Salem Witch Trials
The 17th century was filled with mystery because of the strong beliefs in the supernatural powers and the presence of Satan on Earth in the colonial North America. Witchcraft, the use of magical faculties, was mainly used by the peasants with a particular charm of being associated with the evil spirits and demons to prosper in their agricultural activities. In fact, many literatures were written on witchcraft during that period. For instance, Joseph Glanvill in 1668, claimed to have proof of the existence of these powers in witches and ghosts in his thesis titled “Against Modern Sadducism”. Along with this thesis, other works by Cotton Mather, a minister at the Boston North Church, created the fear among the people about the wandering and meandering of demons on Earth (Adams, 2009). As a result, there was caution and concern among people from all quarters regarding the activity of witchcraft and black magic. This proves the common mindset of the society and the religious views and beliefs were blindly followed during those days; particularly when Christianity was almost occult.
In the Salem Village (currently Denver, Massachusetts), people believed that ills and misfortunes were a result of the Devil’s tricky activities. Hence, natural events such as infant deaths, failure of crops, conflicts and friction in the society were attributed to the supernatural powers. There were numerous accusations on witchcraft activities for all the unusual outbreak of events.
In his 1689 book, Memorable Providences Relating to Witchcrafts and Possessions, Cotton Mather described alleged mysterious observations in which the child of a mason from Boston was extremely affected by witchcraft activities. In his book, the mason’s eldest child was lured by the devil to steal linen from their laundry woman, Mary Glover (Adams, 2009). Since Mary Glover’s husband often referred to her as a witch, she was accused of casting evil spells on the children. Allegedly, after this event, four of the mason’s children had fits of strange kind which was at that time called as the “disease of astonishment”. The children experienced neck and back pains, their tongues were drawn out of their throats, they used to make loud outcries, becoming limber, flapping their arms like birds, or trying to harm others as well as themselves. These activities were immediately associated with witchcraft and this is when the stage was set for the craze of 1692, known as the Salem Witch Trials.
The Salem Witch Trials consisted of a number of hearings and prosecutions which involved a number of people accused of witchcraft activities between February...