Puritans were very superstitious and they believed that witches had to do with the devil. People around the seventeenth century who lived in New England believed that a witch was a person who had made a pact with Satan and therefore had strange and terrible powers. They were thought to use these powers on people they disliked or just anyone. Witches could supposedly make babies sick and die, dry up a mother's milk, cause plagues of locusts, set fire, kill cattle, sheep, and crops and call forth disease and other similar misfortunes.
The Salem witch craze began in February 1692 at the home of Samuel Parris. It was Tituba, the Parris family's slave, who eventually got blamed for much of the trouble. Tituba knew a lot about casting spells, voodoo, and telling fortunes because witchcraft had been part of her life in Barbados. Tituba's main job was to look after the family's nine-year-old daughter Betty and her eleven-year-old cousin Abigail Williams.
Tituba entertained the girls with tails of voodoo magic that she learned in the West Indies. Soon other girls began to come and listen. Anne Putman was twelve. Mary Warren age twenty was the oldest. Mercy Lewis, Susanna Sheldon, Mary Walcott, and Elizabeth Hubbard were teenagers. The girls loved to look into Tituba's homemade crystal ball to see their futures. Until one day Anne Putnam claimed to see a coffin.
Some of the girls not long after made strange animal noises. At first they were soft but then grew loud and frightening and were followed by burst of tears. The girls would crawl under chairs or in holes. A few would have terrible 'fits'. They fell down and thrashed about crying for help, screaming in pain. The parents of the girls took them to the doctor's.