The Salem Witch Trials
Similar to England and the rest of Europe, craze broke out in the North American colonies over the witch-hunts. The roots of witchcraft in the colonies came from the villages and towns of England. It was part of the settler's culture to suspect people of witchcraft. Prior to the Salem witch-hunts, which occurred in Salem, Massachusetts, in 1692, there were other accusations of witchcraft in the New England colonies.
Most people accused of witchcraft were women. "Four-fifths is a conservative estimate" (1) of the amount of women that were accused and executed of witchcraft compared to men. Before 1656 most suspects of witchcraft were poor women. "The colonists shared with their counterparts in England many assumptions about what kinds of people witches were, what kind of practices they engaged in, and where and how they attained their supernatural power. They also knew to detect witches and how to rid their communities of the threat witches posed.
Indeed belief in the existence and danger of witches was so widespread, at all levels of society, that disbelief itself was suspect." (1) Witches were thought to work for the Devil, this belief was especially popular among the Puritans. Puritans were a religious group who believed in witches and the ability to hurt others. They saw anything opposing their beliefs as sent to destroy the Puritan church. Puritans did not believe that men and women were spiritual equals. Witchcraft and women seemed to be linked. If you were the husband or daughter of a witch, you were also most likely to be a suspect of witchcraft. Witches were thought to have familiars or imps who carried out the evil doings of the witch. These familiars were often animals, such as birds, or pets. The colonists suspected sudden sickness, death...