Posted by: history591seventeen | June 8, 2007

Witchcraft in Salem Village

Today we learned about witchcraft in Salem Village.  Dr. Baker explained that witchcraft trials were occurring all over the world between 1500-1700.  Salem, Massachusetts was not an isolated incident. 

Salem Village, not Salem Town was the place where everything occurred, but what I found the most interesting was the reasons he gave for the “outbreak”.  He stated that it was not ergot poisoning as reported in some textbooks.  It was most likely this combination:  

                         Community tension, (jealousy)

                         Religious turmoil

                         Concerns over new government

                         War hysteria over loses to the Indian and French

                          And former Indian captives, (post-traumatic-stress)    

After listening to Dr. Baker and thinking about my own students, I believe the above list would influence my students as well.  It was stated today more than once that the people of this time had no privacy.  Therefore, whatever Mom and Dad were discussing and worried about the children would worry about as well.  I know we see this in our own students everyday.  We usually know when there is turmoil at home by the way some of our students are acting, so his explanation makes a lot of sense.


  1. I totally agree about external turmoil affecting interior peace. It’s been interesting to think about history (architecture or gravestones for instance) as reflecting the turmoil of the times. I think this can be examined at all levels, family, community, self. I haven’t taken a lot of history classes in my life, but I am so impressed, maybe awed, by the way one event influences and interacts with other events to set things in motion. By golly I bet Newton would agree with this, too! See you in the morning.


  2. […] I have samples I can cite.  Therefore, with apologies in case the authors are modest, look at this post, this post or maybe this post out of many fine examples from which I might […]

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