The Salem Witchcraft Trials began in the 1690’s in Salem, Massachusetts and then later spread to other parts of New England. These trials resulted in the execution of about 20 people, most of them women, and innocent people. Hundreds of other individuals including men, women, and children were accused; dozens were kept in prison without trials, and a couple even died in prison. A wave of hysteria spread all over Massachusetts, when a group of girls began to display an odd and bizarre behavior. Over hundreds of years, historians have been trying to elaborate a conclusion and explain why Americans in the seventeenth-century became so committed to the idea of satanic rituals and scheming. There are many different interpretations of the Salem Witchcraft Trials, some of which include, ergot, lack of sunlight, and hysteria.
Ergot is a type of toxic fungus, which infects rye and contains alkaloids, which can cause severe problems to humans, such as hallucinations, tingling in the fingers, and convulsions, symptoms similar to those in Salem. It is considered as one of the major interpretations of the Salem Witch Trials, for it was mistakenly being consumed in 1692; time of which in fact the trials were taking place. At first it was a misconception since ergot’s toxins were believed to inactivate after being exposed to the baking process. Later, it was proven by a couple of tests that the alkaloids found inside of the fungus do not completely die when exposed to high temperatures, meaning that ergot could’ve been the cause for women to act as if they were bewitched.
The second theory, and the least likely cause was the lack of sunlight. Some historians believe that during the winter in Salem, they were always under cloud coverage. It was also believed that the Salem people hardly went outside, and so it caused lack of nutrients to their bodies. Historians also came up with the idea that the