Tuesday, July 31, 2018

Post 3: The Salem Witch Trials

The Salem Witch Trials have been referred to as one of the darkest blemishes in American history. The mass hysteria created by the events of the witch trials would be hard to envision in modern society. However, in the late 1600’s the falsity of claiming one’s neighbors to be practicing dark magic became almost commonplace. Innocent people were being hung, stoned, and burned at the stake due to these false accusations.
This was started when Abigail Williams and other young Puritan girls in Salem, Massachusetts started acting strange. They began pointing fingers at other townspeople claiming they had been practicing witchcraft- as was made famous in the book The Crucible. It is estimated that over 200 people were accused of witchcraft, and 20 were executed.
I can’t imagine any scenario where something like this would happen again for multiple reasons, but the largest reason is the change in our judicial system. In modern society people are considered innocent until proven guilty. They would have different rights such as the right to an attorney and a jury- not just a biased judge and an illiterate doctor determining one’s fate. Therefore any logical person in modern society would want significant proof before deciding if someone is guilty.
While 325 years may sound like a lot, in the grand scheme of time that is really not very much. It is crazy to imagine how this kind of hysteria happened only a few lifetimes ago.

1 comment:

  1. Ciera,
    Thank you for sharing your post and a very interesting video. The Salem witch trails were such a fascinating time to look back and reflect upon. The grim fates of the accused "witches" do represent a time when our justice system has failed us. To think that an American court system relied on the accusations of young women and their testimonies to determine if innocent people were to be hanged is striking. If there is nothing we should learn from these dark times, is that false memories is the power of the mind can have a lethal persuasion over people. What is even more striking to me is that the legal system still fails us to this day occasionally due to similar reasons as to how the witch trails occurred.Elizabeth Loftus recounted Titus's story in a modern day society. Despite all these years of growing as a society, humans still wrongfully convicted Titus off of a testimony of an individual's false memory. The young girls involved with the witch trails may be creative and their imagination's may have lead them to believe in a false memory that the saw some of these townsfolk being involved in witchcraft. Also, I wanted to note that I did visit Salem on a high school trip and visited the witch trail memorial and sites. It was wonderful experience and I recommend making the trip one day.

    -Kyle Payran