Salem Witch Trials began in 1692. As history would have you believe it the mass hysteria of the "witch hunt" was produced by a young child who had become ill. At this time there was no problem with thinking this was witch craft. However, what history often forgets and few books have entered was in fact five young women were the cause of many deaths. It was said that the young child that was in such pain and tormented could possibly be taken over by demons or witches, but nothing was done about it. One of the young girls had an argument with a laundress of a household and she talked some of her friends into getting even with the laundress and to make a long story short they started to copy the symptoms of the young child (more dramatically) accusing the poor laundress of being a witch.
Panic hit the village and Puritans had trials and some people arrested were tortured into giving up names of witches they knew or face death. Unfortunately these poor souls had no alternative and they gave any name that came to their lips. Like a rolling stone gathering moss more and more people were arrested and accused. One man had heavy stones heaped on him until he would admit to being cursed by the devil, but he refused and the weight of the stones killed him. His last words were said to be "more weight". As many as 172 to 200 people were imprisoned The rest of the prisoners were left to die in the prisons never to be released. President Clinton Pardoned and sanctified 8 of the graves (with blessings) of the innocent women who were accused of witch craft.
See related question below for more information about the possible causes of the Salem Witch Trials.