Ergot Poisoning: The Main Force Behind The Salem Witch Trials

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Myth-busting: Ergot Poisoning

The years 1691 to 1692 mark an important date in Salem Massachusetts. A small village on the North coast of Massachusetts, Salem became notorious for their injustice and cruelty of their Witch Hunts, in which over 20 people, men and women, were executed in half a year. Surrounded by Religious Paranoia and uncertainty in their newfound community, people began looking at practices of the Devil as a scapegoat for unusual happenings. Believed to have been works of the devil for centuries, this idea has been rebuked in recent times, as a study in 1976 strongly suggested the effects of Rye Ergot Poisoning to be the main force behind the Witch trials. The main cause behind the Salem witch trials can be said to be Ergot Poisoning, also known as Ergotism, where a victim would fall to severe Muscle Spasms and the effects of a modern day LSD.

A dark time in American History, the Salem witch Trials all began in December of 1691, when the “afflicted” girls first accused Tituba, Sarah Good and Sarah Osborne of witchcraft. This Hysteria came to an end an year later in the fall of 1692 (Capourel). In this short period a series of unexplainable events took place, starting with a “trigger” in Tituba admitting to in fact working with the Devil(Goodheart). This is all the drama that a insecure, yet religiously devout community, such as Salem needed to turn to witchcraft and the Devil for a scapegoat. Previous accounts show that colonists had
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