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Salem Witch Diaries
From The Diary of Anne Putnam
January 10, 1692
I came round to visit Abigail and Betty earlier today. I do wish I hadn’t, I was greatly frightened. Their slave, her name is Tituba, I believe. There is just something…off-putting about her. I got a sort of sense of…fear. I was simply afraid of her—and with good reason! I’ll explain. It just feels like she has …dangerous intentions with her little games.
So I was at the Paris’s, accompanied by several other girls from the neighborhood; Mary Wolcott, Elizabeth Hubbard, Elizabeth Booth, Mercy Lewis, and Mary Warren. We had grown tired of chatter, and Abigail proposed that we fetch Tituba to entertain us. I do not remember her exact words, but she spoke of Tituba’s fascinating stories and charming little games. As Abigail raved, she also noted, “We had better keep her tricks secret.”
I was quite confused; what little ‘games’ was she talking about? I soon learned. Tituba showed us to crack egg whites into a glass of water, and we could read the fortunes floating around in the glass. I reluctantly participated. As my egg whites were settling, Tituba let out a gasp from behind me. The foggy shape of a coffin had come to rest at the bottom of the cup. The girls crowded around me, as I let out a horrified shriek.
Tituba made the shape of a coffin, I know it! I am terrified, awaiting what evils she has in store for me. She is out to get me, that horrid, vile woman! Her tricks are not ‘charming’ or ‘amusing,’ as Abigail insists. They are forbidden, and we all know it!
Oh, what our town would say! It would be such a scandal; six young girls and that despised slave, practicing witchcraft in the Reverend’s very own home! I should be ashamed.
From The Diary Of Dorothy Faulkner
February 29, 1692
This February has lasted long enough—the townspeople are absolutely freezing. It is perhaps the coldest, longest winter to ever strike our humble little town. The air may be cold, but the gossip, as always, is hot. But this time, meaningless chatter does not describe the stories that have been going around.
I’ve heard whispers lately of terrible, evil things, and about two unlikely young girls: Reverend Paris’s daughter, dear Betty, and his niece, Abigail Williams. The two girls have taken sick, in awful ways. They have been dashing about, diving under furniture, contorting in pain, and running a fever. This is not normal behavior of an ill child. There is something bigger than the common sickness going on here.
I have not said anything, for fear of being blamed for the girl’s sudden illness. People start talking when you make such a bold assumption. You are, after all, what your neighbors say about you. Even so, I cannot keep it inside myself any longer. I must confess my suspicions. Whatever is happening to poor Betty and Abigail is not a normal illness. It is beyond anything we have seen before in our small town of Salem. There is something evil going on, something supernatural. I may even go as far as to believe this is the work of Satan himself.
The whole town is beside itself with worry. Thank God the doctor, William Griggs, shall diagnose the situation.
Oh, dear, the window has sprung open. Oh! The shivers! I think I’ll go make myself a scalding pot of tea and try to forget about the terrible things happening to such innocent young girls.
From The Diary Of Sarah Osborne
February 25, 1692
We live in a cruel world, full of petty people. I’ve known this ever since Robert died, or even before. Our town of Salem thrives on gossip and flourishes with lies. I mean, honestly, of all the ridiculous notions this town has had directed at me, this is by far the most outrageous. And I know what they say about me!
“Goody Osborne, almost 50 years old, such a disgrace to the community. She hasn’t attended church since 1689! She says she’s sick, but no one believes her. She married her indentured servant! Shameful! And oh, those legal battles with her children, and of course, the Putman family…”
Yes, I know exactly what they say about me, and I don’t care in the least!
But today, I was just informed of a new rumor going around, no doubt started by the Putnam family. It seems as if I’m the one who is afflicting those two sick girls, Abigail and Betty. What a prospect! Apparently I have been named as a witch!
Let me correct myself. I am not alone in the ‘wrongdoings.’ In fact, it seems that Sarah Goode, the town beggar, and Tituba, the Paris’s slave, are also in on the scheme. All three of us are, after all, social outcasts in the community. But really, saying we are inflicting pain on those little girls?
