Salem Witch Trials

Topics: Salem witch trials, Witchcraft, Magic Pages: 7 (2810 words) Published: February 26, 2013
Approximately 80% of the people accused of witchcraft in the 1960’s were women (Kagan 428). Primarily, the accused were women who were different, strong, independent and sensual in nature. Such women posed a problem to the typical rich, superior and dominant white male. Tituba was the first African American slave to be charged in the Salem Witch Trial in 1692. She was well liked by the children of Salem Village, which made her stand out from the rest. The children loved to listen to her stories of talking animals, magic and fortune telling. Once, several children became ill and showed symptoms of being bewitched Tituba was a prime suspect in the witch hunt. Although the children loved her, Tituba’s cultural and religious practices of fortune telling were not acceptable to the Puritans belief of Christianity. Women were seen as seductively powerful due to the well know story of Adam and Even in the Garden of Eden. Although Adam knew it was wrong to eat of the forbidden fruit, he was convinced by his wife Even to partake of the fruit. Like Eve, women were considered to be the downfall of man. Women were looked down upon because of their gender by misogynistic men who justified the way they felt behind their Puritan faith. They felt because Eve had conversations with the devil, that most women had the same comradery with the devil. Puritans did not let that notion go. If a woman was behaving out of character according to the Puritan Christian faith she was assumed to be a witch or have been bewitched. Men believed women had connection with the devil, that they had some type of power that would control the minds of men. Some believed women had some type of magic powers over men which made them have sexual or impure thoughts. Ironically, women were considered to have these powers, yet they were rendered powerless compared to men. In medieval times, it was believed witches were not born with “magical powers” (Goss 2). They were people who willingly had some type of agreement with the devil in order to be granted these magical powers to do evil things. Instead of taking responsibility for their short comings, men attribute misdealing of their affairs to a woman. For instance, Tiger Woods and his numerous affairs led to his divorce and his loss of endorsements. Although, there were some accused witches of whom did practice witchcraft there were others that did not. They were accused due to mere speculation. They were tortured as a means of getting the alleged witches to confess to sorcery. For instance, Bridget Bishop, the proprietor of an unlicensed neighborhood pub was accused of being a witch because she was accepted and well-liked by the younger males in the neighborhood. Bridget was accused of witchcraft before and was cleared of the charges. This time several people from her town testified of bizarre occurrences they could not give reason for due to the lack of magical powers. Another reason she was singled out was due to hearsay. A local couple indicated they had a major problem with her and were advised to stay away from Bridget. They were told Bridget would cause harm to their child as a way to persisted. Needless to say the couple’s son fell ill and Bridget was to blame (Goss 25). There were more allegations and speculations of Bridget, all the while she persistently maintained her innocence. The testimony of a local farmer, William Stacey, more than likely determined her fate. Some of his numerous allegations of Bridget included a time she placed her hand over his and his hand disappeared. Another allegation Stacey mentioned included one day he was riding by her and mysteriously his wagon wheel fell off. Consequently, the allegation that stood out the most was his claim of seeing a ghostly image of Bridget in his bedroom. This hints to notion she may have been using her black magic to seduce him and spy on him in his bedroom, as this totally went against their Puritan belief....
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