The Salem Witch Trials Pt. 1: Salem Town and Salem Village
Okay guys, I have been dying to find the time to finally start posting articles in this section! For those of you that know me know two things, one, I LOVE history, huge history buff right here, and two, I love all things ghost related. My goal is to travel to some of the world’s most haunted places (just maybe not stay overnight in any of them I’m not that adventurous yet). I figured the best place to start this section in would be the birthplace itself! I was born in Salem MA in 1996, just a little over 300 years after one of the United States’ worst instances of mass hysteria ever recorded occurred.
Now as a bit of a disclaimer before I fully start, all of this information is from stuff I was taught in school, from people in Salem/field trips, from my family, and in my semester-long Salem Witch Trials course in college. I am trying to make this information as accurate as possible while summarizing all of the intensive details so please don’t be harsh if there are incorrect details.
Between the 1670-90s, Salem was a slowly growing community. Divided by village and town, there was some slow growing tension among the townsfolk. Salem Town is what we all know today as modern day Salem, MA, where fishing, merchants and successful ports ruled. Whereas Salem Village, where a majority of the witch accusations occurred, is actually modern day Danvers, MA, were slowly growing a successful agricultural community. Starting pretty early on, Salem Village was looking to rename itself to Danvers and disconnect itself from those of Salem Town. As you can tell from the picture above, Salem Village was a vast space of farm land, spreading over a solid portion of land. To visit Salem Town whether it was to sell goods, buy, or to attend town meetings was somewhat of a trek for those living farther out.
Now the main breaking point was the fact that every Sunday, everyone from the Village had to make the journey to Salem’s church which was located in the heart of Salem Town. This led to many in the Village longing for more independence and demanding the right to their own church and council.
Now some members of the community were more interested in the idea of separation for power reasons. They wished to have more control over their village dwellings, and becoming a separated entity from the town could lead to advances in this idea of power.
So here we have our first case so to speak as to how growing tension between the two factions led to an outbreak of mass hysteria among the Salem community. Along with the overarching fear of attack by surrounding Native American tribes, the societal balance of Salem inhabitants had reached an all time straining high.