Accused Witches

Accused Witch Residence Month of Accusation Month of Execution Sort
Abbott, Arthur Ipswich
Abbott, Nehemiah, Jr. Topsfield
Alden, John Boston
Andrew, Daniel Salem Village
Barker, Abigail Andover
First Five Cases in Accused Witches Data Set

The Accused Witches Data Set contains information about those who were formally accused of witchcraft during the Salem episode. This means that there exists evidence of some form of direct legal involvement, such as a complaint made before civil officials, an arrest warrant, an examination, or court record. Accused witches were almost always detained in jail to await further action by a grand jury, which had the authority to indict and hold the accused for trial. Trials by a special Court of Oyer and Terminer began in June 1692. In October 1692, this court was discontinued due to mounting criticism of its methods. It was replaced by another court, the Superior Court of Judicature, which held trials from January to May 1693.

There is no scholarly agreement as to how many people were really accused during the Salem outbreak. For example, some people who were named as witches during examinations may not have been formally charged. This data set excludes those who were only named. On the other hand, some of the accused who were jailed but for whom no complaint or examination exists have been included on the assumption that they were jailed as a result of legal proceedings. One case, Martha Sparks of Chelmsford, is included though she was accused sometime in the fall of 1691, preceding by months the first appearance of the outbreak in Salem Village. Since she was retained in jail throughout 1692, her case became sufficiently entangled with the Salem episode to appear in the data set.

The data set records information regarding 152 people who left a clear trace of being officially charged with witchcraft. This number should be considered as the minimum figure for counting Salem's victims. Some appear to have fled before the legal system could sweep them in while others, less fortunate, are simply unaccounted for due to the incompleteness of the historic record. Users of this site can exclude or add cases to the data set as new evidence comes to light or because they differently interpret the historical record.

The data set contains five columns (variables):

To explore the pattern of accusations and executions in 1692, click Next.