Salem has hit an all time low, I do believe.
From The Diary of Jessica Titus
The town is abuzz with terrible truths. We have been afflicted with a most dangerous case of witchcraft, led by the most likely women in the village, and I am determined to dispose of those causing the trouble.
The town is aware of the slave, the beggar, and the outcast, but I believe there is another witch in this town—Bridget Bishop. She is a disgrace to the community, with her outlandish ways. Her shameful conduct is upsetting the innocent families in Salem, and that is just what she wants.
Convicting Bishop may be difficult, but I, of all people, can pull it off. It’s easy enough to invent a crime. Perhaps she came to me, begging me to join her in the devil’s work. Maybe she caused my skirts to set aflame. Maybe she has poked and pinched me at her will. It’s quite easy to make something up—this town will relish in any accusations they can get their hands on.
True, whatever I say about Bishop may not be accurate, but what does it matter? I’m doing God’s work to empty Salem of evil, and if I must feed the people a story, it is only for the better, for I know in my heart that Bridget Bishop is a witch I shall take the burden upon myself to have her convicted.
Satan may trespass on our soil, but I shall not permit the infestation of witches tormenting children. This has to end.
We will take the necessary measures, as harsh as we see fit, to rid our once-pure town of all that is evil.
From The Diary of Bridget Bishop
June 10, 1692
I am no stranger to accusations. All my life I have been unfairly named as a witch. In 1680 I was tried, and cleared, of witchcraft. In April, a warrant was issued for my arrest. I went willingly to the courthouse.
It is no question of why I am being singled out. I live in a conformist society. Everyone lives in fear of imperfection, afraid that any difference is a sin. Perhaps I am blatantly disregarding the standards of our uptight Puritan society. And I shall pay the consequences for my so called sins.
According to this community, there are many flaws in my character. I have married three times. I have publicly fought with each of my husbands. I hold parties that go late into the night. I enjoy the forbidden game of shovel board. I enjoy dressing colorfully and uniquely. I’m morally corrupting the youth of Salem, and therefore I must be disposed of.
What can I do? The whole town wants to watch me die. My own brother-in-law claims I have spent nights conversing with the devil. A field hand saw me transform into a cat. Samuel Grey says I have visited his bed at night and tormented him. Numerous villagers say I am to blame for their various bits of bad luck. There is not one person on my side.
I write this in jail, with a single candle and a shaky hard. It is early in the morning. I am to be hanged today.
I will be taken to Gallows Hill and executed by the Sherriff, George Corwin. The reality of my predicament has not yet set in. I doubt it will, even as I’m hanging by the neck, waiting out the last few seconds on my life.
I am innocent. I am not remorseful, and the town shall know it.
From The Diary of Samuel Paris
September 22, 1692
I am dissatisfied.
All of the measures have been taken to end the suffering of my daughter, my niece, and my neighbors, and there is no letup.
I had to beat Tituba until she confessed, and Goody Osborne died in jail, Bridget Bishop was hanged. Nine days later, Sarah Good, Elizabeth Howe, Sarah Wilds, Susannah Martin and Rebecca Nurse were hanged. A month later, I had George Burroughs, John Proctor, George Jacobs Sr., John Willard and Martha Carrier hanged. Three days ago, Giles Corey was pressed to death. And today, Martha Corey, Mary Easty, Alice Parker, Ann Pudeator, Margaret Scott, Wilmot Reed, Samuel Wardwell and Mary Parker joined the dead.
How many more people must we kill? How many more people have caused this? How can we end this murdering spree?
The town is dissatisfied with all the deaths. Many are mourning the loss of neighbors, friends, relatives. In fact, Mary Herrick reported that the ghost of Mary Easty appeared to her and proclaimed her innocence of witchcraft.
I am unsure where to go next. Shall I keep the accusations coming, or shall I postpone the trials to figure out where to go from here? Still, the biggest question of all must be: When will Betty, Abigail, Mercy, Anne and all the others cease to be tormented so?
It is a great and terrible burden, one that is not easily relieved.