Early life and first marriage 
Sarah Osbourne, born Sarah Warren, married a prominent man by the name of Robert Prince. He was the brother of a woman who married into the prominent Putnam family. She moved with her husband to Salem Village in 1662, where the couple had two sons and a daughter: Joseph, James, and Elizabeth. Robert Prince died in 1674, leaving Sarah Prince a widow.
Sarah became one of the first persons accused of witchcraft at the beginning of the year 1692, when Betty Parris and Abigail Williams became ill with an unknown sickness. Both girls claimed that Sarah Osbourne, along with the servant Tituba and Sarah Good, had been afflicting them. Elizabeth Hubbard also accused Sarah Osborne for Afflicting her, describing it as her pinching and poking her with knitting needles. All three women were considered social outcasts, albeit for different reasons. Sarah Osbourne had not attended church in almost three years due to a long illness, and was also still dealing with legal issues with the Putnam family. Ann's accusation of Osbourne was most likely the product of powerful suggestions from the Putnam family. The warrant for Sarah Osborne's arrest was written for March 1, 1692. She was to be placed in the Boston jails for the duration of her examinations and trials.
Sarah Osborne was the second of the original three to be examined before local magistrates, following Sarah Good and preceding Tituba. Although Osborne denied all the accusations against her, it was to no avail. The words of Sarah Good's examination were twisted to accompany the girls' accusations towards her and later Tituba would claim that the three of them were indeed working with the Devil.
Osborne was also questioned about her dreams and whether or not she had ever dreamt of Indians (a believed sign of witchcraft and the Devil). Sarah Osborne admitted that she had in fact had a recurring dream about an Indian who would take her by the hair and drag her out of her house.
At one point during the examinations, Osborne presented a defense that could not be challenged nor argued against. It was repeated frequently by others who were later accused. She stated: "I do not know [but] that the devil goes about in my likeness to do any hurt." In other words, she was stating that any use that the Devil made of her image was inherently unknown to her; if the Devil were harming the girls while assuming her appearance, she had no idea of it and could not be held accountable. This statement gave her a chance to be found innocent.
She died in jail on May 10, 1692, before the Court of Oyer and Terminer convened, so she was never indicted or tried.
In popular culture 
Goody Osborne is mentioned in the original version of Arthur Miller's largely fictional drama The Crucible but does not appear as a character. He added her (along with other characters) into a courtroom scene when he wrote the screenplay for the 1996 film adaptation. In the drama, her name is spelled Osburn.
She was portrayed as a very pathetic character by actress Ruth Maleczech, an impoverished and obviously deranged beggar but also aware that she is in grave danger.
"Goody Osburn" was mentioned in episode 4 of True Blood's season 3.
As the evidence does not indicate the historical Sarah Osborne was mentally ill, her movie depiction may be a composite character created of Osborne and Sarah Good who was known to mutter and insist she was reciting the Ten Commandments as does the Osborne character in the movie.
Osborne's hanging is also depicted in the film.
References and bibliography 
- "Sarah Osborne". Meghan Carroll, 2001.
- Charles W. Upham. "Witchcraft at Salem Village". Salem Witch Trials, Vol. 2. Williamstown, Massachusetts, Corner House Publishers, 1971 p. 4
- Marilyn J. Westerkamp. Women in Early American Religion, 1600–1850: The Puritan and Evangelical Traditions. London: Routlyyedge, 1999. p. 66
- Frank W. Thackery. Events that Changed America Through the 17th Century. Connecticut: Greenwood Publishing Group, 2000. p. 160
- Upham, op. cit. p. 26–28
- McWilliams, John. New England's Crises and Cultural Memory: Literature, Politics, History, Religion, 1620–1860. New York: Cambridge University Press, 2004. p. 166
- Boyer, Paul and Stephen Nissenbaum. "Sarah Osbourne", "Sarah Good", "Tituba". The Salem Witchcraft Papers, Vol. 2. 2002. http://etext.virginia.edu/salem/witchcraft/texts/BoySal2.html
- Jailer's bill "To the keeping of Sarah Osburn, from the 7th of March to the 10th of May, when she died, being nine weeks and two days, £1. 3s. 5d." quoted in Upham, op. cit., vol. 2, p. 32.