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Salem Witchcraft Hysteria: A National Geographic Interactive Site

Logo, Salem Witch Hysteria Website

Part of the National Geographic Society website, this is an interactive exercise in which the visitor follows a narrative compiled from several Salem witchcraft trial accounts. These trials took place in Salem, Massachusetts, in 1692. The site places visitors in the shoes of one of Salem's accused witches, describing conditions in the jail, the ordeal of the trial, and the accused's eventual confession to performing acts of witchcraft. The site also provides links to brief, 100-word biographies of 11 persons involved in the trials, such as young accusers Ann Putnam and Abigail Williams, slave and accused witch Tituba, and Tituba's master, Reverend Samuel Parris. The narrative leads to a positive outcome--the accused is eventually released from prison--but it offers an optional link to discover what may have happened to a prisoner who refused to confess his or her guilt. The site also contains links to a discussion forum and to an "Ask the Expert" page which allows visitors to pose questions to Richard Trask, Danvers, Massachusetts, archivist and curator of the Rebecca Nurse Homestead. There is also a four-item bibliography of recent works on the Salem trials. This site contains no primary documents, yet it is useful for conveying to younger secondary school students the sense of the panic that surrounded the trials.