“A WITCH! A WITCH!” (20) common knowledge may let people to believe that Salem was the only place where witch hunts took place, but as Godbeer explains in his book, Stamford and other towns also experienced cases of witchcraft. The author not only demonstrates that the locations may vary, but also the methods of prosecution. The ministers of Stanford tried to bring the case to justice using the proper procedures. Instead of using force or other alternative methods to make the witches confess, Goodbeer destroys the stereotypical witch hunt.
Throughout history, there was no greater pair than the McCarthyism and the Salem Witch Trials to see the full extent of the damage that can be caused through the usage of unsound accusations. The mob mentality of both groups of people ended with the loss of livelihoods and, in some cases, lives. In addition, both had specific similarities in their execution. Both involved a person, empowered by circumstance, with something to lose; innocent victims accused of preposterous things with little to no evidence; and followers that believed what they were doing was right. The person empowered by the peculiar circumstances in Salem, during the trials, was the judge that passed judgment onto those accused of witchcraft.
In important respects, the great witch hunts began with the invention of the stereotypical witch in texts by professional demonologists. Prior to the publication of these texts, there was already widespread belief in magic both harmless and malicious. But not until the practice of magic became a religious warfare between God and his enemy the devil did community concerns about the practice of magic evolve into the desperate, sadistic trials that occurred in the 16th and 17th centuries, and the idea that witchcraft was a reality rather than a myth suddenly made a comeback. Trials of individual witches in early modern Europe always began with specific accusations brought against a supposed witch by one or more of her neighbours. When the printing press was invented, writings could be distributed around Europe.
If they were accused it is practically a death sentence. The scary thing was that people believed the little girls of Salem who were accusing people. Even after people were put to death, Salem residents didn’t feel guilty at all, even if they were responsible for a death. The Salem Witch Trials were very complex, from legal procedures to the reasons the girls accused people left and right, it was a hectic and tragic period of time. Before The Salem Witch Trials came to what people today call America, there were accusations of witchcraft in England, too.
The evil spirits could have been sent directly by the Devil, or a “witch” could have sicced them on the afflicted person. Practically, "possessed," "obsessed," and "bewitched" were often confused, and "came very near to being synonymous”. As Abigail Hobbs and Mary Warren found out, obsessed victim and obsessing witch could also become all too synonymous. There was a growing disbelief among conformists in actual demoniac possession. Anyway, it was less daunting to deal with a supposed witch than the devil, so the diagnosis in Salem was of a malefic rather than diabolical affliction.
For example, just like the witch trials accusing people of witchcraft, Americans during the Red Scare accused others of being pro-Communist. The same widespread paranoia occurred as a result. Not everything is as simple as that though. There were no actual witches in Salem, but there were pro-Communists during the Red Scare. However, they both falsely accused many innocent people.
1) In the sixteenth, seventeenth, and twentieth century, the hysteria over certain causes resulted in prosecution in the Salem Witch Trials, European Witchcraft Craze, and the McCarthy hearings. These three events all used uncertain and unjustly accusations to attack the accused. The Salem witch trials in Massachusetts Colony lasted from 1692 to early 1693. Even before the witchcraft trials, Salem Village was not exactly known as a bastion of tranquillity in New England. (Sutter par.2) There was a population of over six hundred that was divided into two main parts; those that wanted to separate from Salem Town and those that did not.
Only that people were anxious and fearful because of them. I also find it interesting that women, usually under the age of 25, were the ones accusing others of witchcraft and why they were believed by the colony’s magistrates. I believe that witchcraft offered a valid excuse to the colonies misfortunes and the unexplained “Invisible World”. The Puritans strict religion created much fear in the people, and the idea of Satan and witchcraft was a way of keeping people in order, since there wasn’t really a police system at the time. After much research I became rather fascinated by the events surrounding the Salem Witch Trials.
In a predominantly patriarchal society, European women have not only been omitted from most of the historical narratives, but their experiences were further deemed inconsequential or presented in a distorted manner. It comes with no surprise as many seventeenth century religious views stripped women from their Pagan cultural importance, just to have them demonized as witches. Though it has been pointed out to be an exaggeration to state that the crime of witchcraft was sex specific and solely attributed to women it remains undeniable and quite compelling the role of gendered structures of power in the European witch hunts. The aim of this essay is to examine the relationship between gender and witchcraft, as well as the rise in misogyny in early modern Europe. This will be achieved by looking at scholarship surrounding the impact of the witch-hunting treatises by Johannes Nider, Heinrich Kramer and James Sprenger, respectively titled, the Formicarius and the Malleus Maleficarum.
This was especially true in the case of Nicholas Remy who used evidence drawn from his cases not only to prove other cases, but to write his book Demonolatry as well. In a way it was a self-fulfilling cycle. In many other cases the witches did fit the stereotype like the trial record of Suzanna Gaudry. She was a women similar to Camont in her ability to fit the stereotype of a witch, and also similar in that she only confessed under torture. However, it wasn’t her physical attributes that put her on trial but that fact that she “sought refuge in this city of Valenciennes, out of fear of being apprehended by the law…” for the crime of witchcraft.