Ann Putnam: Confession

(1706)

Ann Putnam's Confession was a revocation of her accusations of witchcraft during the infamous 1692 witch trials in Salem Village, Massachusetts. Under seventeenth-century English law, witchcraft was a capital offense, and ultimately twenty men and women were executed for witchcraft. Hundreds of others were accused, and dozens languished in jail until they were released.


Witchcraft hysteria in Salem Village started in 1688 when thirteen-year-old Martha Goodwin and her siblings began exhibiting bizarre behavior and accused a laundress, Ann Glover, of bewitching them. Then, in January 1692, a number of other girls, including Abigail Williams and Elizabeth Parris, the daughter of the village's new minister, began to show signs of similar behavior. Soon, attention focused on Tituba, a servant in the Parris household, who told the girls stories about voodoo from her native Barbados. Also at this time, these and other girls began to practice fortunetelling. During one of these...

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Illustration of George Burroughs on trial at Salem for witchcraft (Library of Congress)

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