Travel Channel chronicles a town's descent into madness in the four-part docudrama, "Witches of Salem." The miniseries documents the hysteria that gripped Salem, Mass., in 1692, leading to mass arrests, dramatic trials and public hangings. The docudrama begins with Reverend Samuel Parris' daughter, Betty, who is afflicted with inexplicable fits. As the affliction spreads to other young girls in the New England community, Betty points a finger at the family's indentured servant, Tituba, accusing her of being a witch. The accusation triggers the hysteria that culminates in the deaths of 20 men, women and children. Based on original transcripts from the trials and interviews with historians and writers, the series captures the day-to-day events stemming from these reports of demonic possession and leading to months of fear, panic and horror.
The Salem witch trials finally begin with the case against Bridget Bishop, who is quickly found guilty and sentenced to death by hanging; her death is not enough to quell the hysteria, and five more women are tried and executed within a month.
The number of accused individuals keeps growing, hinting at a greater conspiracy of witches; the examinations take place in a packed meetinghouse, where suspects face harsh questioning, and a mob of young women shout accusations of witchcraft.
An inexplicable evil torments the young girls of Reverend Samuel Parris' household; like a plague, it swiftly spreads through Salem Village; fearing the influence of the devil, the afflicted make accusations of witchcraft.
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Former minister George Burroughs is convicted of being the devil's ringleader; the witch hunt continues throughout the summer but comes to a halt after the afflicted individuals begin to accuse members of the Massachusetts elite.