The Salem Witches: Real or Imagined?

1289 WordsFeb 2, 20185 Pages
The Salem Witches: Real or Imagined? The Salem Witch Trials began because of a mysterious illness contracted by 11-year old Abigail Williams and her cousin Betty Paris (Burgan). Instead of looking for a logical explanation, the community immediately jumped to the conclusion that witches caused the girls curious behavior. Doctors commonly would diagnose an unknown illness as witchcraft, rather than looking for other explanations (Wolfinger). Erot of Rye, which causes severe contortions and hallucinations, could have caused their strange behavior (Burgan). Abigail and Betty also could have faked their bewitchment to receive attention or avoid work. The Salem Witch Trials took place based accusations, rather than solid evidence. Though frowned upon by many in modern society, people considered witchcraft a terrible crime, punishable by death during this period in time. Many scholars in Salem believed that witches actually signed away their soul to the devil in return for earthly favors and special powders (history.com). Tituba, an accused slave girl acknowledged this belief, and confessed to have written her name in blood within the devil’s book. She only evaded execution because she saw others also writing their names in the devil’s book. With Tituba still alive, she could identify other potential witches. Soon after the “bewitched” girls accused the first witch, Tituba, many more followed. Among the suspected withes, Rebecca Nurse and Giles Correy held strong to their
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