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The Theories of the Salem Witch Trials

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The Theories of the Salem Witch Trials

The Salem Witch trials and what caused them is very debatable. Some theories lead to Rye poisoning from bread to even people faking it. The most believable claim is that people were faking it. Everyone had a motive and they all just wanted to save themselves. It was a time when people were selfish and only cared for themselves.

This time in Salem was a troubling time, making it seem likely that satan was active (Linder). The townsfolk are believed to have been suffering from a strange psychological condition known as Mass Hysteria (Wolchover). Mass Hysteria is a condition affecting a group of persons, characterized by excitement or anxiety, irrational behavior or beliefs, or inexplicable symptoms of illness. This is known to cause all kinds of problems from rashes to high-blood pressure and heart disease. The adults would likely ask the girls if the people tormenting them with witchcraft were the people the adults considered in the community to be most-likely allied with the devil: outcasts or political rivals. Some of the girls, under this heavy questioning, might actually have come to believe they were bewitched, while others knowingly lied to please the adults and found themselves trapped in their own lies (Krystek). If the girls believed that someone had bewitched them, that would have created enough stress in their minds to cause physical symptoms. Many of the symptoms the girls had been nearly identical to a condition called hysteria. If the girls just believed that they had been bewitched, it might have been enough to produce the physical effects that were observed (Krystek).

The next theory of the cause of the Salem witch trials is the weather conditions. The Salem witch trials fel...

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...e asked leading questions or questioned over and over (Krystek). One theory suggests that to get back at the Porters, the Putnam family had their girls accuse anyone in the community that were allied with the Porters of being witches. There is some evidence for this, as almost all the "bewitched" girls came from families connected to the Putnams (Krystek). Old feuds between the accusers and the accused was spurring charges of witchcraft (Linder).

Even though we have some evidence to back the theories of the Salem witch trials up, the most logical theory is that the people of Salem were all just putting on an act. Everyone had a motive to either hurt someone they despise or have feuds with, or just to save themselves. The other theories can be backed up just as well. But everyone has their own opinion. We may never know the true cause of the Salem Witch Trials.
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