What Caused the Salem Witch Trials of 1692 In Salem, Massachusetts there were Witch Trials held during the summer months of 1692. Throughout the seventeenth century in New England, witchcraft was said to be a crime punishable by death. Puritans came to New England in the early 1600’s to practice their Christianity in the purest form possible. They believed every word in the bible and that the words of God were to be followed down to the last sentence there was. Havoc started occurring around the town and 19 women along with men were hanged for witchcraft.
Nineteen people were hung due to false judgement by human nature and society. Taking place in a small village called Salem, inside of the Massachusetts Bay Colony, during a depressing seventeenth century, was a movement that would challenge the nation’s religious and psychological beliefs.
In the Salem Witch first instance of witchery is Betty/Elizabeth Parris, along with Abigail Williams when they started to scream and giggle uncontrollably, along with delusions, vomiting, muscle spasms, screaming, and writhing. William Griggs, a physician, diagnosed witchcraftery to the women. Soon, fueled by resentment and paranoia, more and more women were accused of being witches, while the community and system of justice piled up. The Trials had lasted from 1692 to 1693. Some women acted peculiar because of a fungus called “Ergot” that grew on cereals and wheat. The youngest “witch” to be hung, was a 5-year old little girl. Most of the women accused of being a witch, were accused by their own family.
Review of Literature The religiously motivated Salem witch trials of 1692 left a permanent stain on Massachusetts’ history, but one overlooked factor could have sparked the tragic ordeal. The trials are best summarized as an inexplicable and unforeseen frenzy of accusations, aimed at the social pariahs of the community, that led to multiple deaths in a previously tranquil place. An intense type of food poisoning known as convulsive ergotism provides a seemingly simple, yet understandably deceptive to the ignorant, explanation. Due to optimum conditions for the disease, the correlation between the bewitched and the expected symptoms, and the religious fanaticism of the time, one can conclude ergotism was an influence on the Salem witch trials.
Not many people know much about what actually happened in the Salem Witch Trials. Maybe someone would think that it was just about witchcraft and crazy people being hanged, but it is a lot more than that. The Salem Witch Trials only occurred between 1692 and 1693, but a lot of damage had been done. The idea of the Salem Witch Trials came from Europe during the “witchcraft craze” from the 1300s-1600s. In Europe, many of the accused witches were executed by hanging. Many practicing Christians, at the time, believed that the Devil could persuade people to use the powers that he gave them to harm others. The Salem Witch Trials occurred because of resource struggles, many women were accused and tortured, and in the end the Governor realized that it was a big mistake. (“Salem Witch Trials”, 1).
Salem witchcraft trials started in New England and caused a lot of deaths and hysteria for the people of Salem, Massachusetts. Innocent women and men were hung just for being accused by their fellow friends and neighbors. Witchcraft in the 17th century was a big taboo that people feared.
What caused the people of Salem to go into a hysteria and accuse each other of witchcraft in 1692? It could have been a number of factors could have caused the Salem Witch Trials Hysteria of 1692. A hysteria is when a group of people experience something with a heightened emotional state, often leading to fogged decision-making skills or inability to see logic. These factors would not have caused such an extreme situation on their own, but when together they created the worse case scenario for the people of Salem. These factors were local feuds, jealousy, religion-based anxiety, a case of hysteria, and upset over a fast economy change.
In 1692, the people in Salem, Massachusetts went on a hunt accusing people of being witches. This was a hysterical time in history known as the Salem Witch Trials. The Salem Witch Trials led to many distraught people and false accusations. The famous trials started with two sick children and then led to discrimination manly towards women of a lesser class. The accused people were tortured and eventually killed.
Between 1692 and 1693, in Salem Village, Massachusetts, the Salem witch trials were taking place. In the event, many were accused of witchcraft and some were even executed. This event had left many curious as to what caused the people to accept witchcraft and treat it as a crime. To explain the trials, Paul Boer and Stephen Nissenbaum wrote the book Salem Possessed: The Social Origins of Witchcraft in which they analyzed and broke down key components of the witch trials.
The Salem witch trials were the prosecution of people accused of witchcraft in Massachusetts from June to September 1692 by the Court of Oyer and Terminer. Though the trials were held in Salem, the accused were brought in from the neighboring towns of Amesbury, Andover, Topsfield, Ipswich, and Gloucester as well. To this day the trials are considered the epitome of injustice, paranoia, scapegoating, mass hysteria, and mob justice. The results were almost 200 arrests, 19 executed “witches”, one man pressed to death, one man stoned to death, and two dogs killed because they were suspected to be familiars of their owners who were accused of being witches. (Familiars are evil spirits in the form of animals used by witches to cast spells and perform
Mental Illness in Salem Witch Trials Introduction Witchcraft is the practice of magic and the use of spells and the invocation of spirits. According to Salem Witch Trials, 2015, the Salem witch trials began during the spring of 1692, after a group of young girls in Salem, Massachusetts claimed to have been bewitched by several adults in the town. More than 150 people were accused and hung, including men, women, and children (Salem Witch Trials, 2015). There were three girls in particular that sparked the trials: Abigail Williams, Betty Parris, and Ann Putnam. Also stated in Salem Witch Trials, their behaviors changed drastically; they began to hallucinate, shout in church, have fits, not eat, not wake up, attempt to fly, and feel as if they
The Salem Witch Trials; Madness or Logic In Stacey Schiff’s, List of 5 Possible Causes of the Salem Witch Trials and Shah Faiza’s, THE WITCHES OF SALEM; Diabolical doings in a Puritan village, discuss in their articles what has been debated by so many historians for years, the causes of the Salem Witch trials. Schiff and the Faiza, purpose is to argue the possible religious, scientific, communal, and sociological reasons on why the trials occurred. All while making word by word in the writer’s testimony as if they were there through emotion and just stating simply the facts and theories. They adopt the hectic tone in order to convey to the readers the significance, tragedy, logic, loss, and possible madness behind these life changing events,
The Salem witch trial hysteria of 1692 may have been instigated by religious, social, geographic and even biological factors. During these trials, 134 people were condemned as witches and 19 were hanged. These statistics also include 5 more deaths that occurred prior to their execution date. It is interesting to look into the causes of this stain on American History, when as shown in document B, eight citizens were hanged in only one day.
The Salem Witch Trials accusing others of a feared crime showed definite evidence that mass hysteria was to blame. Salem was a religious settlement, following Puritan beliefs (Miller, 6). A large fear for everyone in Salem was the touch of the Devil (Miller, Arthur). According to Puritan beliefs, if a man or woman was touched by the Devil he would convince them to do witchcraft. Once word was mentioned the Devil had possibly touched Salem, the fear spread.