It was accepted in the courts during the Salem Witch Trials. The evidence was accepted on the basis that the devil and his minions were powerful enough to send their spirits, or specters, to pure, religious people in order to lead them astray.
How did spectral evidence play a role in the Salem witch trials?
One of the reasons that the witch trials stand out in the history of early American law is that the court admitted spectral evidence to the proceedings. Spectral evidence was testimony in which witnesses claimed that the accused appeared to them and did them harm in a dream or a vision.
When was spectral evidence allowed?
Yet, in 1662, Sir Matthew Hale solidified the legal credibility of spectral evidence in witchcraft cases by allowing it in the Bury St. Edmund case in England, thus setting a precedent to be used at Salem in 1692.
What type of evidence did they use in the Salem witch trials?
Courts relied on three kinds of evidence: 1) confession, 2) testimony of two eyewitnesses to acts of witchcraft, or 3) spectral evidence (when the afflicted girls were having their fits, they would interact with an unseen assailant – the apparition of the witch tormenting them).
What is spectral evidence and why is it problematic if allowed in court?
Spectral evidence was admitted in the Salem Witch trials, but condemned by many before and after as legally invalid. Most of the convictions and executions were grounded in the testimony of spectral evidence. Spectral evidence is evidence-based on visions and dreams of the actions of a witch’s spirit or specter.
What were the effects of the Salem witch trials?
What is the legacy of the Salem witch trials? The haphazard fashion in which the Salem witch trials were conducted contributed to changes in U.S. court procedures, including rights to legal representation and cross-examination of accusers as well as the presumption that one is innocent until proven guilty.
Does spectral evidence exist?
“Spectral evidence refers to a witness testimony that the accused person’s spirit or spectral shape appeared to him/her witness in a dream at the time the accused person’s physical body was at another location. It was accepted in the courts during the Salem Witch Trials.
How old was the youngest person accused of witchcraft in Salem?
She was sent to jail, becoming at age five the youngest person to be jailed during the Salem witch trials. Two days later, she was visited by Salem officials.
|Other names||Dorcas Good|
|Known for||Youngest accused of witchcraft in the Salem witch trials|
Do witch hunts still happen?
For 300 years in Europe, thousands were executed for being “witches.” But witch hunts are still happening today, says historian Wolfgang Behringer.
What unusual evidence was used during the witch trials?
It was virtually impossible to disprove charges of witchcraft in Salem, and defendants were convicted with no evidence other than personal accusations, the presence of a “devil’s mark” on their bodies, or because they failed one of the so-called “witch tests.” The courts accepted spectral evidence, that is, evidence …
What caused the Salem witch trials of 1692?
The infamous Salem witch trials began during the spring of 1692, after a group of young girls in Salem Village, Massachusetts, claimed to be possessed by the devil and accused several local women of witchcraft. … By September 1692, the hysteria had begun to abate and public opinion turned against the trials.
What was the test called where witches floated in the water while non witches sunk?
Ordeal by water was associated with the witch-hunts of the 16th and 17th centuries, although in this scenario the outcome was reversed– if the accused sank, they were considered innocent, while floating indicated witchcraft.
Were there any survivors of the Salem witch trials?
5 Notable Women Hanged in the Salem Witch Trials
- Bridget Bishop. When the special Court of Oyer and Terminer convened in Salem Town in early June, the first case it heard was against Bridget Bishop, a local widow, as the prosecutor assumed her case would be easy to win. …
- Sarah Good. …
- Susannah Martin. …
- Martha Carrier. …
- Martha Cory.
How did the Salem witch trials affect the legal system?
During the Salem Witch Trials of 1692, more than 200 people were accused of practicing witchcraft. … So much of the tragedy of the Salem Witch Trials comes down to the failure of the court and the laws during that time: Laws that made such things as visions, dreams, and even the testimony of spirits permissible evidence.
What actually happened to the victims of the witch hunts?
According to The Boston Globe, 25 people were killed during the witch trials in Salem. “All 19 who were executed through a hanging died at Proctor’s Ledge. Five others died in jail, and one was crushed to death,” the paper reports.
What was the economic difference between Salem Town and Salem Village?
Residents of Salem Village were mostly poor farmers who made their living cultivating crops in the rocky terrain. Salem Town, on the other hand, was a prosperous port town at the center of trade with London. Most of those living in Salem Town were wealthy merchants.