A Carib Indian
(not negro, as commonly misunderstood) slave woman from Barbados
who resided in Salem
and served as a kitchen slave in the Parris
household. Tituba was featured in Arthur Miller
's The Crucible
. When the witch hunt
s began, Tituba was a convenient scapegoat for the growing dissent among the Puritan
s of Salem
Village. The "good" people persecuted her in a remarkable display of the adage, "different is wrong
Before the flames would have died, Tituba was accused of witchcraft, consorting with the Devil, and giving birth to half-imps.
Tituba's arrest warrant was signed by John Hathorne and Jonathan Corwin on February 29, 1691/2. Both Tituba and Sarah Osborne were named as offenders. Under duress, Tituba eventually confessed to consorting with the devil, a man who was alternately a dog and a swine who forced her to invoke the Evil Eye on Elizabeth Parris, Abigail Williams, Anna Putnam and Elizabeth hubert. Tituba claimed that disobeying the devil would cause him to "do far worse" to her. After the girls were "afflicted," but before the whole mayhem broke out Mary Sibley(aunt of Mary Walcott) instructed Tituba and her husband to bake what was known as a "witch cake" to find out if the girls were bewitched.
The so called witch cake was made by mixing the girls urine with ryemeal, baking it into a cake, then feeding it to the dog. If the dog started acting like the girls, it was taken as a sure sign of bewitchment. Nothing happened to the dog, and Mary Sibley was denounced by Reverend Parris from the pulpit in March 1692.
During the trials, Tituba spoke of signing her name in the devil's book in a mark "red like blood," of seeing 9 such marks, and of riding through the air on a stick or pole with Sarah Good and Sarah Osburn behind her. Later still, she claimed to go blind, lose the power of speech, and eventually fell into fits similar to those affected by the "afflicted" girls.
Perhaps Tituba's confession resulted from awareness that refusal to confess generally meant the good Puritans would "do far worse" to extract confession from the accused.