The Witches Of Salem Witch Trials

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Salem, Massachusetts, the new English settlement for 17th century Protestants who wanted to purify the Church of England, was and is known for the atrocity that rattled the land. This atrocity, or The Salem Witch Trials, began around 1692, several years after the Puritans settled in Salem. During the Trials, an absurd amount of women, men, and even dogs were accused of being possessed by the Devil, thus making them perform witchcraft or wizardry on both townspeople and the townspeople’s valuables. Many women were found guilty of being witches and were executed by either hanging, stoning, or being burned at the stake. The Puritans made these women out to be horrible creatures, who followed orders from the Devil to reign havoc and terror…show more content…
In an article explaining the relation between mycotoxins in rye and the behaviors of the accused, Alan Woolf explains, “Behaviors of a bewitched person frequently included sensations of pricking, pinching, or burning of the skin; fornication; animal imitation; odd contortions; simulated flying or diving; paralysis and rigidity; anorexia; the forced consumption of invisible fluids; and physical assaults or verbal insults” (458). In reading the excerpt from Woolf’s article, one can undoubtedly perceive that the behaviors of the accused and the symptoms of ergot poisoning are closely related. Yet, individuals should also consider the possibility that some of the documented behaviors of the accused are probably not completely reliable. The mycotoxins inevitably infected the vast majority of Salem, for if one consumed bread at the time, for example, they were presumably poisoned. With this being said, the accusers may have hallucinated some of the documented behaviors in the so called “bewitched” individuals. Additionally, the amount of rye consumed by each individual must be taken into consideration, for every individual reacts differently to toxins in their bodies. One may be completely unaffected by the ergot poisoning if he or she only consumes a small amount of bread with the poisoned rye, while another who eats a considerably greater amount of bread may begin to become hysteric and portray symptoms of what the
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