Several centuries ago, many practicing Christians and people of other religions strongly believed that the Devil could give a few people known as witches the power to cause harm to others for their loyalty. In the 1600s, a Reverend’s daughter and niece started having “fits”; they would scream, throw things, make weird noises, and put themselves into strange positions. Claiming that they were being “bewitched” by other townspeople, these young girls caused one of the most controversial court cases ever to be considered: the Salem Witch Trials. Some of the witches were tortured and thrown into jail; they had to pay for their food and many other things. They also had to pay for the chains they were held in; many of them died in these very chains.
The Salem Witch Trials began when Betty Paris, Abigail Williams, and some of their friends began to act strange with odd fits (Hall 1). Because many mental and emotional disorders were not understood, the people of Salem believed it was the work of witchcraft. When sickness or even misfortune came, the most Bednar 2 sensible reason was witchcraft (Godbeer 28). The Salem Witch Trials were a prime example of the prejudice in early America with the different personal lives and beliefs (Adams 26). The prejudice and panic caused much instability in the Salem comm... ... middle of paper ... ...n in Salem.
April 2011. Starkey, Marion Lena. The Devil in Massachusetts: a Modern Enquiry into the Salem Witch Trials. New York: Anchor, 1989. Print.
During the years of 1692 and 1693 the fear of witchcraft swept through Salem, Massachusetts like a plague. Witchcraft strongly defied Puritan beliefs, and the Puritans executed any accused witches. Throughout the hysteria in Salem, 185 people were accused of practicing witchcraft. Rumors of witchcraft put many people’s lives in danger. Witchcraft was defined as entering into a compact with the devil in exchange for certain powers to do evil.
The Salem Witch Trials of 1692 and 1693 was a tragic set of events that took place in Salem, Massachusetts (Salem is now Danvers, Massachusetts.) It began with a “witchcraft craze” from 1300-1600 in Europe, when thousands of people were murdered, accused of performing witchcraft, the devil’s magic. In January of 1692, Reverend Samuel Parris’ daughter, Betty Parris, and niece, Abigail Williams, began behaving strangely, including screaming, throwing things, making strange noises, and putting themselves into weird positions. A doctor suggested that the girls had been afflicted with witchcraft. Ann Putnam also had similar symptoms.
Family feuds, influences, ergot poisoning, and the bewitchment of Satan are potential concepts of the witchcraft hysteria. Not to mention, the female stereotype of witches through lack of religious faith and social class caused the deaths of nineteen people and unforgivable scars and pain for dozens more. Historical evidence points out family feuds between the Putnam and Porter families, an important theory to the reasons behind the accusations. The whole town of Salem was a part and engaged in this heated quarrel for the control of the village. The two families had different views for Salem and Kate Murphy said it divided the village into two factions, “One interested in gaining more autonomy for Salem Villag... ... middle of paper ... ...rk: John Wiley & Sons, Inc., 1966.
Instruments of Darkness: Witchcraft in Early Modern England. Paperback Edition. Philiadephia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 1997. Wills, Deborah. Malevolent Nurture: Witch Hunting and Maternal Power in Early Modern England.
Salem Witch Trials In 1692 events that took place in Salem, Massachusetts led to the best known witch trial in America. Today these witch trials are known as the Salem Witch Trials. More than two-hundred people were accused of practicing witchcraft. A witch to them was someone who could do harm through magical means, they could curdle milk, hobble animals, and even cause young children to sicken and die (Aronson, Witch Hunt 31). People believed the Salem Witch Trials happened because English rulers started a war with France.
Even simple things, like fear, took a part in the overall cause. To this day, scientists and researchers alike still argue over the answer to this riddling question. In the early winter months of 1692, in colonial Massachusetts, two young girls began exhibiting strange symptoms that were described to be "beyond the power of Epileptic Fits or natural disease to effect (examiner.com)." Doctors looked them over, but could not come up with any sort of logical explanation for their ailments. Therefore, the girls were accused of taking part in witchcraft.