The Salem Witch Trials

An analysis of the Salem witch trials in the 17th century.

This paper discusses the events of the Salem witch trials in Massachusetts in 1692. The paper presents physiological, psychological and sociological theories from various sources, which aim to provide a logical explanation of what happened during the Salem witch trials. The paper offers the opinion that the witch trials occurred as a result of a combination of these theories or perhaps a theory not yet thought of.
“The Salem witch trials were an atrocity in a period of American history. Several young girls, who had heard tales of the supernatural from a West Indian slave, claimed to be possessed by the devil and accused three women of witchcraft. Put in that position, the three women, in turn, named others in false confessions (Merriam-Webster 1416). This caused hysteria much like Joseph McCarthy caused in 1950 in his hunt for Communists. Unlike the McCarthy era, the penalty for “witches” was death. Anyone that behaved in a way that people couldn’t understand was subjected to scrutiny.”