Witchcraft And Magic In Boyer And Nissenbaum's 'Salem Possessed'

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Throughout history, there have been many phenomenal occurrences that are directly relatable to religion, and therefore hold a special place in the pages of the history books. In this case, the Salem Witch Trials, which occurred in Massachusetts in and around 1692 created an everlasting legacy of witchcraft and magic within the United States. The Salem witch trials are commonly heard of around the entire world, as they in some way set a precedent when it came to witchcraft and dark magic, which was assumed to be seen during this time. Throughout the examination of Boyer and Nissenbaum’s accounts of the Salem witch trials in their book titled Salem Possessed, it is clear that the spirits are connecting to the people of Salem in a unique way.…show more content…
This article examines witchcraft and magic in a different context and time period compared to Salem Possessed. This proves to be very interesting due to the fact that some things are similar, despite the major contextual differences. For example, Evans-Pritchard’s case regarding the Azande, looks at witchcraft as a natural philosophy and use this in order to regulate human behaviour and conduct. (EP-p.63) One similarity between the Salem with trials and witchcraft within the Azande would be the fact that they are both considered to be evil. (EP-p.81) Within Evans-Pritchard’s article, he discusses how the people of the Azande describe witchcraft as something that haunts them as well as disgusts them. (EP- p. 64) This is similar in the case of Salem due to the fact that the young women in which are being targeted are also being haunted by the evil spirits, which in return creates some unruly outcomes. Evans-Pritchard also examines the way in which the Azande people experience sensory experiences that are caused from the witchcraft and/or magic within the culture. (EP-p.81) Another similarity between these two cases would be the fact that social situations indicate the relevance of the magic and witchcraft. (EP-p.74) This is true within Salem possessed due to the fact that without the social context and turmoil that was occurring during the witch trials, things could have possibly been handled differently. Overall, it is clear that both cases, including Salem Possessed and Evans-Pritchard’s account of the Azande both contain similarities in regards to the type of spirits that are both explicitly

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