"The Salem Witch Trials"

Here's another book where I am hopeless to find a picture of the cover. It's from lucent books, and was one of those historical reader things that tries to be neutral and unbiased but falls short. It was interesting to read about this; there was a lot that I didn't know before. Like for example, some of the girls probably really were genuinely afraid that the people they accused were performing witchcraft on them. And also, later one of the judges confessed that he believed he sentenced several innocent people to death. And one of the main accuser girls later confessed to accusing innocent people, and offered an apology. Also, five years after the ordeal, in 1697 I believe, there was a state-wide (I think) call for fasting and prayer, because there was a huge famine. Most people believed it had to do with punishment for the hangings of witches.

I also hadn't known that over 100 people in total were put in jail, mostly women but some men, accused of witchcraft. It's so weird that the people who were apparently the most interested in it were the ones to blame others. I think this was something I never really understood when I read "The Crucible" back in 7th grade. But then again, it still doesn't quite make sense, except that people are a lot more sensitive about their own flaws than others'.


  1. I saw a PBS presentation some time ago that alleged the whole thing had some kind of financial motive. The basis for this conclusion was that most of those accused were land holders while the accusers were those who had something to gain from punishing them by death.

  2. Yeah, there was apparently a lot of tension between Salem Town and Salem Village, and the girls would have felt it, even if they didn't understand it fully. Also, the book went into great detail about how the vast majority of accusers were related to this one family, who apparently had a feud-relationship with another family. So yeah, there's an explanation. Also, Danny said he heard that the girls were eating some kind of hallucinogenic plant that might have caused them to see weird visions and stuff.

    It seems pretty clear that there was no one "cause", which makes the whole thing so much harder to understand. Why did 19 people, who were most likely innocent, have to die? Even after reading about it, I still feel uneasy when I try to find an explanation. It's so...weird. I don't think it's a subject I would want to write a dissertation on, though; too dark, and too likely to have actually involved satanic practices. ::shiver::


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