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Salem Witch Trials

A guide to resources concerning the Salem Witch Trials at the BPL and beyond.

"What do you laugh at it?
Well I may at such folly.
Is this folly? The hurt of these persons.
I never hurt man woman or child."
- From the Examination of Susannah Martin

"How long have ye been in the snare of the devil?
I know nothing of it."
-From the Examination of Mary Parker

"[He] owned to the grand Inquest that the above written Confession was taken from his mouth and that he had [said] it, but he [said] he belyed himselfe, he also [said]…he knew he should dye for it whether he ownd it or no."
-From Samuel Wardwell’s recantation of his forced confession

"My opinion is they are in a sad condition."

"I am an innocent person: I never had to do with Witchcraft since I was born. I am a Gospel Woman."
-Martha Corey

"I never did hurt them.
It is your appearance hurts them, they charge you; tell us what you have done.
I have done nothing to damage them."
-From the Examination of Giles Corey

"The innocency of our Case with the Enmity of our Accusers and our Judges, and Jury, whom nothing but our Innocent Blood will serve their turn, having Condemned us already before our Tryals, being so much incensed and engaged against us by the Devil, makes us bold to Beg and Implore your Favourable Assistance of this our Humble Petition to his Excellency, That if it be possible our Innocent Blood may be spared, which undoubtedly otherwise will be shed, if the Lord doth not mercifully step in."
-John Proctor

"I know nothing of it. I am innocent to a Witch. I know not what a Witch is."
-Bridget Bishop

"Mary Warren Charges you with Several acts off witchcraft; what Say you to it Guilty or not Guilty
I am not Guilty.
You told her this day you cast away Thomas Westgate
I know nothing of it
You told her John [Lapthons] was [lost] in [illegible]
I never spoke a word to her in my Life."
-From the Examination of Alice Parker

"Dear Child, it is not so. There is another judgement, dear child."
-Elizabeth Proctor

"…I would humbly begg [sic] of yo'r honours to Take it into your Judicious and Pious consideratio[n] That my life may not be taken away by such false Evidence and wittnesses [sic] as these be…"
-Ann Pudeator

"[Sir] I cannot confess that which I do not know."
-John Willard

"...and the petition'r having lived from his childhood under the Same roofe w'th his said Mother he dare presume to affirme that he never saw nor knew any Evill nor Sinfull practice wherein there was any Show of Impiety nor witchcraft by her"
- from Petition of Thomas Hart, son of Elizabeth Hart

"I am as clear as the child unborn."
-Rebecca Nurse

" Wife declared to the Justices, that she never had any knowledge of them before that day; she was forced to stand with her Arms stretched out. I did request that I might hold one of her hands, but it was denied me; then she desired me to wipe the Tears from her Eyes, and the Sweat from her Face, which I did; then she desired she might lean her self on me, saying, she should faint."
- Nathaniel Cary, husband of Elizabeth Cary

Not Just Salem

While the hysteria had it's roots in Salem Village and Salem Town, more and more villages and towns became "afflicted" as time went on:

 (click on image to see full size)Amesbury- 1 accused & executed (Susannah Martin)
Andover (now North Andover)- 40 accused, 3 executed (Martha Carrier, Mary Parker, Samuel Wardwell)
Beverly- 6 accused
Billerica- at least 4 accused
Boxford- 3 accused
Gloucester- 17 accused
Haverhill- 5 accused
Ipswich- 7 accused
Lynn- 8 accused
Malden- 3 accused
Marblehead- 1 accused & executed (Wilmot Redd)
Peabody (part of Salem Town in 1692)- 5 accused, 3 executed (Giles & Martha Corey, John Proctor)
Reading- 6 accused
Rowley- 5 accused, 1 executed (Margaret Scott)
Salem Town (now Salem)- many accused, 4 executed (Bridget Bishop, Alice Parker, Ann Pudeator, John Willard)
Salem Village (now Danvers)- many accused, 3 executed (Sarah Good, George Jacobs, Sr., Rebecca Nurse)
Salisbury- 1 accused
Topsfield- 6 accused, 3 executed (Mary Easty, Sarah Wildes, Elizabeth Howe)
Wenham- 1 accused

Image Credit:
Map of Salem Village, 1692
(click on map for full-size image)

Proctor's Ledge/Gallows Hill

In January of 2016, a group of scholars forming the Gallows Hill Project at Salem State University announced that they had determined the location of the executions of the 19 people that were hung during the trials. Known as Proctor’s Ledge, the site was a rocky ledge on the lower slope of Gallow’s Hill, bordered by Proctor and Pope Streets in Salem. The area had been suspected to be the execution site for many years.

A memorial to the executed was constructed on the hill and formally dedicated on July 19, 2017, the 325th anniversary of the executions of Rebecca Nurse, Sarah Good, Elizabeth Howe, Susannah Martin, and Sarah Wildes. 

Proctor's Ledge Memorial
7 Pope Street, Salem MA 01970
Photo by BPL Staff, 7 November 2022
Click on image to see full-size

The Witch House

The so-called “Witch House” was the home of Jonathan Corwin, who served as a judge during the trials, from 1675 until his death in 1718. Contrary to the name and popular rumor, there is no evidence that any of the accused witches were ever brought to the house for questioning or trial. It is the only building still standing in Salem with direct ties to the trials.

Image Credit:
The Witch House, Salem 
13 November 2016
Photo by BPL employee
Click on image to see full-size

The Witch House- Official website for the Witch House in Salem, MA.

Rebecca Nurse Homestead

Located in what is now Danvers, Massachusetts. Nurse’s family supposedly secretly took her body there after her execution in order to give her a proper burial.

Image Credit:
7. Historic American Buildings Survey
Frank O. Branzetti, Photographer
June 20, 1940
(b) EXT.-VIEW OF HOUSE, LOOKING SOUTHWEST - Rebecca Nurse Place, 149 Pine Street, Danvers, Essex County, MA 
Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division

The Rebecca Nurse Homestead- Official website of historical site.


First Church of Salem

The First Church in Salem was founded in 1629, making it one of the oldest churches in North America. Salem Village's church splintered off from the Salem Town's church in 1678 when the village was founded. The congregation would re-join Salem Town's church in the 20th century.

Image Credit:
First Church in Salem Village
Excerpt from New England Magazine, volume 5 (1892)

First Church in Salem, FAQ & Salem Witch Hysteria

Salem Village Parsonage

The foundations of the Salem Village parsonage, where the Parris family lived during the hysteria, were discovered during an excavation of the site in 1970. The exposed foundations are accessible via a cart path behind 76 Centre Street in Danvers.

Image Credit:
Addition to Salem Village Parsonage built after Parris’ departure
Excerpt from “Witchcraft in Salem Village in 1692 : together with some account of other witchcraft prosecutions in New England and elsewhere" by Winfield S. Nevins, 1892

Salem Village- From the National Park Service's "Places Where Women Made History" guide.