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Witches, Warlocks, and the Salem Witch Trial

Fear and lack of understanding can create social problems in the world. Especially when the fear may be unfounded, which can lead to paranoia. The issues of fear and paranoia has led to many world wide problems including the fear of communism in the 1950's, the fear of Japanese in the 1940's which led to Japanese-Americans being held in internment camps and the fear of AIDS which led to misunderstanding of gay people. The same can be said about the fear of the unknown and unexplained, which led to people in Colonial America blaming these actions on people that they believed to be witches. And, in 1692, one of the most unfortunate examples of paranoia appeared in the Salem Witch Trials.

In Colonial America, being accused of witchcraft was a serious crime. The year 1962 was a sad one in the history of Salem, Massachusetts. In this year, 20 people, 14 women and 6 men, were accused of being guilty of witchcraft, tried, convicted, and hung. The "evidence" presented in these trials was largely circumstantial. Birthmarks were often used to accuse people of witchcraft, and heresy, gossip, and stories were all allowed in court and accepted as fact. The accused had no protections found in modern court, and in most situations, simply the accusation of witchcraft was enough to send someone to the gallows. In general, the "outcasts" of the town were the ones tried and killed in these trials, with little chance to defend themselves.

The events surrounding the Salem Witch Trials provide us with a look at how we can make false assumptions, and hopefully we can avoid the mistakes of the past. To learn more about the trials and events of 1692, we have put together a listing of useful resources. Please feel free to review the information and feel free to share with others who can benefit from these resources and learn more about the supposed witches and warlocks of the Salem Witch Trials.