The Salem Witch Trials: A Reference Guide

October 30, 2020
The Salem Witch Trials: A Reference Guide

Part of the enduring fascination of the Salem witch trials isthe fact that, to date, no one theory has been able to fullyexplain the events that ravaged Salem in 1692. Countless causes,from ergot-infected rye to actual demonic possession, have beenoffered to explain why the accusations and erratic behavior ofseven village girls left hundreds accused, over 20 dead, and thetownspeople of eastern Massachusetts shaken. Through a multitude ofresources, this authoritative reference guide explores the SalemWitchcraft episode, including the religious and political climatein Puritan New England, and accessibly summarizes the majorinterpretations of, and reactions to, the events, from theseventeenth century until the present day. Biographical sketches ofeach person central to the events and including afflicted girls,victims, ministers, and magistrates and add a human element, andprimary document excerpts and including petitions, letters, andrevealing testimony and give a firsthand glimpse of the proceedingsin the players' own words. A chronology of events, a glossary ofterms, an annotated bibliography, and over 25 photos make this amust-have resource for students of American history, criminaljustice, gender issues, and culture.A must-have for any student of American history, this resourcegives a unique glimpse into the 17th century politics, religiousculture, and gender issues that created the Salem witchcraftepisode, and gives context to an impact that still resonates today,in everything from modern political life to popular culture.