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Word Count: 271
The events which led to the Witch Trials actually occurred in what is now the town of Danvers then a parish of Salem Town known as Salem Village Launching the hysteria was the bizarre seemingly inexplicable behavior of two young girls the daughter Betty and the niece Abigail Williams of the Salem Village minister Reverend Samuel Parris In February 1692 three accused women were examined by Magistrates Jonathan Corwin and John Hathorne Corwins home known as the Witch House still stands at the corner of North and Essex Streets in Salem providing guided tours and tales of the first witchcraft trials John Hathorne an ancestor of author Nathaniel Hawthorne is buried in the Charter Street Old Burying Point By the time the hysteria had spent itself 24 people had died Nineteen were hanged on Gallows Hill in Salem Town but some died in prison Giles Corey at first pleaded not guilty to charges of witchcraft but subsequently refused to stand trial This refusal meant he could not be convicted legally However his examiners chose to subject him to interrogation by the placing of stone weights on his body He survived this brutal torture for two days before dying From June through September of 1692 nineteen men and women all having been convicted of witchcraft were carted to Gallows Hill a barren slope near Salem Village for hanging Another man of over eighty years was pressed to death under heavy stones for refusing to submit to a trial on witchcraft charges Hundreds of others faced accusations of witchcraft dozens languished in jail for months without trials until the hysteria that swept through Puritan Massachusetts subsided
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