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HI114 - Salem Witch Trials 1

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Wilfrid Laurier University
Darren Mulloy

Hi114 – Sept 17/2013 Salem Witch Trials • The Nature of Witchcraft o Winter 1692, Salem girls accused 3 female neighbours of bewitching them, other accusers join in, before long the whole village was engulfed in a witch crisis, October of the next year, 14 women 5 men killed, 1 crushed to death, 156 in prison, 4 died in prison o Puritans: religious dissenters who leave England between 1620-1640 to go to Salem  They do this to get more land  Also have religious mission  Want to establish a new holy commonwealth in new England  They see the church in England as morally corrupt  They hope this will reform the church back in England  When they travelled they brought a lot of beliefs, values and ideas with them  Ideas about witchcraft and wizards • Witchcraft and its history th o June of 12 century in Europe, church begins to take a dim view of heretics o Witches became engulfed in this process o 1326 pope john 22 authorizes the full use of inquisitorial procedures against supposed witches o 1487 – Dominican Monks, Malleus Melficarum (hammer the witches), by Jacob Sprenger and Heinrich Kramer,  this is the most up to date work on witchcraft, used during Salem witchcraft trials,  its not just a matter of religious importance, the state must also act, the procedures to catch a witch,  identifies women as a likely source of witchery o seen as isolated individuals until inquisition when the church starts to view them as a threat to its beliefs  Devil’s Pact, trying to overthrow Christianity o Believed in jewelistic universe, the material world and the invisible world  John Locke, Isaac Newton, believed that things that existed in the invisible world could pass through into the material world • White magic: used for good or benevolent purposes, cure sickness, help crops grow • Black magic: used for malicious or harmful purposes, harm someone, kill someone o Devil’s Pact: sign a contract to serve the devil’s interest • The Evil that witches do o Examples of Maleficium (black magic)  Death and serious injury • Children and women were vulnerable to this  Minor injuries and mishaps  Affect animals • Make your cow wander off, sheep drown, pigs top producing  The weather • Cause storms  The reproductive process • Birth defects, miscarriages, stillbirths  Nocturnal visits • Believed to enter a mans bed chamber while he was sleeping to sit on his chest, pinch him, choke him  Jobs and domestic processes • Forgets how to weave, sew, forgets abilities, loses business  Other powers • Flying, telepathy, telling the future, invisible th o Always on the lookout for witchcraft in the 17 century o Personal disputes escalate into charges of witchcraft o Human motivations  Envy, jealousy, revenge, anger o Involved in a diabolical plot to overthrow the church th  As the 17 century goes on, the authorities believe that witches have a plot to overthrow society and religion • How a witch does what she does? o Look, touch, curse  Don’t have to hear the curse, feel the touch or see the look, all you have to have is the evidence of the act o Animal Familiars  Turn themselves into animals, supernatural beings taking a form of
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