Salem Witch Trial

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The famous Salem Witch Trials took place during the early months of the year 1692 and into the first month of 1693, in the small village of Salem. Salem Village was part of the Massachusetts Bay Colony, which was located on the coast of Massachusetts Bay, north of present day Boston, where the present day city of Salem stands now. Salem was an “important seaport in Massachusetts.” (Burgan, 4) The population of Salem was around 550 people. Of the 500 plus people living there practically the whole population was involved with the witch trials somehow. Many innocent citizens, who were not able to defend themselves properly, were accused of being supposable witches during the Salem Witch Trials. The people, who were affected by the disease most in the city of Salem, were the citizens who were named to be “witches” by the young girls. The girls who were afflicted by the disease ranged between the ages of four to upper teens. Magoon says that the girls started having “disturbing fits” (6) What is believed to be the reason for what triggered the ‘fits is called Egotism. Egotism is a disease which is produced by the fungus Ergot. Ergot is a fungus which forms in grains and grasses, mostly in damp, warm and rainy environments. The conditions of Salem were identical to this, which formed ergot in the cities crops. Ergot contains lysergic acid. Lysergic acid affects the central nervous system. Since the nervous system is affected it causes the many symptoms the girls from Salem showed. Some recorded actions of the girls were: cursing uncontrollably, barking and their eyes rolling back into their head, twisting their arms and legs unnaturally, seizures, temporarily being paralyzed, screaming, throwing things, and falling down. Egotism also causes “hallucinations and other symptoms similar to those of the Salem girls.” (Magoon, 81) Many of the girls claimed to feel a pricking sensation, to see hallucinations, and complain of a fever. The girls also appeared to have bite...
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