Tituba had been entertaining Parris's nine-year-old daughter Elizabeth (called Betty) and his eleven-year-old niece Abigail Williams, who was also living in the home, with stories about voodoo (magic) customs in her native West Indies. Soon Ann, Jr. and other Salem Village girls had joined Tituba, Betty, and Abigail in the tale-telling sessions. At that time only twelve years old, Ann, Jr. had been sent by her mother to Tituba for advice in contacting the spirit of Mary Bailey. Ann, Jr.'s adult knowledge of the world had made her high strung and fearful, yet she became one of Tituba's best "pupils." She had a quick mind and an active imagination, as well as extensive experience with her mother's own brand of occult practices, which enabled her to understand Tituba's stories.
By January 1692 other neighborhood girls were gathering around Tituba at the Parris fireside. When Betty and Abigail fell into fits that month, Ann, Jr. and Elizabeth Hubbard, one of the other village girls, joined them in exhibiting extreme emotional distress and incoherent (confused and unclear) babbling. The following month Tituba and her husband, John Indian, baked a "witch cake" containing the girls' urine and fed it to the family dog in an attempt to identify the witches who were casting a spell on them. In February the girls accused three women—Tituba, Sarah Osborne, and Sarah Good—of bewitching (casting a spell upon) them. In early March the women were taken to the meetinghouse (church
Ann Putnam, Jr. Discovers Her Powers in Andover
Sometime before the first Salem trial executions took place in July 1693, the village of Andover, Massachusetts, was struck by the witch scare that was spreading like wildfire through the region. When the wife of Andover resident Joseph Ballard suddenly fell ill, Ballard immediately tried to determine the occult causes of her illness by sending for an accuser from Salem. This was how Ann Putnam, Jr. found herself, along with fellow accuser Mary Walcott, riding a horse to Andover to consult the sick woman and her relatives. The girls were welcomed as heroines, and they relished their virtually unquestioned power. They were taken through dozens of homes to visit sick patients and determine whether or not they felt the presence of a witch who could be held responsible for the afflictions. Since Ann and Mary did not know everyone in the village, they could not identify the witches' specters (spirits) they saw sitting by the patients.
The justice of the peace, Dudley Bradstreet, therefore arranged a sort of line-up to help solve the problem of anonymity. He mixed a group of suspects with respected citizens, blindfolded all of them, and had them walk individually past Ann and Mary as the girls were in the throes of possession. The people in the line-up were instructed to touch the girls' hands. If a girl stopped her fit for a moment then the person was considered guilty, as it was believed the person was calling off the demons and was thus in control of the situation. Bradstreet had not anticipated, however, that the girls would name many more people than he had hoped. By the end of the day Ann and Mary had identified more than half a dozen "witches," and forty warrants had been issued for arrests of other line-up participants. In fact, there were so many suspects that Bradstreet quit writing warrants. The accused were sent to the town jail to await trial without legal representation. Now even more confident of their powers, Ann and Mary returned to Salem to appear as witnesses in the trials. Ann was one of the main accusers who sent twenty innocent people to their deaths by September 22, 1693, when the last hangings took place.
building) for questioning, and during the investigation Tituba confessed to practicing witchcraft. Tituba, Good, and Osborne were all put in jail. Later that month Ann Putnam, Sr. was also having fits and led the girls in accusing Rebecca Nurse, a respected seventy-one-year-old member of the Salem Village congregation, of being a witch (see primary source entry). Sig-
Ann Putnam, Jr. was one of many girls who were supposedly afflicted by the witches in Salem Village.
Reproduced by permission of the Corbis Corporation (Bellevue).
nificantly, Nurse was a member of the Towne family, longtime enemies of the Putnams in the boundary feud. Formal witchcraft trials began, and by the end of May thirty-seven people had been arrested as suspected witches. Throughout the trials Ann, Jr. remained the most active accuser, often displaying the wildest behavior and hurling the most devastating charges at her victims.
Giles Corey was pressed to death under heavy stones after refusing to stand trial.
Reproduced by permission of North Wind Pictures Archive.
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