A series of hearings and prosecutions of people accused of witchcraft in colonial Massachusetts between February 1692 and May 1693. The events in Salem became a brief outburst of a sort of hysteria, while the practice was already waning in most of Europe.
More than two hundred people were accused. Thirty were found guilty, nineteen of whom were executed by hanging. One other man, Giles Corey, was pressed to death for refusing to plead, and at least five people died in jail.
The grand juries and trials for this capital crime were conducted by a Court of Oyer and Terminer in 1692 and by a Superior Court of Judicature in 1693, both held in Salem Town, where the hangings also took place. It was the deadliest witch hunt in the history of colonial North America.
The memorial at Proctor’s Ledge, believed to be the site at which 19 innocent people were hanged in 1692 for the supposed crime of witchcraft.