Witchcraft Hysteria Research Paper

547 Words3 Pages
To genuinely understand the issue of witchcraft hysteria in New England, a general background, namely the underlying causes for the persecution of witches, should be taken into consideration. With no doubt, the witch hunts were a highly complex movement and thus there is no way to justify them by delving into one specific cause that touched them off, namely a religious drive in the case of this thesis. As Pavlac puts it, none of the theories are perfect and the way they are perceived by historians tends to vary, although they were based on credible data (Pavlac 4). The European hunts generally took place from 1400 to 1800 and many political, psychological, sociological and economic changes took place within those years. The best way to deal…show more content…
It is likely that their mysterious paintings were believed to have the magical power of influencing the thing which was imitated. Supernatural forces seem to be strongly interwoven into the human nature since even the early missionaries and explorers, when entering new territories, faced everywhere a belief in magic (13). The conviction that there existed more serious forms of magic helped fuel the witchcraft superstition. In the course of time, there emerged shamans or witch doctors who claimed to be supernaturally gifted in telling fortunes, defending against evil spells, having power over love, not to mention evoking, diagnosing and curing diseases (Pavlac 7). The perception of the "gifted" persons changed when Christianity busied itself with the concern about demons and devils. The very figure of Satan accompanied by his suite of demons cast a new light on the issue of magic and witchcraft. Demons, as supernatural beings, were believed to tempt, harm and possess decent Christians' souls (Pavlac 14-15). The superstitious attitudes of the Christian society in the Western World towards the supernatural could certainly have their roots in Greco-Roman and Germanic paganism. (Pavlac 28). As the early modern period set in, the witch became a being who commanded sinister magical powers which came from the pact with the Devil. The rumour was that witches indulged themselves in sexual orgies,

More about Witchcraft Hysteria Research Paper

Open Document