A few centuries ago in Europe, the fear of witchcraft led to witch hunts and executions. These occurred mostly in France, Germany, northern Italy, and Switzerland. “Tens of thousands of people in Europe and European colonies died,” and “millions of others suffered from torture, arrest, interrogation, hate, guilt, or fear,”. It is estimated that the early modern witch trials claimed the lives of nine million Europeans, 80% of whom were women which led early feminists such as Margaret Murray, Mary Daly and Barbara Ehrenreich, among others, to wonder: “Was the witch-hunt an intentional woman-hunt”. Back then, women were accused of being witches since Accusations of witchcraft required no evidence of guilt. The trials were “intended only to produce
In 17th-century Colonial America, contact with the supernatural was considered part of everyday life; many people believed that evil spirits were present and active on Earth. This superstition emerged 15th century Europe and spread with the colonization of North American puritan colonies. Women were believed to be the most susceptible to demonic behavior; females were considered simple targets for Satan due to being viewed as the weaker sex physically, spiritually, and morally. Women who did not conform to the Puritan ideals at the time were usually ostracized, institutionalized, or brutally murdered. In 1692, thirteen women were famously put on trail for accusations of witchcraft; famously known as the Salem Witch Trails. Most of these women were put on trial and later burned to death for erratic and un-Godly behaviors, 78% of the people charged were women who were accused of doing devilish things such as; speaking out against church officials, being a financially wealthy widow, having pre marital sex, or just being too beautiful. According to Michael Coren’s Why Catholics are Right “five million women were killed by the Church as witches… witch hunts began in the sixteenth century in Europe and that between 30,000 and 50,000 men and women were burned to death for
From the time of the 1690’s the entirety of Salem, Massachusetts were Puritans. “The Puritan lifestyle was restrained and rigid: People were expected to work hard and repress their emotions or opinions. Individual differences were frowned upon.” (Salem Witch Trials, The World Behind the Hysteria). These people believed that doing anything sinful would result in punishment from God. Just as much as they believed in God, they also believed in the Devil. Keeping up with the Puritan code, it led to the first women being accused of witchcraft. They were viewed as pariahs, and seen differently. Had the Puritan government let the afflicted defend themselves, not be so dependent on religion, not investigating the facts or scrutinize the trials the killing of many could have been prevented. The hangings from the trials would ultimately be the last in America.
The Puritans during the witch hunt believed that women were unholy by nature and felt that women should be “sweet” and responsible, and if you didn’t act as such they would accuse you of being a witch. They lived under harsh rules and brought the same intolerance they had from fleeing England to escape to Massachusetts Bay Colony. Majority of the accusations of being a witch were women but not all. An Indian woman named Tituba that was purchased from the Barbados by Samuel Parris was being a witch. She had very good knowledge of the supernatural and they began to suspect her of being accused for witchcraft or
The largest outbreak of witchcraft in America took place in Salem, Massachusetts in 1692. A group of girls, including the Parris’s Indian slave Tituba, gathered in the Salem village and were attempting to see the future by decoding “messages”. Shortly after this gathering the girls started showing signs of the possessed (pg. 73). To this day people all over America are still amazed with the events that took place in this time. But why is that? The fear of the village fell heavily onto the judicial system, which later made people focus on the proper separation of government and religious beliefs. Mass hysteria broke out amongst the village and many people were being accused, therefore leading to many innocent deaths. Although there could be many theories as to the reason the witch trials in Salem began, there are two points of view that are very commonly shared amongst people. Some believe that the Salem witch trials were women unconsciously searching for power, whereas others believe it was an encephalitis epidemic.
The creaks of the swaying rope were loud in the deafening silence. The victim’s life was hanging on a thread—just like the noose around her neck . . . . In Salem Village, the year 1692, twenty men and women were accused of witchcraft and was executed accordingly. Many historians are still bewildered at what exactly caused the hysteria of the Salem Witch Trials of 1692. There were a few possible origins of the hysteria; however, jealous, young, single women; sexism against women; and lying little girls stand out as the main sources.
