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Sarah Good - Sarah Good

claimed door elizabeth witch

The case of Sarah Good serves as an example of one witchcraft prosecution. Sarah Good was well known in Salem. Penniless, she wandered the streets with her children begging from door to door and sleeping in neighborhood barns. Whether she received a handout or not she would leave a house grumbling and mumbling indistinguishable words. New Englanders believed such utterances, especially if they came from someone dealing with the devil, could cast spells and curses causing physical harm.

Frequently, as in Sarah's case, the sudden death of livestock or crop failure was blamed on a spell cast by a suspected witch. Contact with a witch could also cause an individual to see visions of the supposed witch. The vision would harass and hurt its victim.

In January 1692 Elizabeth Parris, the nine-year-old daughter of Reverend Parris, and Abigail Williams, eleven years old, began exhibiting odd behavior—screaming, having seizures, and going into trance-like states. Unable to find a physical cause, the town doctors attributed the behavior to the influence A terrified woman stands pressed against a door as an angry town mob accuses her of witchcraft. (© Baldwin H. Ward & Kathryn C. Ward/Corbis)
of the devil. Other girls began to show similar behavior. Pressed to say who had afflicted them, they named Sarah Good, a slave/maid of Reverend Parris named Tituba, and another town woman Sarah Osborne.

On March 1, 1692, Sarah faced examination by magistrates John Hathorne and Jonathan Cowin. In the following excerpt Sarah says that she is "falsely accused." During the examination, the girls were made to look at Sarah, causing them to be "tormented." Sarah claimed that the words she mumbled leaving houses were words of a Psalm and that she served only God.

Through the next few months depositions were taken from many townspeople including Sarah and Thomas Gadge and seventeen-year-old Elizabeth Hubbard. Sarah and Thomas Gadge claimed after Sarah Good appeared begging at their door, some of their "cowes [cows] died in a sudden, terible [terrible] and strange, unusuall [unusual] maner." Elizabeth Hubbard claimed Sarah Good had appeared in a vision to her and "most greviously afflect and tortor [torture] me." She also claimed to have seen the apparition of Sarah Good hurt Elizabeth Parris, Abigail Williams, and Ann Putnam. In most of the testimonies, witnesses claimed a vision of Sarah Good urged them to "write in hir [her] book." It was believed if someone wrote in a witch's book they too had made a pact with the devil.

Sarah Good was found guilty at her trial and was later sentenced to hang. She showed no remorse and was hanged on July 19, 1692.


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about 9 years ago

I am looking for books on Sarah Good and Rachel Clinton. Would really like to fine one on Clinton. I going to do a essay for my colleage history class. I think it would raelly be good if i could find out more on Clinton. If you could help me out in anyway it would be greatly appreached.

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about 10 years ago

We are doing a research over Sarah Good and the Salem Witch Trials. We would like to know if you know the physical description of her and her family. If you know then please let us know! Thank You!