A day of prayer in Salem Village

In early March, Betty Parris was sent to live at the home of Stephen Sewall, a court clerk, in Salem Town in order to give her some distance from the trials. She evidently stopped having fits and was restored to her more stable nature. The other girls were never formally separated from one other, however, and continued to meet whenever possible. Each rendezvous resulted in another series of accusations. On March 11 the village of Salem held a day of fasting (the act of abstaining from food or drink) and prayer to contemplate the presence of witchcraft in their community. The event was a genuine attempt by villagers to seek spiritual guidance and to examine their own roles in the charges against their fellow citizens. It could have been a turning point away from hysteria had the girls not been present at the service: once again they took center stage with their convulsions. This time they shocked the entire community by pointing the finger at an unlikely candidate, the highly respected and elderly Martha Corey.

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