These individuals may or may not have been witches, yet the jury many times chose to hang any accused individuals with or without reasonable cause. Today, much like during the Witch Trials, people are sent to prison for crimes they didn’t commit. Of course, many guilty people are sent to prison and rightfully so, but sometimes good lawyers are able to convince the jury unjustly sending innocent individuals to a life in prison. Though, Americans are not scared of being sent to jail for witchery, they are scared of being in the wrong place at the wrong time due to the fear of governmental polices.
In North America some Puritan people decided to settle down in what is now known as Salem Massachusetts. They believe in the Bible which means they knew about the devil and they also know he can possess people, and turn them into witches. These Puritan people were so superstitious that they accused over 100 people just in Salem. They stopped after the mayor’s wife was accused. People could have been stressed from the Indian raids so they accused traitors.
Though the Puritans left excellent records, these witch trials are still shrouded in mystery, and to this day historians debate why they happened. One explanation is that the Puritan philosophy of denying oneself any luxury left the young girls who started the Witch Hunt feeling starved for attention, causing them to act out. Whatever the reason is the fact remains that in February of 1692 two young girls began experiencing “fits” and blamed satanic rituals performed by some of the women of Salem. Massive hysteria erupted, and the trials resulted in the death of twenty-two people.
In the 1680’s and 1690’s there was mass hysteria in New England over supposed witchcraft. The most famous outbreak was in Salem, Massachusetts, hence the name Salem Witch Trials. In Salem, there were young girls who started acting strangely, and they leveled accusations of witchcraft against some of the West Indian servants who were immersed in voodoo tradition. Most of the accusations were against women, and soon the accusations started to shift to the substantial and prominent women. Neighbors accused other neighbors, husbands accused their wives, etc. and it kept going on for a while. There was this nature of evil and the trials didn’t end until nineteen Salem residents were put to death in 1692, more importantly before the girls
Both Salem, Massachusetts in Arthur Miller’s The Crucible, and post 9/11 America are societies that dread witches or terrorists and tries to identify and eliminate them. When people find something that they are afraid of, they will do everything in their power to get rid of that fear. It will not matter to them what they have to do in order to eliminate their unease. Any fear that is great enough can take over people and make them do horrible, unjust things.
In Marion L. Starkey’s book, The Devil in Massachusetts, she tells the story of the accusations and hysteria that stirred up Salem, Massachusetts in 1692. Many people were charged with being a witch or being involved with the devil. What seemed to have just started off as a “game” to a group of girls soon turned into the execution of twenty people. The major causes of the Salem witch trials involve boredom from strict Puritan beliefs, and the fear of being accused for witchcraft.
Anne Hutchinson has long been seen as a strong religious dissenter who paved the way for religious freedom in the strictly Puritan environment of New England. Another interpretation of the controversy surrounding Anne Hutchinson asserts that she was simply a loving wife and mother whose charisma and personal ideas were misconstrued to be a radical religious movement. Since this alleged religious movement was led by a woman, it was quickly dealt with by the Puritan fathers as a real threat. Whatever her motives, she was clearly a great leader in the cause of religious toleration in America and the advancement of women in society. Although Anne Hutchinson is historically documented to have been banished as a religious dissenter, the real
A considerable lot of the American settlers carried with them, from Europe, a faith in witches and the devil. Amid the seventeenth century, individuals were often executed for being witches and worshiper of Satan. The Puritan town of Salem was home to where many executions of witches took place, more commonly known as the Salem witch trials. A scandalous scene in American history, the Salem witch trials of 1692 brought about the execution by hanging of fourteen ladies and five men blamed for being witches. The mass hysteria of witchcraft came to be when nine year old Betty Parris and eleven year old Abigail Williams began to display strange behavior.
Witch hunts blazed across Europe over the fifteenth to eighteenth centuries not just killing innumerable innocent people, but stripping women of much of the power they had once held, and changing society's perceptions of women all together. The economic hardships, religious rivalries, and troubled politics of the time made accusing your neighbors of witchcraft convenient. Where there was war and poverty, or merely bad luck, peasants would assume witchcraft and rush to blame an old, defenseless woman in trials which involved unbelievable cruelty and horrible sadism. As religion and the Catholic Church began to complement and perpetuate the increasing hysteria, European society as a whole could do nothing but