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Causes of the Salem Witch Trials

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Samuel Parris left the room full of anger. Despite the tax problems he was facing from the visiting Salem village, he now has another difficulty for his daughter of 9, and his niece of 11, have both been diagnosed by the doctor to have been bewitched by someone. The past couple of days, Elizabeth and Abigail have been acting very strangely. Parris heard them scream bloody murder, heave things across the room, make strange abnormal sounds, and find them in strange and weird poses. Paranoid as he was, he took them to the local doctor where he learned the dark truth. His best man came up to him with a worried look. “What would I do help, sir?” – he asked politely. “We will find the ones responsible for this” – he responded. Little did he know he would cause one of the darkest parts of Colonial America, known as the Salem Witch Trials, which resulted in 19 hangings, 1 crushed to death, and many succumbed to jail. Historians for years have been trying to find the reason why so many witchcraft accusations from Salem residents were made to innocent puritans. Now Historians have found the answer. The Salem Witch Trials were caused by mental illness and exacerbation towards the upper class.

While many faked that they were bewitched. Some believed they were. During this period, people didn’t know anything about mental health, or anything of the sort. Especially since Puritans believed in a certain way of life that required them to follow certain attributes, and that anything abnormal happening to them was caused by the devil’s magic. According to an article by Nik Decosta-Klipa, many accusers were “…suffering from psychological ailments”. One specific ailment was Mass Conversion Disorder that plagued a comeback “…more than 300 years later”. In 2012, a group of teenage girls from New York experienced symptoms of twitching, jerking, and even outbursts. According to Dr. Robert Bartholomew, “Most victims are normal, healthy people”. These symptoms are very similar to Parris’s daughter and nieces who were normal, healthy people, and unfortunately had no medication to cure them. Because of the different cultures at the time, the only diagnosis was with superstition.

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Going back towards people faking that they are bewitched, many Puritans from Salem did it for one reason. At this time, the tension was building between the village and town folk. The war of 1689, known as William’s war, caused problems with resources in Salem village who depend on their agriculture to pay taxes towards the people of Salem town. The village also grew immense hate towards Samuel Parris who had gained greed towards the tax money he collected from the Puritans. According to an article by Jeff Blumberg, many puritans believe that their lack of resources was because of “…the work of the devil”. Many of the people that faked that they were bewitched probably did it to get back at the townsfolk who were taking all their tax money.

The Salem Witch Trials were one of the most notorious events that took place in colonial America. While many historians for years have come up with theories about why the events happened. Historians have found that they were caused by mental Illness which was never believed to exist at the time of 1692 and that the village folk was angry at the townsfolk for taking all their taxes while they are struggling with their resources.

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Causes of the Salem Witch Trials. (2022, September 01). Edubirdie. Retrieved February 4, 2023, from https://edubirdie.com/examples/causes-of-the-salem-witch-trials/
“Causes of the Salem Witch Trials.” Edubirdie, 01 Sept. 2022, edubirdie.com/examples/causes-of-the-salem-witch-trials/
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Causes of the Salem Witch Trials [Internet]. Edubirdie. 2022 Sept 01 [cited 2023 Feb 4]. Available from: https://edubirdie.com/examples/causes-of-the-salem-witch-trials/
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