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Demonological Theory

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Alyssa Fielding
Brian Fedorek 6470
Criminological theory
May 20,2012
Demonological Theory
In the 18th century the amount of people who were accused of being witches and using the supernatural skyrocketed. This is because when bad things happened, the people immediately blamed it on witchcraft. In criminology this thought was named the Demonological Theory. According to the book Introduction to Criminology written by Frank E. Hagan “Felonies (mortal sins) were viewed as manifestations of basically evil human nature reflecting either allegiance to the “prince of darkness” or an expression of divine wrath (Introduction).” Based on that theory, all criminal activity was caused by either the devil, or because people were worshipping the devil.

The Salem Witch trials were a great example of demonological theory. June through September of 1692 became a hectic time for Salem, Massachusetts. 19 men people were convicted of using witchcraft. They were arrested for things like having caused people to have seizures by using witchcraft. While they were being held in their cells, some of them were beaten until the confessed, and when they finally confessed they were sentenced to a hanging in front of the whole town. And one man was crushed to death by heavy stones because he refused to participate in a trial. During these times, there was no proof needed for persecution. All they did was accuse people and then sentence them to death for their bad deeds (Salem).

Another example is Europe during the Middle Ages. During this time, there was a governing body that decided various ways to test the guilt an innocent of people. This idea ran under the belief that God could show who was innocent and guilty by allowing the innocent the live and the guilty be killed in battle. After, they started using Trial by Ordeal. In a Trial by Ordeal, the accused were put in front of difficult tasks. If they passed, it was God showing their innocence and if they failed, it was God...

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