And the baked good, which resembled a spiky bagel, was actually made using rye flour and the urine of the symptom-exhibiting person.
Then, it was supposed to be fed to a dog. And if the dog that ate the witch cake began exhibiting the same symptoms as the afflicted person, then the presence of witchcraft was thought to be “proven.”
Why use a dog, you might be wondering? Well, canines were commonly associated with the devil, and many believed that the pets would even be able to point out exactly what witches in the village had caused ill to victims.
So, after the neighbor Mary Sibley recommended baking a witch’s cake, Reverend Parris obliged. She provided the recipe, which was given to John Indian, an enslaved man who served the Parris family at the time.
And John went on to collect urine from both Betty and Abigail before having another enslaved woman, Tituba, bake the witch’s cake. Tituba then fed the baked good to the dog that dwelled in the Parris household.
Now, this attempt at a “diagnosis” ultimately revealed nothing. Reverend Parris, though, still took the opportunity to denounce the use of any witch’s cake magic in church.
He claimed that it did not matter whether it was completed with good intentions and still represented “going to the devil for help against the devil.”
The neighbor, Mary Sibley, was suspended from communion afterward. And her good standing in the congregation was only restored after she confessed to members of the community.
Both Betty and Abigail then ended up naming and accusing three women of the witchcraft behind their ailments. The first was Tituba, and the other two were local women named Sarah Good and Sara Osbourne.
Osbourne later passed away in prison, and Good was executed in July of that year. Finally, Tituba ultimately confessed to witchcraft– allowing her to narrowly escape execution.
Nowadays, it is generally agreed amongst scholars that the accusations were primarily rooted in community hysteria– with fears of the supernatural being the ultimate primer.