Ergotism In Salem Village, Massachusetts 1662

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In Salem Village, Massachusetts 1662, two-hundred people became inaccurately accused, hundreds imprisoned, and twenty-four executed. What historical event caused this? In the fall of 1661, nine girls began exhibiting possession like symptoms and the situation seemed to have only one explanation, witchcraft; however, the symptoms they experienced caught the eyes of historians and resembles a disease known today as Ergotism. The start of the accusations began in Autumn of 1661, nearly one year after the Puritans moved to the New World after living in England. They moved to what present day Americans call Massachusetts, in search of religious freedom from the Roman Catholic Church; the Puritans sought to build a holy city, or a city on the…show more content…
The next lady under indictment and to receive trial, sat Sarah Osborne, a sixty-nine-year-old widow who remarried to an indentured servant. Her first husband died and Sarah had to take care of his two sons and estate. on her own. When his sons came of age, the estate would become theirs and Sarah would have to move out. Osborne was not a regular attendee of the church due to a physical inability. During Sarah 's trial, she received the same questioning as Good. However, whenever Osborne would make a statement, all of the members of Tituba 's circle would fall to the ground into a fit, almost as if on cue. The villagers watching the trials thought that Sarah began cursing the girls while speaking. This made Osborne look more guilty than Good. (Rice) Lastly, Tituba went into the stand. During questioning, she claimed that she did not hurt the children, but the Devil who resided in her, made her do so. Tituba then admitted to pinching Abagail and Betty in their sleep so they would fall under the evil hand. Tituba then claimed she met a man, the Devil himself, and he made her sign his book in her blood. She also proclaimed that the Devil himself came to Salem Village disguised as a black dog, a man, and a hog. Tituba whispered to the judge that he used his disguise as a way for him to throw others into the world of sin. Tituba later stated, “I ride upon a stick or pole and Good and Osborne, behind me, we ride taking hold of one another.” When the judge heard the words…show more content…
Claviceps Purpurea, also known as Ergotism or Ergot of Rye, was discovered toxic in the eighteen-fifties. (“Ergot”) Ergot of Rye causes a purplish fungus, fruit like pod to grow on rye and other kinds of wheat. Ergot grows best in warm, damp conditions; just like the summer of 1661 months before the girls of Tituba 's circle started acting up (History). Could the wheat of the summer of 1661 been mixed into the villagers bread for consumption? During circle meetings, historians believe that members could have ate the infected bread. If consumed, victims begin having symptoms of Convulsive Ergotism (“US History”). This causes the nervous system to dysfunction. The symptoms of Convulsive Ergotism include: twisting, contorting body in pain, trembling, shaking, wryneck, babbling, muscle spasm, convulsions and fits, confusion, delusions, and hallucinations. However, not everybody gets symptoms of Ergot poisoning. This is a theory why Tituba didn 't show the same symptoms as the girls. (“Ergot”) As stated before, Ergot grows especially well in warm, damp areas. Betty and Abagail, as well as the others in the circle, lived in the marsh side of the village; the more water you have, the more Ergot that
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