The minister of Boston's Old North Church, Cotton Mather, had recently published a widely read book named "Memorable Providences" which dealt with Witchcraft. Young Betty Parris was exhibiting the same symptoms that Mather described in his book as being afflicted by witchcraft.
Rumors of Witchcraft in Salem Village grew when Betty's playmates, Ann Putnam, Mercy Lewis and Mary Walcott began to exhibit the same symptoms. A doctor named William Griggs attempted to treat the girls, and when they failed to be cured he suggested the cause be supernatural in origin.
In Puritan times, when something could not be explained naturally the answer was to be found in the supernatural. The Puritans lived in fear of the Devil. Salem (as well as the rest of New England) was governed by British Law. All Witches were believed to be in league with the Devil, and the penalty for practicing Witchcraft under British Law was hanging.
Tituba, with the help of a neighbor Mary Sibley, tried to help by magickal means. In a ritual, she prepared a rye cake made with Betty's urine and fed it to a dog. This was supposed to reveal the identity of Betty's afflictor. Rumors of Tituba practicing witchcraft had already spread throughout the town, and her latest actions made her an obvious suspect.
Soon the rest of Betty's playmates began to exhibit the same strange behaviors. Most of them had fits of convulsions and contortions, cried of invisible things sticking in their body causing pain and one attempted to walk in to a burning fireplace.
At the end of February, Betty Parris and Abigal Williams named Tituba, Sarah Good and Sarah Osborne as their afflicters and accused them of witchcraft. They were arrested on February 29th and soon brought to trial.