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Thursday, 28 February 2008

Witchcraft And The Suspicion Of Witchery

Witchcraft And The Suspicion Of Witchery Cover

Book: Witchcraft And The Suspicion Of Witchery by Hippolyte Taine

If one restricts one’s horizon to the Danvers village near present-day Salem town, one can be led to the belief that what went wrong in the “Salem witchcraft” frenzy of 1692 had to do with traumatized little girls, acting out their traumas, or had to do with an ergot poisoning of the stomachs, and consequently the minds, of these villagers, or had to do with a sudden upsurge of foolish supernaturalism, or whatever positive and enabling factor. However, if one looks at the hanging-of-witches phenomenon across the scope of a century and across the breadth of New England –rather than focusing in myopically on this one year in this one village– one comes to appreciate the great generality of such a phenomenon, and these easy explanations in terms of mere enabling factors simply vanish.

This is not a story of foolish superstition, this is a story of capital punishment — had these marginal types, after being found guilty of maliciousness and witchcraft, been treated with courtesy and attended to, there would have been no outrageous stories to be remembered in later years.

Buy Hippolyte Taine's book: Witchcraft And The Suspicion Of Witchery

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