Events that began in late 1691 may have been escalated due to religious discord, economic failure or fear of attack by local Indians that allied with French and Canadian communities. Is there a scientific reasoning behind this or was the puritan lifestyle and fear of the French and Indian wars raging less than 70 miles away elevating the communities fear of the devil infiltrating their small community. I will show how politics, social acceptance and the constant fear of attacks may have escalated the pursuit and conviction of these “so called” witches.
Looking at this puritan society, we may learn how small fractures in the community may be construed as an attack from a higher power. Puritans believed success brought on good standings with God. If you positively contributed to the community then you were obviously in good standings with God. If you were a drain on the community and had nothing positive to offer then you were not so lucky. Like most small communities, word gets around. Social gatherings were essential and were one way for people to talk about politics, current events, and problems affecting their small puritan village. These social gatherings and forums for gossip may have directed hatred toward the people they considered a drain on the community.
Like stated, social gatherings were very important to gaining information but they were also a venue for letting loose. Young women, who usually had no voice, talked about politics and most often relationships. Young women did not have to worry about public ridicule or being looked down on by village elders during these gatherings. One event in particular, “one girl devised a primitive crystal ball-the white of an egg suspende...
... middle of paper ...
...ey needed a reason for such bad luck. They could not understand why they were so unlucky and the obvious reasoning for their economic and social problems had to be from powers unknown or spiritual. They truly believed the Devil may have influence on the weak minded or less fortunate. With tensions at their highest it only took a spark to ignite this community into chaos. With lack of leadership and understanding, twenty people lost their lives with little to no concrete evidence.
Boyer, Paul S., Nissenbaum, Stephen, joint author. Salem Possessed: The Social Origins of Witchcraft. Harvard University Press. 1974
Norton, Mary Beth. In the Devil’s Snare: The Salem Witchcraft Crisis of 1692. New York: Random House Inc. 2002.
Linder, Douglas O. Salem Witchcraft Trials 1692. http://www.law.umkc.edu/faculty/projects/ftrials/salem/SALEM.HTM
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