The Witches Of Salem Witch Trials

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Joey Kimbro October 11, 2017 Honors English 3 Mrs. Tammen Salem Witchcraft Trial Theories In the 1690s “The “afflicted” girls [whom] made the accusations were some of the most powerless members of their society” (“Part II: The Witches of Salem”). Salem Witch Trials quickly became famous and researchers began exploring the multiple possibilities behind the trials. Although many theories were considered, none could explain why so many were accused and hanged. Notably, ergot poisoning was a highly considered theory for the Salem trials. Farming conditions in the western part of Salem Village, Putnam farmland, were warm, damp, and swampy, the perfect environment for fungus to grow. The poison from ergot would grow in rye and cereal grains.…show more content…
Evidence points out, “...one of the afflicted girls [was a doctor 's servant], and probably [had eaten] Putnam grain, since the doctor had no grain of his own; the Putnams [had] a huge amount of farmland, so many people [received] the Putnam grain” (Nekrosius’s Students). Ergot seems to be reasonable, especially since the Putnam’s farmland made up the vast majority of Salem Village. At one point, ergot could isolate and infiltrate the crop, then by the next year, there would be no sign of ergot. To identify whether the crop is infested or not, the rye would spew out yellow-colored mucus, but no one in Salem had any knowledge on the poison. Evidently, ergot poisoning also explains the sudden end to the trials. In 1692, a year after the trials began, there was a drought, so many crops were not able to grow and ergot poison could not spread. However, ergot poisoning was not the only theory suggested. Chiefly, encephalitis was considered to be another theory that explained the Salem trials. Encephalitis left people in coma-like trances and even dead. Symptoms included inflammation of the brain, headaches, fever, confusion, seizures, loss of hearing, and no control over eye muscles. Carlson provides with, “In 1916 physicians in Europe began to report puzzling symptoms in patients: convulsions, hyperactivity interspersed with periods of catatonic stupor, and severe eye-muscle disorders” (Mixon). Hence, the afflicted
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