The infamous Salem Witch Trials took place from 1692-1693 in Salem Village, present day Danvers, Massachusetts. The people were your average God-fearing puritans. They held the belief that Satan and demons were present and the cause of misfortune. This made for the perfect breeding ground for superstitions and hysteria that we read of today.
In January of 1692, young girls started having fits of screaming; they would throw objects, and twist themselves into abnormal positions. The local doctor couldn’t find any physical sickness, so he diagnosed them as bewitched. This led to more “victims” and three women being accused, women who would regularly miss church or beggars.
Guilt or innocence was decided based on a few different types of evidence. Spectral evidence was when a victim claimed to see the spirit of the witch. Effluvia, confessions, or the presence of dolls, ointments, astrology books, or books about palm reading were also used. A mole or blemish on an accused witch’s body would be called a “witch’s teat” and would be taken into consideration when a verdict was reached.
The reason for being accused in the Salem Witch Trials “was the outgrowth of conflicts between the rising mercantile class and the people who were tied to a land-based economy...
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McKenzie, D. (0). Retrieved from http://www.cnn.com/2008/WORLD/africa/06/12/kenya.witches/
Palma, C. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://www.policymic.com/articles/70749/the-truth-about-modern-day-witch-hunts
Pavlack, B. A. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://departments.kings.edu/womens_history/witch/worigin.html
Schons,M. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://education.nationalgeographic.com/education/news/witch-trials-21st-century/?ar_a=1
Sewall, S. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://salem.lib.virginia.edu/diaries/sewall_diary.htm
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