Salem Witch Hysteria

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Mystery Mania: Research Essay
The Salem Witch trials were known as the largest witch trial in history. At that time, supernatural beings and Satan were considered part of everyday life, so when an epidemic of fits of madness broke out within the nation, mostly targeting young girls, people began to panic and blamed all this on the practice of black magic. A total of about two-dozen people were trialed and executed. But was it really because of witchcraft that people were having fits, and what were the strange sightings around the town of Salem? A few scientific theories began to emerge as more research was done, and what it seemed to come to was that the supposed witchcraft victims were either suffering from medical infection or hysteria.

The first theory suggests that the victims were either suffering from encephalitis, a disease that
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Evidence has shown that the affected were all physically (but not spiritually) well before the madness began, and the hysteria may have been caused by the pressure of trying to cope with an adult world (As the affected were mostly young girls). Also, because of the commotion at that time, it is likely too that the girls went mad simply because of the fear of witchcraft - Chadwick Hansen, author of Witchcraft at Salem, quotes that "“if you believe in witchcraft and you discover that someone has been melting your wax image over a slow fire ... the probability is that you will get extremely sick – your symptoms will be psychosomatic rather than organic." The victims also suffered what seemed to be bite and punch marks and attempted to throw themselves into the fire, a common type of behavior among hysterics, as they often try to injure themselves (Though only when someone is present to stop them). The bite and punch marks could have been the skin lesions common in hysterics. I think this information fits adequately and logically with the symptoms of
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