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THE SALEM HYSTERIA Do you believe in witches Today this question might sound rather ridiculous but in the 1600s simply mentioning the word witch could get you in some serious trouble with the community This word could make you the center of contraversy which could ultimately result in death Are you a witch Are you communicating with the devil Why dont you confess How would you respond to these questions The obvious answer would be to say no but if you were respond this way you would be hung In my opinion the Salem Village wanted to believe that you were a witch Life in Salem was harsh with high taxes bad weather wars and the smallpox epidemic It was run under a theocratic system with no separation between church and state In other words there was no separation between the laws of God and the laws of the colony Life was tough and boring for the community of Salem and they wanted a change This is why I believe the Puritans were so anxious to find witches in their community The hysteria began in winter of 1692 when a young Puritan girl Betty Parris became strangely ill Betty was the daughter of the highly respected minister of Salem Samuel Parris She dove under furniture contorted in pain and complained of fever This could have been a result of a combination of things including guilt asthma stress child abuse epilepsy and delusional psychosis Betty and other young female Puritans began to experiment with witchcraft The girls were searching for signs of romance fortune and answers to the future They would search for these signs in such things as ashes egg whites and wax
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