In January of 1692, young girls in Salem Village reported that unseen forces afflicted them. The minister suspected witchcraft. On February 29, four men and four girls traveled to Salem Town to make complaints against three women who they believed served the devil and opposed the Christian church. Interrogations began the next day.
Included here are a few documents that illustrate how the Towne sisters—Rebecca Nurse, Mary Esty, and Sarah Cloyce—experienced the trials. This remarkable set of conflicts converged, sparking fear and setting the stage for the most widespread and lethal outbreak of witchcraft accusations on this continent. We continue to reckon with the personal experiences of those involved.