Salem After the fact Throughout the years, many have wondered what happened to Salem after the famous Salem Witch Trials. The recovery period that was necessary after these trials lasted for a quite a while; people were scared and afraid that something along the lines of the trials could occur again. As a result of the trials, in the next decade to come apologies were issued publicly, and compensation was paid as restitution to the families of those who were affected; much of the cataclysm had settled down.
However, the people of Salem were starting to become ashamed of the horrible acts that occurred. Due to the immense hysteria, Salem began to deteriorate as a result of neglecting everyday duties. Great hysteria was brought about during and after the trials. In remembrance of the trials, on January 14, 1697, the General Court of Massachusetts declared that it be a day of fasting (Blumberg). I am sure that in the time between the trials and the day of fasting many people became depressed and the guilt that was felt brought about much hysteria in the village of Salem.
On that day one of the judges embroiled in the trials, Judge Samuel Sewall, asked a reverend at a church in Boston to read an apology publicly concerning his mistakes in the trials (Brooks). In the book The Aftermath of the Salem Witch Trials, it is stated, “citizens were implored to reflect on ‘the late tragedy raised amongst us by Satan and his instruments, through the awful judgment of God. ” Considering how religious the Puritans were, it would make sense that the shame and S. Mathieson 2 remorse would make them wonder how God was going to punish them or even if he was going to.
The people of Salem considered their punishment to be in the events of some type of insect infestation that razed the season’s pea crop (Callis). The understanding of why the court of Salem wanted to have this day was certainly obvious; it had the potential to settle everyone down and possibly get things back to normal. In the article, “A Brief History of the Salem Witch Trials,” the author states, “the General Court ordered a day of fasting and soulsearching for the tragedy of Salem” (Blumberg). The trials in the Salem Witch trials were certainly unfair and preposterous.
None of what was going on made any sense. As time went on, people started to realize that the quality of the evidence that was used in the trials was not reliable; therefore, they canceled any additional inquisition (Hurd). It was said that Samuel Sewall, one of the magistrates in the trials, was seemingly affected by portents and omens (Hurd). When thinking about the reality of the trials, if there was additional evidence that was more reliable, which would have led to further examination it could have been of great significance in the trials.
As well as, if the defendants were allowed to actually testify on their behalf and have legal assistance. After the trials escalated, people started to feel bad and started to issue apologies for the roles they played in the Salem Witch Trials. Samuel Sewall issued a public apology; he took the blame for his actions and did not want to bid any excuses, nor did he want to blame his actions on uncanny strengths (Blumberg). In his book, After the Fact: The Surprising Fates of American History’s Heroes, Villains, and Supporting Characters, Owen J.
Hurd expressed that Samuel Sewall’s apology was considered “an astoundingly bold act of contrition. ” Many of the other people in the town seemed to be blaming supernatural forces, particularly the devil, for these S. Mathieson 3 appalling occurrences. Due to the religious beliefs of the Puritans, this was a ghastly promulgation. The jurors during the trials claimed that none of any of the accusations and decisions in the trials was their fault; they claimed the devil made them do it (Callis).
During the trials, most people in the village got so caught up in the accusations that they forgot their everyday lives. Overall, people were beginning to forget themselves as well. Much like what would be assumed to happen during an event like this, happened. The people of Salem seemed to have felt shame and remorse. The article “The Salem Witch Trials” states, “the people had been so determined upon hunting out and destroying witches that they had neglected everything else” (Brooks).
Due to everyone abandoning their everyday jobs, the food would have become scarce which could have contributed to some of the hysteria. The village began to experience many misfortunes from droughts, crop failures, smallpox outbreaks, and Native American attacks (Brooks). I am sure that to the Puritans, they saw these misfortunes as a sign of God punishing them for the terrible incidents that occurred. Many people became deranged because of the limit on the resources in Salem.
Around 300 years later, the Salem Witch Trials are still remembered. The house in which the first three accused women were examined still stands today (What About Witches). The village of Salem, which is where the trials occurred in 1692, is not the town of Salem that we know today. The village of Salem’s name was changed to Danvers in 1752 (salem. lib. edu/Danvers). This could have possibly been because the people of Salem felt well ashamed of the happenings from decades before.
Unlike many areas which people were buried from hundreds of years ago that have been lost, the Old Burying Point is still located in Danvers and can be visited. At the Peabody Essex Museum, 552 of the original documents used in the Witch Trials have been S. Mathieson 4 preserved and stored. Some reminders of the trials such as, Witch Pins, used in the examination of the accused individuals, and even a bottle that is supposed to contain the finger bones of the victim George Jacobs can even be found in the Clerk’s office of in the Essex Superior Court House (What About Witches).
It was not until 1957 that the state of Massachusetts officially apologized for the trials and cleared the names of the remaining victims who were not listed in the 1711 law. In November 1991, the Salem town officials announced plans for a Salem Witch Trials Memorial in Salem, well now Danvers. In August 1992, which was the 300th anniversary of the trials, the memorial was revealed and dedicated by Nobel Laureate Eli Weisel. It was not until 2001, however, that the state of Massachusetts ame