Image from “A Short History of the Salem Village Witchcraft Trials” by M.V.B. Perley, 1911.

Born in England in 1653, Samuel Parris moved with his family to Barbados and later to Boston, where he attended Harvard. Samuel became the pastor of Salem in 1689, and soon became one of the key leaders in the Witch Hunts. His daughter, Betty, and niece, Abigail Williams, were two of the first girls to experience “witch-induced” fits, and was a corroborating witness at a number of the trials. Parris also actively preached sermons condemning the witchcraft and warning of Satanic influence within the congregation. Once the trials were brought to an end, Parris’ life as a pastor was haunted by the families of those he helped condemn to death. He was never able to fully regain his standing in the community, eventually leaving his parish and moving to Sudbury, where he died in 1720.

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