The Topic:
Salem Witch Trials

Easier - In the summer of 1692, ignorance and fear ruled over Puritan Salem, Massachusetts. Several men and women stood trial for witchcraft. People called them witches and believed the devil had given them special powers. Nineteen of the accused were judged guilty and put to death by hanging. Another was crushed to death for not pleading guilty. Many others suffered and some died as a result of the turmoil and mistreatment.
Harder - It was a tough, cold winter in Salem, Massachusetts and sometime during February 1692, a small girl became strangely ill. She complained of pain and fever, burst out in incomprehensible gibberish, experienced convulsions and contortions; her symptoms baffled everyone. Cotton Mather had just written a popular book describing suspected witchcraft in nearby Boston. Then three other girls, playmates of the afflicted Betty Parris, began to exhibit similar unusual behaviors. Doctor Griggs examined the girls and after his first administrations failed, he declared that the girls' afflictions might be the result of witchcraft.
That grim diagnosis triggered a Puritan inquisition throughout the community. Finger pointing began. The first to be arrested were a Caribbean-born slave along with Sarah Good and Sarah Osburn, two elderly women of poor reputation. The hysteria raged into the summer months and filled the prisons with innocent people. Eventually, 150 "witches" were taken into custody. By late September, 19 men and women had been hanged on Gallows Hill, an eighty year old man pressed to death under stones for refusing a trial, five more accused had died in jail, but none of the executed had confessed to witchcraft. Then almost as fast as it had started, the witch hunt ended.
Hunting for Witches: Intolerance, Persecution and Injustice in Salem and Beyond... by M. Frazel
This comprehensive links-site provides resources, activities, lesson plans, and much more on the Salem Witch Trials.
Salem Witch Museum
Here you can read about the history behind the Salem Witch Trials of 1692.
Related Websites: 
2) Trials of Hysteria by K.A. Gustafsson from Suite 101
3) Salem Witch Trials
4) Salem Witch Trials 1692: A Chronology of Events
Salem Witch Trials Documentary Archive and Transcription Project from University of Virginia
This project consists of an electronic collection of primary source materials relating to the Salem witch trials of 1692 and a new transcription of the court records.
Related Websites:
2) Salem Witchcraft Trials 1692 by D. Linder
3) Salem Witch Trials by T. Sutter
4) Salem Witch Trials: The World Behind the Hysteria from Discovery School
5) Salem Witch Trials, 1692 at EyeWitness to History from Ibis Communications Inc.
Salem Witchcraft Hysteria from National Geographic
Here you find clues and testimony to investigate the Salem Witch Trials.
Related Websites:
2) Salem Witchcraft
3) Witches Curse from PBS's Secrets of the Dead II

After visiting several of the websites, complete one or more of the following activities.
Complete A Salem Witch Trials WebQuest. Follow or adapt the instructions found at these webQuest sites:
1) The Crucible (Grades 10-12) by C. Driscoll
2) The Crucible: Miller v. McCarthy (Grade 11) by L. Wallace and J. Kimmel
3) Salem Witch Trials (Grades 5-6) by T.Bonaguaro
4) Salem Witchcraft Trials WebQuest
5) Studying the Background of Arthur Miller's The Crucible (Grade 11) by A.M. Moore
6) Witchcraft or Witchhunt (Grade 11) by D. Jacobs
Hold A Mock Salem Witch Trial. This group project can involve several people. Begin by researching the history of the Salem Witch Trials. Use primary source documents to provide as much information as possible. Assign roles for the trial such as prosecution, defense, defendants, witnesses against, character witnesses for (family, friends), jury, judge, bailiff, and medical expert witness. Identify the way that the trials were conducted; i.e., testimony, type of evidence allowed, defense, etc. Conduct the mock trial as accurately as possible.
Read The Witch on Blackbird Pond. Read the 1959 Newbery Award winning book, The Witch of Blackbird Pond by Elizabeth George Speare. You can learn more about it and find lots of related resources and information at the eduScapes Literature Ladder's site: The Witch on Blackbird Pond. You might also be interested in Witch Child by Celia Rees.
Analyze the Causes for the Salem Witch Trials. Use the sites to research the trials. Identify the theories of why they occurred. Make your own decision and present your findings and beliefs of what really caused this horrific chain of events. In other words, justify your decision.
Debate Whether Any Witch Hunts Are Occurring Today? You hear the term, witch hunt, thrown around in public media forums and politics. The question is what if any witch hunts are being conducted today? Research and organize your evidence. You decide for yourself; then present your case. An alternative activity would be to identify witch hunts that have been conducted in recent history - - the last one hundred years for instance.
What Can Be Done To Prevent Witch Hunts? Identify the factors or conditions which you think prevent the conduct or success of witch hunts. Create a persuasive presentation to convince and educate others.
Websites By Kids For Kids
Salem Witch Trials (1999 ThinkQuest Internet Challenge)
This site covers the Salem Witch Trails and also includes an analysis of The Crucible by Arthur Miller.
Witches of Salem? (2000 ThinkQuest Junior Project)
Learn about how the accusations started, the people who were tried as witches, and about the trials of the accused.
