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The Salem Witch trials were a series of court trials where many people were accused and held responsible for witchcraft from 1692-1693 and in some places even later. These trails went on to become an unforgettable piece of history, one in which we can still use as a point of reference in a sense to see how much we’ve developed or to see how little progress we have actually made in certain aspects of life (typically politically). Throughout the trials came a lot of death, almost twenty people were hung while the others died in jail.
The victims consisted mainly of women but men and children were also accused and hung or ended up dying in some way. Even before 1692 however many people were accused of being witches or having a supernatural connection to evil. A lot of people’s fears stemmed from writers and philosophers such as Joseph Glanvill, one of the main supporters of the witch hunts. While it seems so radical that there would be witch hunts and people getting murdered over this, Glanvill really makes you think. In 1661 he claimed that, “The time will come, when making use of magnetic waves that permeate the ether; we shall communicate with persons on the opposite side of the globe.”
With so many people all believing this phenomenon it became seen as common sense and some may even look down upon you for not believing in witches. In 1692 a group of young girls had claimed to be possessed by the devil, really setting off the Salem Witch Trials because the girls even accused some of the local women of witchcraft. Around this time there had been a few more incidents claimed to be the Devil’s work such as what is now speculated to be fungus ergot spreading which inevitably caused many of the symptoms simply labeled as witchcraft. Scientist believe the fungus was found in their wheat or rye and would cause vomiting, muscle spasms, and delusions; all of which match the description of the girls in the trials.
Another big reason this phenomenon became so widespread was because many of the residents of Salem were puritan refugees, the puritans had a strong belief in God and demons resulting in a passionate hunt for witches. The first three women accused were Sarah Good, Sarah Osborne, and Tituba, the two Sarah’s pleaded innocent but interestingly enough Tituba did not. Tituba stated “The Devil came to me and bid me serve him.” She described elaborate images of black dogs, red cats, yellow birds and a “black man” who wanted her to sign his book.
She admitted that she signed the book and said there were several other witches looking to destroy the puritans.” The reason for her saying this is unknown, she may have really been a witch, a crazy lady, or an angry women trying to scare the people she saw bas ridiculous for believing this. Regardless, this obviously created a major frenzy amongst the people in the town and even out of it only strengthening this movement.
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