The Salem Witch Trials Colonial America Activity
In 1692, in the town of Salem, Massachusetts, over 100 people were put on trial and accused of being witches. Twenty of them (and two dogs!) were put to death. This happened partly because, in the 16th and 17th centuries, people all over the world believed that witches really were flying around on broomsticks, squeezing through keyholes, killing sheep, and sinking ships. Witches were blamed for evil everywhere in the world.
In Salem, a servant named Tituba, who came from the Caribbean island of Barbados, would tell scary stories to two young Salem girls, Elizabeth Parris and Abigail Williams. After hearing these tales, the girls began barking like dogs, meowing like cats, and shouting out in church. Most likely they were just having a little fun and trying to get some attention, but the townsfolk were sure the girls had been bewitched.
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Elizabeth and Abigail decided to play along and accused Tituba and two old women of being witches. The women were arrested. Seeing the power they suddenly had, the girls began accusing others of being witches. The girls finally went too far when they accused the Reverend John Hale’s wife, Sarah, of being a witch. People began to wonder if the girls had been wrong all along, but by then it was too late. Samuel Sewall, one of the judges who had sentenced several “witches” to death, made a public apology for all the wrongs that been done to decent, law abiding citizens.
Pretend the Salem Witch Trials is the name of a movie. Design a movie poster that includes the headline: Coming Soon to a Courthouse Near You! Include the names of the “stars”—Tituba, Judge Sewall, Sarah Hale, and Elizabeth Parris and Abigail Williams. Think about including a promotional give-a-way, such as: Free Brooms to the First 30 Spectators. And, of course, include comments from the critics.
The Salem Witch Trials
From Read Draw Remember American History Activities by Scholastic SC-0439385199-938519