witch than the judge was a wizard). George Burroughs, who had served as a minister in Salem Village from 1680 to 1683, was summoned from his new home in Maine and accused of being the witches’ ringleader. He too was convicted and, along with four others, was hanged on August 19. As he stood on the gallows, he recited the Lord’s Prayer perfectly—something no witch was thought to be capable of doing—raising doubts about his guilt for some in attendance, though their protests were refuted, most notably by Mather , who was present. (Mather’s role in the trials in general was complex, as he at various times seemingly both condoned and questioned aspects of the proceedings.) On September 22 eight more convicted persons were hanged, including Martha Corey, whose octogenarian husband, Giles , upon being accused of witchcraft and refusing to enter a plea, had been subjected to peine forte et dure (“strong and hard punishment”) and pressed beneath heavy stones for two days until he died.
As the trials progressed, accusations spread to individuals from other communities , among them, Beverly , Malden , Gloucester , Andover , Lynn , Marblehead , Charlestown , and Boston. On October 3 Cotton Mather’s father, Increase Mather , an influential minister and the president of Harvard, condemned the use of spectral evidence and instead favoured direct accusations:
The devil never assists men to do supernatural things undesired. When, therefore, such like things shall be testified against the accused party, not by specters, which are devils in the shape of persons either living or dead, but by real men or women who may be credited, it is proof enough that such a one has that conversation and correspondence with the devil as that he or she, whoever they be, ought to be exterminated from among men. This notwithstanding I will add: It were better that ten suspected witches should escape than that one innocent person should be condemned.
On October 29, as the accusations of witchcraft extended to include his own wife, Governor Phips once again stepped in, ordering a halt to the proceedings of the Court of Oyer and Terminer. In their place he established a Superior Court of Judicature, which was instructed not to admit spectral evidence. Trials resumed in January and February, but of the 56 persons indicted, only 3 were convicted, and they, along with everyone held in custody, had been pardoned by Phips by May 1693 as the trials came to an end. Nineteen persons had been hanged, and another five (not counting Giles Corey ) had died in custody.
Aftermath and legacy
In the years to come, there would be individual and institutional acts of repentance by many of those involved in the trials. In January 1697 the General Court of Massachusetts declared a day of fasting and contemplation for the tragedy that had resulted from the trials. That month, Samuel Sewall , one of the judges, publicly acknowledged his own error and guilt in the proceedings. In 1702 the General Court declared that the trials had been unlawful. In 1706 Ann Putnam, Jr. , apologized for her role as an accuser. Twenty-two of the 33 individuals who had been convicted were exonerated in 1711 by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, which also paid some £600 to the families of the victims. In 1957 the state of Massachusetts formally apologized for the trials. It was not until 2001, however, that the last 11 of the convicted were fully exonerated.
The abuses of the Salem witch trials would contribute to changes in U.S. court procedures, playing a role in the advent of the guarantee of the right to legal representation, the right to cross-examine one’s accuser, and the presumption of innocence rather than of guilt. The Salem trials and the witch hunt as metaphors for the persecution of minority groups remained powerful symbols into the 20th and 21st centuries, owing in no small measure to playwright Arthur Miller ’s use in The Crucible (1953) of the events and individuals from 1692 as allegorical stand-ins for the anticommunist hearing led by Sen. Joseph McCarthy during the Red Scare of the 1950s.
Learn More in these related Britannica articles:
- Protestantism: Massachusetts BayThe Salem witch trials and hangings took place in 1692 during a period of declining confidence in the old ideal.…
- witchcraft: The witch huntsAlthough the lurid trials at Salem (now in Massachusetts) continue to draw much attention from American authors, they were only a swirl in the backwater of the witch hunts. The outbreak at Salem, where 19 people were executed, was the result of a combination of church politics, family feuds, and…
- plea bargaining: History of plea bargaining in the United States…colonial era during the 1692 Salem witch trials, when accused witches were told that they would live if they confessed but would be executed if they did not. The Salem magistrates wanted to encourage confessions, and, in an attempt to uncover more witches, they wanted the confessed witches to testify…
- Increase Mather…for the witchcraft hysteria of Salem in 1692. Despite the fact that Increase and Cotton Mather believed in witches—as did most of the world at the time—and that the guilty should be punished, they suspected that evidence could be faulty and justice might miscarry. Witches, like other criminals, were tried…
- peine forte et dure…colonies took place during the Salem witch trials of 1692. One of the accused, 80-year-old Giles Corey, decided not to stand trial rather than forfeit his family’s goods. He was ordered to undergo
peine forte et dureand was pressed to death by interrogators using stone weights. Cases such as…
More About Salem witch trials
6 references found in Britannica articles
- application of peine forte et dure
- In peine forte et dure
- judgment of Sewall
- In Samuel Sewall
- role of Mather family
- In Increase Mather
- use of plea bargaining
- In plea bargaining: History of plea bargaining in the United States
- In Protestantism: Massachusetts Bay
- In witchcraft: The witch hunts
- Salem Witch Trials – Children’s Encyclopedia (Ages 8-11)
- Salem witch trials – Student Encyclopedia (Ages 11 and up)
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