The Proctors are accused

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Few villagers had dared to speak out against the trials, so Proctor had sealed his fate by publicly chastising (scolding) War-

ren for accusing innocent people of being witches. Elizabeth Proctor had been even more critical of the trials than her husband, but he had consistently supported her. On April 4, 1693, villagers Jonathan Walcott and Nathaniel Ingersoll entered official complaints against Elizabeth and Sarah Cloyce, Rebecca Nurse's sisters. The women were officially arrested on April 8 and interrogated (questioned) three days later. During a pre-trial examination the young accusers were unable or unwilling to answer questions about Elizabeth's involvement in witchcraft. Finally John Indian, a slave in the Parris household and husband of confessed witch Tituba (see biography and primary source entries), claimed that Elizabeth's specter (spirit) had tried to choke him. The girls sat silently until they were forced to speak. This time they put on a memorable show by going into such severe fits that trial judge Samuel Sewall (see biography entry) noted the event in his diary entry for April 11. As the girls thrashed about on the floor, they babbled incriminating evidence against Elizabeth. The most damaging accusation was that Elizabeth had forced Mary Warren to sign the devil's book and then had cast a spell on her. As stated in Witchcraft at Salem, Elizabeth replied "Dear child, it is not so. . . . There is another judgment, dear child." The word "judgment" sent the girls into another frenzy. Abigail Williams cried out that she saw Proctor's specter walking over to Goodwife (the Puritan term for a married woman) Bibber, one of the spectators in the courtroom—at which point Bibber herself went into fits. This spectacle was enough to doom Elizabeth, even though she was pregnant at the time and had been calm under questioning. John Proctor defended his wife in public and was immediately arrested for participating in witchcraft with her.

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