March 11 (March 1, o.s.)

Massachusetts: The public examinations of the accused witches of Salem Village begin in the village meetinghouse, which is packed with spectators in addition to the accused, the complainants, and the afflicted girls.  Magistrate John Hathorne conducts the interrogations.

The first examination is of Sarah Good.  Hathorne asks her what evil spirits she is familiar with.  None, she answers.  He then asks if she has made a contract with the Devil, which she denies.  He asks why she has hurt the girls, which she denies doing, either directly or by means of a “creature.”  Hathorne then asks the girls to look at her and see if she was one of their tormentors.  They do, confirm that she is one of them, and immediately fall into fits.  When Hathorne asks Good to explain why the girls have just been afflicted, she blames Sarah Osborne.

Good’s manner, in keeping with her personality, is abrasive and disrespectful of the authority of the court, and the assembled spectators are not convinced of her innocence despite her consistent denials of wrongdoing.  Even her husband, William Good, tells the court that he suspects she might be a witch, though when pressed for evidence he can offer none other than her unpleasant manner.

Sarah Osborne, just accused of afflicting the girls by one of her co-defendants, is examined next.  Hathorne asks her the same series of initial questions he asked Good, and she denies guilt in response to all of them.  When Hathorne asks how well she knows Good, she says that she barely knows her and hardly ever sees her, and when Hathorne notes that Good accused her of tormenting the girls she responds that for all she knows the Devil goes around tormenting people in her image.  Hathorne then asks the girls to look at Osborne as they looked at Good and see if she too had been afflicting them, and the response is the same as it was with Good.

At this point the spectators begin to offer suggestions of incriminating things Osborne has said and done.  One person says that she said that she was “more like to be bewitched” than to be a witch herself.  When Hathorne asks her to explain that remark, she says that she once had a frightening experience at night, which may have been a dream or may have been real, that something that looked like an Indian pinched her neck and dragged her by the head toward the door.  Another incriminating statement mentioned by the spectators is that she once said that she would not be “tied to that lying spirit any more,” and when Hathorne asks her if she meant the Devil, she admits that she was referring to “a voice” that had told her not to go to church, but says that she resisted it.  Several people, however, including her husband, Alexander Osborne, then say that she has not, in fact, been to church in over a year.  She says that she was sick, but Hathorne considers this firm evidence that she did indeed “yield to the Devil” at least to some extent.

The next examination is of Tituba, the Indian slave of Salem Village minister Samuel Parris who was the first person to be accused.  A group of distinguished men in Salem, including Hathorne and Corwin, examined her then, and she admitted that she had learned some magical practices from her mistress in “her own country,” who she said was a witch, but she steadfastly denied being a witch herself.  She now starts off by continuing her denials that she is a witch, but as Hathorne continues with his relentless questioning her story begins to change.  She admits that the Devil had appeared to her and asked her to serve him, and she says that she saw Good and Osborne afflicting the children, helped by other people she doesn’t know: two women and a man from Boston.  She describes the animal familiars of Good (a yellow bird that she suckled between her fingers) and Osborne (a creature with the head of a woman and wings and another, shaped like a man but two or three feet tall and hairy all over).  She says she also saw various animals that pressured her to afflict the children, and that she eventually gave in to all the pressure from the Devil and the witches and the animals and attacked the girls herself, first Betty Parris and Abigail Williams, who live in her household, and later Ann Putnam and Betty Hubbard.

The girls, who were badly afflicted when Tituba began to testify, come out of their fits immediately when she begins to confess.  At the end of her examination they fall back into the fits, and when she accuses Good of afflicting them they agree.

Tituba then falls into fits herself, and accuses Good and Osborne of afflicting her because she confessed and implicated them.  The days proceedings end in disorder, as the girls, especially Betty Hubbard, are also severely afflicted.

Shortly after dusk, William Allen and John Hughes, residents of Salem Village, hear a strange noise and see a strange animal on the ground.  As they approach it it transforms into two or three women who fly away, who they assume to be Good, Osborne and Tituba.  Meanwhile, Betty Hubbard, being watched over at Dr. Griggs’s house by Samuel Sibley (whose wife Mary had earlier convinced Tituba to make the witch cake that ended up incriminating her and starting the whole affair), says she sees Sarah Good, who is being kept under guard at the house of the constable, Joseph Herrick, on the table in front of her, barefoot, bare-legged, and naked-breasted.  Betty’s description is so convincing to Sibley that he swings his staff at the spot on the table where she claims to see Good, whereupon she says that he hit her hard on the back and almost killed her.

New Mexico: Governor Vargas and his expedition leave their campsite at dawn and arrive at the El Alamo water hole at 10:00 am. There they find the twenty Indian scouts who were sent there the night before, and they report that there is hardly enough water in the hole for the people, let alone the horses. The expedition members use the water to make hot chocolate, which they hadn’t been able to do the night before because they hadn’t made fires for fear that there were Apaches in the area. After drinking the chocolate, Vargas asks his Apache guide where there is sufficient water for the horses. The guide points to some mountains to the east, and the expedition sets off toward them.

When they arrive at the mountains they see some green underbrush beside them that seems to indicate water, and on closer inspection they find a pool of rainwater where some of the horses drink. Vargas continues on with the mounted soldiers and finds the tracks of three Apaches, whereupon he divides up the soldiers and they carefully scout around the mountains. Vargas’s group, consisting of three soldiers and a few Indians, soon finds another pool of rainwater in a ravine, where they stop and wait for the others to reach them. When the other group arrives, they report that they had seen no Apaches or even tracks but had found water. The Apache scout tells them that Apaches live in the area. Vargas then orders a halt and the group spends the night there.

Published in: on March 11, 2008 at 12:00 am  Comments (1)  

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  1. […] magistrates, question Tituba and Sarah Osborne for the second day. Although the examinations on the first day were held in the Salem Village meetinghouse and open to the public, these examinations are […]

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