The practice of capturing witches didn't start at Salem. For centuries Europeans had been catching supposed witches and burning them at the stake. In 1492 two priests were elected by the Catholic Church to write a book on the evils of witchcraft. The book was read widely and told people how witches worked for the devil and the various ways they could torture and kill people. After reading this book and another anti-witchcraft book, Relating to Witchcraft and Possessions, by Cotton Mather(a local priest) which encouraged colonists that even torture was fine to convict people of sorcerery(since real witches couldn't feel pain) it was no wonder that the Puritans of Salem took it upon themselves to expel witches in God's name. Another cause of the trials was a problem brewing in Salem itself. For many years Salem Town and Salem Village had been separate parts of Salem. Salem Town had the rich merchants and markets while Salem Village had poor bitter farmers. In an effort to get itself separated from Salem Town, Salem Village hired a priest named Samuel Parris since they thought since they had their own congregation they could be their own little town. The people of Salem Town were angry that Salem Village wanted to separate so many of the townspeople didn't attend Parris's services. Parris used this to his advantage by telling the villagers that those who did not come to the church were witches since they... [continues]
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