More Websites
Ann Putnam Jr.: Predator or Victim? by M. Munro, Suite 101
As a young girl her accusations sparked the infamous Salem Witch Trials. Was she really a malicious spirit, or simply a pawn in her parent's political scheming?
Related Websites from Suite 101:
2) Torture and the Witchcraze of Early Modern Europe by M. Powell-Smith, Suite 101
Note: To visit all seven parts of this article, click on "Next Article" at the bottom of each Webpage.
Miller, Arthur: The Crucible, 1953 from © SwissEduc
Start with a summary of the play, then an act by act synopsis, plus lots of other related resources at this comprehensive website.
Related Sites:
2) Arthur Miller's The Crucible: Fact & Fiction by M. Burns
3) Hysteria and Ideology in The Crucible (1953) by R. Hayes
4) The Crucible by Arthur Miller from Anglia Campus
5) The Crucible - Story Analysis
6) The Crucible-Study Guide
7) The Crucible from SparkNotes
8) The Crucible by Arthur Miller 1953 by W. Bly from Barrons PinkMonkey
9) Why I Wrote "The Crucible": An Artist's Answer to Politics by Arthur Miller
Cotton Mather by P.R. Johnson
This site features writings of and about Cotton Mather - - a leader and minister of Puritan NewEngland and a figure in the Salem Witch Trials.
Puritanism in New England by D. Cody from the Victorian Web
This brief article summarizes the history of Puritans in the 17th century Colonies.
Related Websites:
2) About the Puritans from Fire and Ice: Puritan and Reformed Writings
3) Puritans in Colonial America
4) Puritanism, Puritans
5) Puritanism in New England by D.M. Campbell
6) Puritan Jurisprudence: Progress and Inconsistency by J.G. McClendon
7) Resources on the Puritans (Links-site)
Rebecca Nurse: A Tragedy of Justice
Why were the townspeople so shocked by the accusation of Rebecca Nurse? What ulterior motives did Rebecca's accusers have for accusing her of witchcraft? What did Ann Putnam confess in 1706 about her accusation of Rebecca Nurse?
Similar Websites:
2) Mary Bradbury's Trial
3) Susanna North Martin
Salem Witchcraft Trials 1692 by D.W. Koeller
This site provides a short summary of the events leading up to the trial and the outcomes.
Witch Hunts (A.D. 1400-1800) by B.A. Pavlac, Kings College
The European Witch Craze started roughly during conclusion of the 15th century and peaked during the first half of the seventeenth century.
Related Sites:
2) Early Modern Witch-Hunt by S. Muhlberger
3) Witch Hunt in Modern Europe
Witchhunts That Don't Involve Witches
According to American Heritage Dictionary, a witchhunt is a political campaign launched on the pretext of investigating activities subversive to the state. Examine campaigns, some of which have happened in our century, where groups of human beings were persecuted because of race, religion, or political beliefs.
Related Website:
2) About McCarthyism from Poets Index
3) Hollywood Blacklist by D. Georgakas
3) McCarthyism
Websites For Teachers
The Crucible by J.A. Frieden and D.W. Elliott
This learning guide for the film presents Arthur Miller's play about the Salem witchcraft trials. The play and the films capture the sense of the late 1600s as well as the hysteria and injustice of the red scare of 1947 - 1956.
Related Websites:
2) Teaching The Crucible: A Guide to Curriculum Integration from Social Studies School Service
3) The Crucible by Arthur Miller
4) The Cruicible by P. Coogan
5) The Crucible from SCORE
6) The Crucible Project
7) Salem Witch Trials (Grade 11) by J. Condon at My School Online,1872,2683-130122-2-15204,00.html
Crucible-Witch Hunts (Grades 9-11) by C. White, D. Underwood, & R. Campbell from The Solution Site
This unit begins with an overview of Puritain doctrine in relation to the Salem Witch Trials of the late 17th century. The lesson includes a reading of Arthur Miller's "The Crucible," a statistical analysis of the Salem Witch trials, a simulation of the hysteria which infected the village like a virus.
Puritanism and Predestination by C.L. Heyrman from National Humanities Center's TeacherServe
This lesson plan site contains a summary of Puritanism and the idea of predestination, student activity ideas, and questions and answers regarding Puritanism.
Salem Witch Trials (Grades 9-12) from Discovery School
Students examine the allegations and offer alternatives to witchcraft to explain the people’s behavior.
Salem Witch Trials by A. Perno
The site contains a lesson outline and resources.
Salem Witch Trials by (Grades 7-9) P. Keitel and J. Kunzler
The lesson's focus is the Salem witch hysteria. It is a cooperative activity that requires students to research, role play, respond, and report.
Salem Witch Trials Unit (Grade 5) by J. Christensen and W. Williams
This unit plan offers lessons, activities, and both off and online resources for study of the Salem Witch Trials.
Salem Witch Trials
colonial life
New England
witch hunt
Colonial life
Gallows Hill
Court of Oyer and Terminer
spectral evidence
spiritual perfection
evil spirit
"red scare"
Puritan Law
Salem, Massachusetts
Created by Annette Lamb and Larry Johnson, 12/05.