Throwback Thursday – by this day in Salem Village, November 6th, 1692, Governor Phips had issued his declaration regarding the future of the Salem Court of Oyer and Terminer, the court he appointed to oversee the witch trials of Salem Village.

Throwback Thursday - November 5, 1692 - CopyFor weeks now, a discussion had been held concerning the admittance of spectral evidence. How cunning was Satan that he would have specters appear only to a few, that he would have those specters torment those few while others, observers only, would feel the terror of what they could not see, yet neither the physical attack nor mental torment. Though such evidence seemed true, to hold it against a sentence of death appeared, to many now, quite unjust.

Governor Phips was among those who believed spectral evidence to be a less dependable thing. And while he had suggested the Court of Oyer and Terminer might not gather for their next sitting, as planned for the coming Tuesday, November 1, 1692, he had not been clear as to the court’s fate.

With French warships off the coast, cold winds and wild rains whipping the earth and her inhabitants, and flooding taking the lives of many… fear still lingered and many poor wretched souls still sat shackled in prison awaiting their trials.

Yet, on this Saturday past, a question was put directly to Governor Phips: Would the Court, as of that moment still scheduled to meet in days’ time, stand or fall? Governor Phips finally gave his answer, stating clearly that the Court of Oyer and Terminer would fall.