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Colonial America (1492-1776)
The "Witches" of Salem, Massachusetts: Part 1



The "Witches" of Salem, Massachusetts: Part 1
Reading Level
     edHelper's suggested reading level:   grades 5 to 7
     Flesch-Kincaid grade level:   7.2

Vocabulary
     challenging words:    demonic, parish, fasted, parsonage, sinister, misery, existence, instability, occult, nonsense, possession, participation, generally, limelight, posing, unreasonable
     content words:    Salem Witch Trials, New England, Salem Village, Minister Samuel Parris, West Indies, West Indian, Elizabeth Parris, Abigail Williams, Ann Putnam, To Reverend Parris


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The "Witches" of Salem, Massachusetts: Part 1
By Joyce Furstenau
  

1     What is the first thing that comes to mind when you hear the name Salem, Massachusetts? For most people it is the Salem Witch Trials of 1692. Twenty-four people were put to death as a result of these trials. It was a dark time in the history of Massachusetts.
 
2     During the seventeenth century, the average Englishman believed in the existence of an actual devil. They believed he interfered with life on earth to bring misery upon the godly. Those assisting the devil in these tasks were called "witches." Witches were generally thought to be women, although males could be tricked into participation.
 
3     The political conditions in Salem in the late 1600's appeared to be ripe for the spreading of rumors as well. The Massachusetts charter of 1629 was cancelled due to instability in England. Tensions in the New England states were fanned by several local wars with the Indians. New governors had been appointed and a new charter was about to be put into place for the Massachusetts colony.

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