The Salem Witch Trials

Essay by badboy4lyf102 November 2004

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In the spring and summer of 1692, 20 men and women were killed on Gallows Hill, near Salem Village, for witchcraft. Many more were also accused of witchcraft. Some rotted in jail for months without trials. It started when Betty Parris became ill with strange symptoms. Soon her friends became ill with about the same symptoms. This was during the war with the Indians so the villagers already believed the Devil was close at hand and it was easy to believe that this strange behavior was caused by witchcraft. But in September of 1692, the Salem witch trials came to an abrupt halt.

There are many reasons why these girls could have made up these stories. The symptoms they had could have come from stress, asthma, guilt, child abuse, epilepsy, and delusional psychosis. I personally think that they did it because of boredom. They are in this little town cut off from the other villages; they are bound to get bored.

This shows that a small group of people cut off from others can be influenced by what they see and hear. They heard about witchcraft and then they saw these things that could be caused by witchcraft and they just started jumping to conclusions. These conclusions cost twenty people their lives. Puritan society is heavily predisposed to hate the devil. Now they see the devil in the eyes of the witches so naturally they would try to get rid of these witches. This shows that Puritan society is partly to blame for the Salem witch trials.

From this unit, I learned about the power of suggestion. Like I mentioned before, one person says something about witches and they all go along. Just like that video we watched about the trials. One person felt something, and then everyone after...