Salem Witch Hysteria
The harsh cold winters in Salem, Massachusetts brought inevitable boredom; especially for teens. Present day winters are filled with cuddling up to the television or playing video games, but finding something interesting to do in Salem winters was more than difficult; the year 1692 changed all of that. The Salem Witch Hysteria brought sheer terror through out the town as well as surrounding towns. Men and women were being accused of being witches and wizards based on spectral evidence given by a group of girls that started it all. There are many plausible theories as to why this incident can be deemed a hysteria such as sheer boredom and teen angst, women’s roles in the Puritan society, and fear. Reverend Samuel Parris’ family was comprised of his wife, daughter Betty, niece Abigail, and West Indian slave Tituba. Abigail’s parents passed away and as a result the Puritan community did not accept her because she was an outsider. There was little for the girls to do because they did not attend school due to their house duties. They were expected to tend the house and nothing more. Betty, Abigail, and some friends would sneak out to find Tituba so they could hear her fascinating stories. In Tituba’s spare time she liked to tell fortunes and practice magic; it was apart of her culture in her homeland of Barbados. The girls in the Parris household heard many of the reverend’s sermons preaching bad and evil; however, they got different stories from Tituba. Enchanting them with her stories Tituba would tell tales of black magic. Even though some of the girls were fearful of what they were hearing, they continued to tune in. According to Alan L. Lockwood’s theoretical analysis of the Salem witch hysteria, the girls would “at times fall into a trance, at times crawling around barking like a dog, at times having convulsive fits.” When the girls allegedly became bewitched they began to accuse people who their families had disputes with. “The girls...
Cited: "The Salem Witch Scare: Need To Know." American History. ABC-CLIO, 2012. Web. 12 Sept. 2012.
The American Nation: A History of the United States, Single Volume Edition, Primary Source Edition
Karlsen, Carol F. The Devil in the Shape of a Woman: Witchcraft in Colonial New England. New York: Norton, 1987. Print.
Lockwood, Alan L. Madness in Massachusetts. N.p.: Colonial Era, n.d. Print
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