Variations of Town Involvement

Month of Accusation Andover Gloucester Haverhill Lynn Reading Rowley Salem Town Salem Village Topsfield
-1 3 3              
2 3
3 1 2
4 1 7 4 6
5 1 3 3 10 7
6 1 1
7 7 3 2
8 12 3 5
9 22 3 3 2
10 1
11 3
Grand Total 45 9 6 5 7 5 23 16 6
Communities of Intense Activity

In addition to revealing the number of communities directly affected by witchcraft accusations in 1692, the towns pivot table also shows variations in the timing and intensity of community involvement.

The table's "Grand Total" row reveals the varying intensity of the Salem outbreak. In ten communities, composing almost 42% of the total, only one or two residents were accused of witchcraft. Three towns had only three accusations; two communities had four. Thus in 60% of the towns affected by the outbreak, events closely resembled the brief and limited flare-up of a traditional witchcraft incident. The remaining nine communities (see table above), in which at least five residents were accused, experienced an outbreak whose relatively large magnitude more resembled a witch hunt.

Communities were assailed by witches for longer or shorter periods and at different times of the year. Some communities confined their activity within a month or two; others spread their involvement over many months. Some towns were active during the first wave of accusations from February through early June 1692; others were active during the second wave from late June, when the Court of Oyer and Terminer reconvened, through September 1692.

To analyze patterns of accusations in these nine communities, download the Towns Data Set and click Next.