These are variously related to physical and mental conditions of people involved in the hunts. According to a Mass Hysteria Theory, peasants went a little wacky, becoming clinically neurotic and even psychotic, and in a group panic went after the witches.
Nearly people were accused of witchcraft and by the end of the trials, 19 were sentenced to death by hanging and executed. The historians agree that the Witch Trials were a result of mass hysteria but there are several theories about its causes. Listed below are 5 possible reasons for one of the most tragic events in American history.
Boredom One theory claims that it all started because the girls in the village were bored. In addition, the Puritans held very strict beliefs which forbade many forms of entertainment not only for adults but for children too.
And for girls, it was even worse because the restrictions for them were more severe than they were for boys. Strong Belief in the Occult The Puritans strongly believed in the existence of witches and witchcraft. According to the belief, witches were in alliance with the devil that gave them power to do harm.
They were blamed for all kinds of misfortunes from illnesses and failed crops to bad weather and other things that had a perfectly rational explanation even three centuries ago. But due to the strong belief in the occult, the villagers were inclined to the most improbable explanations.
For them, witches and witchcraft were a very real threat. Disputes, Rivalries and Personal Differences Many of those who were accused of witchcraft had unsettled accounts with their accusers or were seen as a threat to the Puritan values. About 50 people were directly or indirectly accused by the members of the Putnam family which strictly followed the Puritan beliefs and customs, and strongly supported Reverend Samuel Parris, the initiator of the witch hunt.
But the attempt had failed and 19 of their supporters got accused of witchcraft. Cold Weather Theory According to this theory, the Salem tragedy might have been related to the cold weather, more specifically a pursuit for something or someone to blame for the related hardships such as crop failure.
This theory is supported by historical records which indicate that the years preceding the Witch Trials were particularly cold. Also, the notorious witch hunt took place within the period of the so-called Great Witch Craze which in turn coincides with what is known as the Little Ice Age, a period of abnormally cold climate between the midth and midth century.
Ergot Poisoning Consumption of rye grains contaminated with a fungus known as ergot is another possible explanation for the witch hysteria in the late 17th century Salem. If eaten, the fungus can cause hallucinations and convulsions similar to those that were reported to be experienced by the allegedly bewitched girls.
And according to Linnda Caporael, professor at the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute who introduced the ergot poisoning theory, all the conditions were right for the ergot spread just before the Witch Trials.If the whole town of Salem went into a state of fear many people would be hanged for witchcraft.
Also, the townspeople would just accuse one another because they are scared. Root Cause 1: Fear (Rawwwwr) Fear is one root cause of the Witch Hunt in Salem, because citizens of Salem were afraid to believe that there was a witch in Salem.
During the Salem Witch Trials, an accused person’s fate was determined by whether they chose to confess to or deny practicing witchcraft.
Either way, it was a lose-lose situation for the accused because they would lose their property, get thrown in jail (and possibly die of bad conditions), or even get hanged.
The Salem Witch Trials occured in the year of in Salem Massachussets where the bells tolled for a total of 27 people men and wemon.
7 died by the filth of the prison, 1 was crush and 19 were hanged. Abigail Williams was one of the first afflicted girls in the Salem Witch Trials..
Despite the fact that she was one of the main accusers during the Salem Witch Trials, not much is known about Abigail Williams before or even after the trials ended.
I am basing the above debunking of myths and correction of errors on research for my college on the witch hunts and my book, Witch Hunts in the Western World: Persecution and Punishment from the Inquisition through the Salem Trials. One main issue raised during the years following the denial of Salem Farms’ petition for autonomy was that of ecclesiastical practice.
In , the people of Salem Farms won a small victory when the General Court acknowledged their pleas for their own minister, citing as the cause "great distance from the meeting house". No action took place, however, and the matter remained in the court for over .