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Salem Witch Trials Essay

2249 words - 9 pages

Salem witch trials
Sabrina Armstrong
April 24, 2010
G.L. Beck

Salem witch trials: a drug induced hysteria

What happened in Salem in 1692? The people involved in the Salem witch trials were more than just names, dates and places; they were people with lives and families as well. The Salem witch trials started with three girls falling ill with mysterious symptoms that the doctors could not explain by medical science during that point in history. Many people still wonder today why the hysteria took place.
Some people believe that, the hysteria was a product of children’s self-delusions. Other people believe that while, the hysteria fueled the Salem ...view middle of the document...

Caporael and Matossian both have studied the temperature, the rainfall; and the crops that grew in areas in, which people found ergotism and they both discovered that a large proportion of witchcraft trials occurred in these same areas during that point in history when the grain grew there (Stefko, 2010, para 1-3).
People found a 2000-year-old man in a bog; that for some reason time preserved him completely because of the soil the people found him. He seemed like he died very recently. The scientists examined the stomach, intestines, and had tests done on their contents, which the scientists discovered that the man's last meal had been a kind of homemade soup made from seeds and vegetables. Barley was one of the ingredients that he digested contained large amounts of ergot fungus, which found on rotted rye. This proves that ergot did in fact exist at that in point in history when the witchcraft hysteria took place (Tollund man, 1989, para 6).
Before the Salem witch trials, there was another outbreak of witch hysteria. On November in 1589, Jane Throckmorton, fell ill with strange symptoms that the doctors could not explain, Jane accused Alice Samuel of being a witch. The Throckmorton family accused Alice’s husband and daughter of witchcraft as well. The bishop tried Alice and her family in 1593 on April 5 for witchcraft; they found them guilty and hanged them (Coventry, 2010, p. 17). The afflicted in this specific case ate from the same bakery, ate the same tainted bread, which people believe had ergot in it. In addition, during the Salem witch trials as evidence, the courts would give dogs the bread that the girls ate to see if they would act out in the same manner, which of course, they would because the bread had ergot in it.
The children who had been afflicted ate food from the same bakery, which had ergot in it. Only the people who ate from that bakery showed signs of affliction. These symptoms are the same, which people in the sixties claimed which; they suffered from when they had been on an LSD acid trip. People did not identify at the time that the symptoms were because of food poisoning.
Some of the signs that people experience are having trouble controlling their bodily functions. Other symptoms were causing his or her body to move nonstop with convulsions, and their eyes rolled in the back of their heads sometimes, while they were often unable to speak as well. At other times, their symptoms described as dizziness and confusion as well. In some extreme cases the whole body shakes as if by an unseen force was pulling his or her body off the ground. People have described feelings of intense warmth, or frozen, including itchy, and scratchiness feelings too. People believed that they had burning sensations on their skin and a thousand hands were pinching him or her and touching their entire body. People would suffer from delusions, panic attacks, and intense dehydration as well (“Ergot...

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