Download Salem Story: Reading the Witch Trials of 1692 by Bernard Rosenthal PDF

By Bernard Rosenthal

Salem tale engages the tale of the Salem witch trials via an research of the surviving fundamental documentation and juxtaposes that opposed to the way our tradition has mythologized the occasions of 1692. Salem tale examines various person reasons that converged to precipitate the witch hunt. The publication additionally examines next mythologies that emerged from the occasions of 1692. Of the various assumptions in regards to the Salem Witch Trials, the main continual one is still that they have been triggered via a circle of hysterical women. via an research of what truly occurred, via analyzing the first fabric, the rising tale indicates a distinct photograph, one the place "hysteria" inappropriately describes the occasions and the place accusing men in addition to adult females participated in concepts of accusation and confession that a logical, rational development.

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Extra resources for Salem Story: Reading the Witch Trials of 1692

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Although in Tituba's case no evidence supports suspicions of fabricated testimony, there is reason for questioning transcripts in some other instances. For example, Elizabeth Hubbard's testimony against Sarah Good is signed with Hubbard's mark (SWP II: 373), which turns out to be different from the mark given by her in her testimony against Susannah Martin (SWP II: 575). Since people customarily had their own mark, the discrepancy is significant in suggesting that she may not have confirmed the testimony recorded in her name.

Such close private witnesses, added to the public witnesses, significantly reduce the possibility that another person was putting pins in Ann without her knowledge of who was doing it. Assuming for the moment that Ann's mental state was so distraught that she put pins in herself without realizing what she was doing, we have a case of a hysterical girl inflicting self-punishment without the awareness that she was her own tormentor. The problem with this hypothesis is that it does not square with Ann's confession: She knew she had done something wrong, and she blamed the devil.

Her answers were well measured in response to the questions asked of her in a room containing hostile magistrates, screaming people claiming to be afflicted, and a crowd of villagers watching the event unfold. What should reasonable men make of such a tale in 1692? Hathorne and Corwin heard Tituba's story at a time when claims of supernatural powers for witches was a contested issue. Fifteen years earlier, John Webster in England had written a devastating critique of supposed witchcraft activity,32 and in 1692 ShadwelTs The Lancashire Witches had been produced in England.

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