Are witches real? Are there beings who possess magical powers? Stories about their existence have been told in fairy tales way beyond the birth of the present generation. These stories have not always been about the old but have included the young also. The Abigail Williams story tells more about these tales.
Abigail was an 11-year-old lad who was accused of witchcraft in the 1600’s who in turn played a huge role as a witch accuser for the people of Salem. The interesting part of her tale is not only about her accusations but with the events that followed. Let’s meet this interesting young lad.
Abigail Williams’ Biography
Hunting witches was a trade and done in the same way as hunting criminals way back in the 1600’s at colonial Massachusetts in the US. The accused were taken to court and allowed to undergo a series of hearings and if found guilty, they were sentenced to death by hanging.
Abigail Williams was born on July 12, 1680. She was one of the first accusers in the then Salem witch trial way back in the 1600’s and had a hand in the hostage of over 150 people who pleaded guilty of witchcraft.
She had a little beginning and was orphaned at a tender age with no memories of her parents. It was said that her parents died during a Native American raid which led her to stay with Rev.Samuel Parris. The relationship between the pair has never been clarified, however, a few believed she was his niece while others believed, she was just a housemaid who found favor before her master. She lived with Betty Parris, Samuel’s daughter and their slaves Tituba and John in Salem while in Samuel’s house.
How It All Began – Early Life
Abigail Williams’ trauma started after she tried to imitate a fortune-telling technique known as Venus Glass; a technique which involved future telling with the aid of a glass and an egg where the symbol or shape seen in the glass determined its interpretation.
She practiced alongside Betty Parris, shockingly, what was supposed to end as a mockery or caricature became scarier after the girls claimed to have seen the image of a coffin in the glass. Consequently, as days rolled by, the duo never mentioned their ordeal to anyone until sometime in January 1692 when they began to behave in an erratic way, claiming that they were being tormented by invisible spirits who pinched them.
People who witnessed the acts of the duo mentioned that they were throwing fits in the air, taking solace under chairs and tables and were trying to climb the chimney in order to escape the wrath of their unseen tormentors. In a quest to know the mystery behind his daughters’ erratic behaviors, Rev Samuel Parris invited a doctor – Dr. Williams Griggs – to perform a diagnosis on the kids but he could neither place a diagnosis nor understand the reasons behind their strange actions.
Samuel concluded that his kids couldn’t get help medically and further suspected that they were possessed. At this point, he decided to run the witch test on them in which he told Tituba to make a witch cake; a cake made with rye and the accused urine. Afterward, the cake would be fed to a dog; it was believed that if they were possessed, the dog would behave the same way after ingesting the cake.
Activities As A Witch Accuser
As the days rolled by, a lot of other young ladies started behaving in the same erratic way including Ann Putnam Jr. and others whose names are not detailed. All of a sudden, Abigail and Betty confessed to being witches and further accused Sarah Good, Sarah Osbourne and Tibuta saying they initiated them into the fraternity of witches. The trio were tried, Tibuta pleaded guilty and was later imprisoned but was released after a year while Sarah Good was hung and Sarah Osbourne died in the prison since it was believed they were not repentant. With this, Abigail Williams was chosen to point out witches in the village and she was seen as a seer who saw their activities also.
Like it is known, rumors fly faster than a speeding bullet and Abigail’s fame was heard in the neighboring town and her activities led to the imprisonment of a lot of people and the death of 19 people from 1692 till 1693.
She kept on with her fame and a lot who lived far and wide came to witness most of these trials. Reverend Deodat Lawson was amongst those who really wanted to clarify his doubts and so he returned to Salem, witnessed a lot of the trials and further published a book titled A Brief and True Narrative of Some Remarkable Passages Relating to Sundry Persons Afflicted by Witchcraft at Salem Village which holds full details of Abigail Williams ordeals in Salem.
Abigail Williams’ Death – Cause of Death
Consequently, Abigail accused a lot of people of witchcraft but was only present in eight trials before she became a missing person. Arthur Miller speculated that she left Salem and became a prostitute in Boston, Massachusetts. Nevertheless, no one knows how true it is neither has anyone been able to say what happened to her.
Abigail’s ordeal had become a legacy, it has been acted in movies including The Crucible by Arthur Miller and the 2010 movie The Sorcerer’s Apprentice. No one could give a tangible say about her whereabouts, it is assumed that she died in 1697 when she was just 17, which was calculated to correspond with her last days in Salem before she went missing.