Because of their thought on the ideal community as a straitlaced society, those who portrayed an imperfect model were to be isolated. Suspicion flooded the holy Puritan town, and led to accusations of innocent people. After a close analysis, it may be relevant to look at the Puritan belief system as a possible catalyst for the events that occurred during the Salem witch trials. The Puritans followed a strict belief that emphasized a need for absolute perfection. They established a highly structured society with rigid laws and rules based on the Bible, which portrayed their strict beliefs.
Although having such beings that could create such feats of magic would be astonishing, they are largely false rumors created by the Catholic Church to promote Christianity and punish those who held on those beliefs that did not align with the church. The history of witchcraft, the implausible and impossible feats that were associated with witches, and the modern day practices of witchcraft reflect a lie that caused tremendous tragedy, which destroyed thousands upon thousands of lives worldwide due to a silly hoax. Witchcraft has been in practice for centuries upon centuries, having been traced back to the beginning of mankind, where it was seen as a religious practice that instilled magical rights upon the user (Witchcraft). Prehistoric art exemplifies this, with inscriptions detailing magical rites that were used to ensure that their hunting was successful (Wiccan One’s Universe). Witches were commonplace all over the world with different stigmas and stereotypes attached to them from each respectful culture that contained them.
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 Village. 5 December, 1999. http://www.salemwitchvillage.com/sabbats.htm. "Witchcraft." 1 December, 1999. http://topaz.kenyon.edu/projects/margin/witch.htm "Witchcraft_102FAQSheet." 2 December, 1999. http://www.geocities.com/Athens/Acropolis/2188/we102faq.htm "Witchcraft: A Brief History."
Hester‘s ideas in “Patriarchal Reconstruction and Witch Hunting” takes the feminist attitude and relies on the theory of Misogyny to explain what the possible reasons behind the witch-hunts were. Hester argues quite simply that one aspect is that witch-hunts were a way of social control of women and a way of reaffirming the authority of a patriarchal society; a way of restoring and keeping the male status quo in the changing social order (Hester). Hester’s theory at least in part is true; generally speaking the accusation of ‘witch’ was brought against women far more often than those against men. In the Holy Roman Empire they accused around 24,000 people of being witches, 76 percent of those were women. Germany and Hungary also had a large amount of accused with the majority being women, above 80 percent.
In the Middle Ages it was considered that a woman becomes a witch by setting up a pact with the devil. In past, as well as nowadays, people have different reactions to the word ‘witch’, but it rarely assigns with something nice and good .In most cases people appoint such words as ‘spooky, old hags, taboo, superstitions, fear’ to witches. People don’t tend to declare themselves witches often. It is interesting to get to know where the word ‘witch’ comes from. In different parts of the world the roots of the word are diverse, but all the meanings are mysterious in some way.
The Influence of Witchcraft on Feminism The witch-hunt that blazed a trail across Europe (and indeed the world) over the 15th to 18th centuries stripped women of much of the power they had historically held. Not 100% of all accused Witches were female but 75% to 90% of accused witches in Europe were in fact women (Levack, 1987, p.124). Prior to the 15th century, rural European women were highly revered and respected pillars of rural community life. Women were not only considered as mothers and wives, but also as community leaders, physicians, and sources of strength and wisdom. They worked side by side with men toward the common goal of community growth and improvement.