The Salem Witch trials was an event that happened in the town of Salem, Massachusetts. Many people were accused of being witches and executed with no evidence to show for it.
This witch scare started when Tituba, an African (or American Indian, no one really knows) started telling her master's daughters witch stories. Soon, the girls started showing strange symptoms, the doctors diagnosed as witchcraft. Tituba was imprisoned and confessed, saying that there were others in the town.
Tituba's confession sparked a witch scare that left 25 people dead. Nineteen were hanged, five died in prison, including an infant, and one man was pressed to death.
Later, Tituba said that she had given false testimony to save herself from a beating by her master.
This scare ended when the governor became disgusted as the sick girls accused his wife of witchcraft. He set up a new court which didn't allow spectral "evidence", the most effective form of evidence the accusers had. Specters were thought to be agents of the witches that were only "visible" to the people they were attacking. However, this was not physical evidence and could be made up.
This court only condemned 3 out of 56 defendants, and they were pardoned after their accusers' case broke down.