Salem Witch Trials : The Witch Trial Hysteria

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Salem Witch Trial Hysteria
In 1692 the actions of three girls quickly launched Salem onto the path of committing one of the largest witch hunts the New World has ever known. The witch hunt was fueled by a mass hysteria among the townspeople, this hysteria was the result of the strictness of their society and a number of internal and external stressors. The initial wave of panic when rumors of witchcraft arose gave way to compete hysteria when accusations began. Salem massachusetts was the perfect setting for the hunt to stir about in, even before any accusations were thrown out, the community “viewed women as the source of all problems on Earth.” They had “virtually no protection under the law,” making them the perfect scapegoat for the
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They were faced with “Generational, racial, and sexual hostility, opposition to law, social stresses, and food poisoning” all of which could have contributed to the raving of the town (Billings, Warren M. and Manning, Kimberly. "Salem Witchcraft Trials).
Around the time of the accusations the “people of Salem founded themselves in limbo, as their Royal Charter had expired.” causing the tensions in the village to climb(Hinds, Maurene J pg. 21). They lacked its security in time when they desperately could have used it. There was a social reform rising at the time, and Puritans felt the need to defend their way of life to the growing intellectual population who supported science over religion. To make matters even worse “the colony itself was in a state of transition and upheaval, awaiting the arrival of a new governor.” ("Salem Witch Trials." Gale Encyclopedia of U.S. History: War) The present governor 's health was failing and did nothing in the way of stunting the growing panic among the village.
The initial accuser’s were two young girls, Betty Parris and Abigail Williams, though motives are definite it is known that Abigail 's parents were killed in indian raids and Betty’s involvement is “is attributable to her probable fear of having violated the sacred tenets of her religion”("Salem Witch Trials." Gale Encyclopedia of U.S. History: War, Gale).

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