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Plants And Superstitions Essay

1742 words - 7 pages

Plants and Superstitions

For many years plants have played a large part in superstitions. Although, they are not so much believed now, as they used to be. They were used to help one's fortune, wealth and fertility. It is amazing that bread was ever eaten; there were so many superstitions about it. It was used to aid in all of these things and many more, It is ironic, however, that the one thing they worshipped and used to keep harm and disease away made them ill and killed some of them. When all of this happened they blamed another superstition, which was witchcraft. "Almost all of the witchcraft misunderstandings were caused by Christianity's persecution of those who refused to abandon pagan beliefs" (Zolar, 1995), but not in the case of the Salem Witch trials.

In 1692 superstitions somehow became the way of thinking. The misuse of it led to the executions of many innocent people in this country. Witchcraft was the crime, for which they were wrongly accused. Fact Net Inc. (see Internet Source) defines superstitions as "Beliefs held despite evidence. They are based on the belief that some people, Plants, animals, stars, words, numbers or special things have magical powers, which contradicts what we know about the world."

A mysterious illness overcame Salem, Massachusetts. Thrashing around, moaning, babbling, and crying made up what were called "convulsive fits," which suddenly occurred in eight girls daily. Hallucinations were also a part of their fits. (see Internet Source). Everyone was terrified. Doctors came to visit, but they did not know much about disease and medicines at that time. One doctor questioned the idea of witchcraft and soon rumors spread that there was a witch in town, or maybe even a group of them were possessed and had cast spells on the girls, Ignorant people began witch-hunts. Anyone who's name was called out during the girls' fits were sent to jail and sat there for three months from the first one taken in, until the trials began, None of those accused had anything in common except the fact that the girls had cried out their names. Their races, religions, and social classes were all different. Those who continued to plead innocent looked forward to their trials for a fair hearing. "To the more intelligent of these it was preposterous to suppose that the trials, conducted by the best minds in Massachusetts, would proceed on the same dream-like plane as the examinations, that men and women of sound mind and good repute would be condemned on the basis of the fancies of young girls. Massachusetts as they knew it was a saner place than that" (Starkey, 1949). Or so they thought, (see Internet Source; Starkey, 1949).

What became known as the Salem Witch trials was the largest witch panic to occur in the United States. These trials were conducted much differently from that of any other trial before. "The examinations were the trial; records were not looked at as hypotheses to be tested, but proven facts; the only...

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