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The Salem Witchcraft Trials Essay

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The Salem Witchcraft Trials of 1692 were the largest outbreak of witch hunting in colonial New England up to that time. Although it was the largest outbreak, it was not something that was new. Witch-hunting had been a part of colonial New England since the formation of the colonies. Between the years 1648 to 1663, approximately 15 witches were executed. During the winter of 1692 to February of 1693, approximately 150 citizens were accused of being witches and about 25 of those died, either by hanging or while in custody. There is no one clear-cut answer to explain why this plague of accusations happened but rather several that must be examined and tied together. First, at the same time the trials took place, King William's War was…show more content…
A group of Indians who massacred Dover, New Hampshire and a series of towns in the same area initiated the fighting. Many of the towns were burned to the ground and over fifty percent of their inhabitants were killed and the rest either captured and sold into slavery or escaped into the frontier. The survivors of these ambushes had endured the sights of extreme torture and brutal murder. After events like this many of these that survived experienced a medical condition known as post-dramatic anxiety stress disorder. Many of the accusers in the Salem Witch Trials were war-orphaned children and adults who had settled in and around Salem to get away from the fighting and the Maine frontier. Many of these may have been experiencing post-dramatic anxiety stress disorder which may have affected their judgment in the cases they brought against those that they accused.

In order for a witch to have been put to trial, someone had to have accused them of being a witch and must have had some sort of evidence to explain their accusation, whether it was spectral or concrete. Most of the evidence brought against the accused was indeed spectral and usually consisted of the witch somehow causing harm to the victim and the victim later accusing whomever they "saw" victimizing them. One victim, Stephen Bittford credited witchcraft for his paralysis and neck pain. In recent years, the combination of these two symptoms has been attributed to a disease
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