The Salem Witch Trials : An Indelible Part Of American History Essay

1611 WordsNov 3, 20167 Pages
Girls Gone Wild Over four short months in 1692, several people in the colony of Massachusetts, discovered an easy solution to gain attention, impress local clergy and magistrate, get into the good graces of God, and get rid of people that they found disagreeable—by accusing them of witchcraft. This period, which became known as The Salem Witch Trials, enforced the belief that Puritan ministers spoke for God himself, and also that their opinions were infallible. At least twenty people were killed because of false accusations, and hundreds had their names and reputations torn apart over accusations that they practiced witchcraft (Norton, 2002). Strict Puritan values, a fear of witchcraft, and the counsel of local pastors created the mass hysteria that made the Salem Witch Trials an indelible part of American history. While the Salem Witch Trials is the most well known case of accused witchcraft to students in the United States, it is not the first. In 1484, Pope Innocent VIII acknowledged that witchcraft was happening throughout Europe, and appointed two friars to investigate and report on this suspected witchcraft. In 1486, Heinrich Kramer and Jacob Sprenger published Malleus Maleficarum, which explained how witches are real, and are not harmless, but powerful, and working hand in hand with the Devil (Wicasta, 2007). Kramer and Sprenger’s work was not only a model on how to identify, prosecute, and stop witchcraft, but also put forth modern fears and superstitions

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