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How Did Salem Witch Trials Cause Mass Hysteria

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In 1692, the colonial town of Salem Massachusetts exploded with craziness, and had accused over 200 people of witchcraft, and executed 19 of them. The event was nothing compared to other witch trials around the world, yet even 300 years later, people are still talking about it. It is so well known because of the panic that really defined that time in history. But what caused the mass hysteria surrounding the Salem Witch Trials? It was a horrible combination of high tensions due to the hard times people of Salem were going through, and fear of the Devil.
Before people of Salem realized there were witches living in their community, they already had this fear of the devil and witches, who were believed to be Satan’s servants. The Salem Witch …show more content…

The stress of multiple negative events happening one after the other surely did affect the outcome of the trials. Before 1692, Salem was one of New England’s most divided communities. Colonial America was not as organized and connected as America is today. Salem Massachusetts in the 17th century was very small and isolated. People who lived there were in constant fear of being attacked by native tribes that surrounded their colony. They were never sure when they would be attacked, so they just went about their days always expecting one. Always looking over their shoulder, fearing for their lives every second of every day, is definitely not a healthy way to live. On top of that, there was a recent smallpox outbreak. Clearly it was because they did not know how to keep themselves from getting infected, but the rapid spread was later passed off as witchcraft. At the time, Salem also got some new residents from England. This would eventually lead to clashing religions within the church. All these things combined put people in a constant state of stress for a long time. If it weren’t for all that though, perhaps the way they reacted to the first incident would have been …show more content…

The way the towns people interpreted evidence and clues really showed just how paranoid they really were. It all started with nine girls who lived in Salem. After playing a fortune telling game, the girls began showing strange symptoms. They would hide under furniture, have bad fevers, and contort in pain. They called the doctor over, but he could not find anything physically wrong with the girls, and suggested they were bewitched.5 They were questioned about who might do this to them, and they pointed the adults of the town in the direction of three social outcasts. These three women were questioned, and eventually one of them confessed. Tituba was the first to confess, saying the Devil came to her. She called out the other two women, and said they were witches as well. This sparked the mass hysteria that was the Salem Witch Trials. Now people had something real, and in front of them to fear. The confessions had them believing the witches were to blame for all their problems. Because of this belief, people would say and do crazy things to track down more witches. Evidence used in witch trials was often mostly people recounting dreams, in which God came to them and told them who a witch was.5. That, and the rumor that people with moles on their faces were witches, led to a lot of innocent people being accused. Over the course of the trials, over two hundred people were accused,7 fifty

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