Ergotism In The Cause Of The Salem Witch Trials

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Ergotism is believed to be a theory in the cause of the Salem Witch Trials. Ergot is a common grain fungus . In this case, rye was commonly used in Salem, as it was one of their main grains harvested. It was used in bread, alcohol, animal food, and much more. Ergot contains compounds that attack the central nervous system. This commonly causes nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, burning/itching of the skin, convulsions, and hallucinations. These were the exact symptoms shown by the “bewitched.” Ergot thrives in warm, damp, environments, just like the ones that occurred in Salem. Most of the people that were accused lived in very wet, swampy conditions, perfect for ergot to grow. The crop harvested in the fall of 1691 would have been baked and eaten

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