Witch Hunt — one of the most shameful chapters in the history of mankind. Swept over several centuries in Europe witch processes claimed the lives of over a hundred thousand people. However, one of the bloodiest ship historians believe the events in Salem (USA, Massachusetts).
Witchcraft — a dangerous game
The tragic events in Salem began innocently. Betty, daughter of Reverend Parris nine, and his niece Abigail Williams, the long winter evenings were under the supervision of a black slave Tituba, exported from Barbados. She entertained the girls with tales of his homeland, magic, voodoo, and the colorful world is so fascinated by the girls that they wanted to apply the new knowledge into practice.
Together with other friends, they built a primitive crystal ball, dipping the egg in a glass of water, and attempted to predict the future. During these sessions, one of the young nymphs, a glimpse of the coffin, which meant a quick death, and after that innocent childish pranks began to take a different turn.
In January of 1692 at the Betty Parris began unexplained seizures, the girl was a long time to hide in dark corners, making strange noises, grimacing. Soon after these symptoms have appeared in other occult practices of young participants. In February, the victims appealed to the village doctor, William Griggs.
It will be remembered about the level of medicine at that time, unable to explain the strange behavior of children, the doctor diagnosed — bewitched. Measures have been proposed for the treatment of the corresponding: to get rid of the induced damage, it is necessary to catch and kill the witch, to blow it. From that moment was declared a witch hunt.
Culprits of disease found
Based on the testimony of girls who claimed to have been plagued by evil spirits, were signed arrest warrants for the first three victims: the most Tituba, Sarah Good urban beggar, and old Osborne. All three did not go to church, so I do not suspect them of witchcraft was impossible. What made the girls go to their games so far?
Irrepressible imagination of a child, Inflamed with colorful stories of Tituba, afraid to admit that all of these seizures, and vision — the usual pretense, or they have become tools in the capable hands of someone who decided to use the witch process to settle accounts with undesirable villagers?
We do not know, as well as not know what caused not only Tituba confess to witchcraft, but also give the other two women as his accomplice, members of a secret community of witches.
Since then, allegations began to grow like a snowball, visions of girls brought into the dock all the new defendants. Prior to sentencing they were languishing in Boston jail, shackled in chains.
In conclusion, began to fall not only the «antisocial elements» of the community, but also quite good church, as well as those who have had the courage to protest against this outrage: what happened to their spouses Proctor, openly disturbing happening. Dear resident of Salem, Rebecca Nurse, was arrested along with his four-year daughter, who is also accused of witchcraft, and it too was put in irons!
Authority of the «witch hunters» is growing
Further — more, went to jail a former Salem priest, the Rev. Barrafs. At one time he did not get to some parishioners and past conflicts are now turned against him.
Barrafsa presented as the leader of the most mysterious community of witches who tormented the surrounding population, bedevil and disease to domestic cattle have already been executed a number of «witches» and their «ringleader» caught, but it was impossible to stop the avalanche.
The success and public attention to girls circling their heads, they have been invited to identify witches in a nearby village. There, they encountered some difficulties: they could not name the accused by name, so look for the «witch» had methodically going around villages.
If the gate of the house the girls began writhing, it was considered tantamount to a sentence, the perpetrator immediately imprisoned and then brought into the courtroom, whose meetings were more like some crazy drama.
People are judged on the basis of visions of girls who have the appearance of the defendants began to beat in the seizures, which was considered proof of their guilt. Those who began to doubt the validity of such methods, waiting for a place close to the victims.
John Willard, who had previously participated in the arrests, was among the defendants, after a few refused to sign orders; Judge Saltonstall who had doubts about the objectivity of the methods of investigation, was also accused of witchcraft. But many fear the defendants signed the recognition and testified against their fellow-sufferers, thereby strengthening the credibility of even more girls.
Trials and executions
Before the hysteria subsided, were hanged in Salem, 19 out of 141, held in this case, two more died in prison, without waiting for the verdict. But the worst was the death of 80-year-old landowner Giles Corey, who refused to recognize the legitimacy of the court.
For resistance to the court sentenced him to a «strict and painful» death. He was brought to the Salem field, down to the ground, and crushed the top board on which the stones were put in an attempt to «squeeze out» of a confession. Soon from such trials in the language Cory fell from his mouth, but the sheriff, George Corwin stick shoved him back.
Giles Corey was a stubborn man, and all questions answered, the requirement to increase the load that the executioners and made up as long as the accident was not crushed to death. Such a death is considered a team prosecutrix is quite fair, they announced that Corey has agreed to sign the book of the devil in exchange for a promise that he never gets to the gallows. By this it appeared that the devil kept his word.
The end of this mass insanity put Governor Phips, after presumptuous girl accused of witchcraft, his wife. Decree of the Governor's Court was dissolved, and new members have already endured a acquittals.
Scientists have repeatedly examined the phenomenon of «Salem hysteria» in particular, and the witch hunt at all. At the same time put forward a variety of versions, ranging from continuing the practice of eradicating heresy in the bosom of the church and ending with the mass poisoning ergot — mold on cereals that causes hallucinations. But today, none of the explanations do not seem convincing enough.
Were there real witches in Salem? One of the episodes of the story evokes such a mystical mood. Before the execution and did not recognize Sarah Hood Noyes urged her to repent, to which she replied: «I am no more a witch than you are a clown, and if you deprive me of life, God will make you drink your own blood.»
These words were prophetic: Noyes died on 1717 from an internal hemorrhage, choking on his own blood…
If we assume that the witches devil incarnate, that much more suited to this role, the girls themselves. How could they come up with the idea to organize a massacre of villagers, not sparing even their own parents, among other defendants on trial were parents of Abigail Williams? And what adults think, obeying the instructions of children, in which the normal cost would be to doubt?
Unfortunately, the process-Salem is not the biggest, and certainly not the only mass blindness and aggressiveness, which are known to history.
How many more massacres will require people to learn to make appropriate water from the lessons you have given us a story?