On Witches and Witch Hunts

On Thursday (2/8), you are going to be reading about the witch hunts that exploded in Europe and America during the Early Modern period. These were officially-sanctioned searches, inquisitions, and trials of individuals (mostly women) who were quite literally accused of being witches. According to Webster’s Dictionary, a witch hunt is “a searching out for persecution of those accused of witchcraft.” Key to this definition is the implication that those who were accused were, in turn, persecuted – typically because the accused were generally assumed to be guilty in such cases. Since the time of these historical witch hunts, the phrase has taken on a slightly different connotation in colloquial English usage. The dictionary also defines witch hunt as “the searching out and deliberate harassment of those (such as political opponents) with unpopular views.” For this blogpost, we are going to try something a little different, by having you work with our assigned sources about real-life witch hunts and then seeking to connect them to some modern-day “witch hunt” (in the non-literal sense of the term implied by Webster’s second definition).

In your post, then, I’d like you to draw out an interesting idea, a statement, or a quotation from your assigned sources on witch trials for Thursday. Explain why you think that notion is important to the understanding of the persecution of witches, who are some of the most famous human “monsters” of all time. Then, I’d like you to use/apply your chosen idea to some twenty-first century “witch hunt” that you know about, whether it involves a controversial politician, a fallen celebrity, or something from your own experience. The idea here is to carefully consider some of the ideologies and “group thinking” that defines witch hunts, and to connect the real-life inquisitions of the Early Modern period to certain closed-minded events and activities from our own day.

40 thoughts on “On Witches and Witch Hunts

  1. Witches have been around for a very long time. The Salem Witch trials are a very known part of history. I’ve read the novel The Crucible, which is a partially dramatized version of the witch trials. More than 200 people were accused of being witches, and 20 were executed in colonial Massachusetts. During this time there was no separation of the church and state, which is very important to these trials. The quote from a “Brief History of the Salem Witch trials” by Jess Blumberg says some important things about the persecution of these “witches”. Before the trials the two young girls were throwing fits and the doctor claimed that it was the supernatural activity. “The girls blamed three women for afflicting them: Tituba, the Parris’ Caribbean slave; Sarah Good, a homeless beggar; and Sarah Osborne, an elderly impoverished woman.” These women were interrogated for days and this was all because two children put the blame on them. These women who were persecuted for being “witches” just on the notion that someone pointed the finger at them. Tituba is a very known witch from Salem. She was a slave and confessed that the devil came to her and also dragged down both Sarahs for practicing witchcraft with her, but she later got released. After this, the accusations and trials kept coming and coming.

    Many people do not like Donald Trump as a man nor a president. He continually does things that many think is insane and unjust. In this case the witch hunt would be similar to Trump, he is trying to kick people out of the U.S. and trying to create ridiculous foreign policy laws. Trump is just like the two young girls that were accusing the women in the Salem Witch trials. He tends to try and put the blame on everyone else, and even describes other countries as “shit holes”, even though he got some people to recant him saying that so he does not look even worse to the public than he already does. He continually puts the blame on everyone else, and describes how perfect of a person he is, and how good of a job he is doing as our president. It is clearly unfair just like many of the trials, because if Obama was doing half of what Trump is he would have already been impeached. The witch hunt and the trials really connect with our president. He is hunting for innocent people that he believes to be bad, and gets to accuse others of being the problem.

  2. One interesting part was in chapter four, demonology: ideology of terror. It talked about how the man was burned by fire and the answer to that was witchcraft. “The belief in witchcraft represents a theory of causation that applies only to specific situations and under particular circumstance”. I thought this was interesting because when it relates to the other article on the witch hunts in India and how certain women were accused of witchcraft if a man becomes ill or if livestock have diseases. In the Salem witch trials, women were accused of being witches because they might have been viewed as not “normal” but in the above quote and the article about India, women were accused of witchcraft due to natural circumstances. People want someone else to blame for the problems that happen, so when livestock die because of disease instead of saying it was natural causes they blame witchcraft.
    Today, some people say that it was a “witch hunt” against the politicians who were accused of sexual harassment. Many females came out against politicians such as Al Franken for sexual misconduct and then he later resigned. Some say that it was a witch hunt against politicians and the media made sure that this news was covered, possibly making it worse. it could be viewed as a witch hunt because not every politician has admitted to the claims, so it may seem that the women are trying to gain something from speaking out. “The causation only applies to specific situations and under particular circumstance” the women spoke out on a specific situation and since politicians are well known, it caused certain issues for the American people and the government.

  3. The witch-trials that occured in Europe and America in the early Modern period are extremely well-known and notorious. Even though the trials created such hysteria and chaos back in time, as a society, we luckily now know how ridiculous those assertions were. In current times, we study that dark part of history and do our best to try and wrap our minds around what exactly happened. In my findings, I thought that it was really interesting how women who were known as “devout christians” and who attended church as often as any man were accused of witchcraft. The Sidky text even states that “to conceal their errors” [women] “of the sect are regular in attendance at mass, confess often, and frequently take communion” (107). Then the text goes on to explain how the church back in those times would ask “is Anna a good repute or bad repute?” (108) but shockingly, either way, good or bad, she was a witch. Learning all of this really boggles my mind. I knew women in the early modern period were accused of witchcraft left and right, but I never fully understood the severity and stupidity of their reasonings. With this in mind, having this knowledge is useful in understanding the persecution of “witches” because it shows just how much of a limb everyone went off on to try and accuse women of witchcraft. No matter what a woman did, right or wrong, she was automatically a witch.
    Over time, we as a society realized how absurd the witch-trials were and just how little evidence people had when they pointed their fingers at “witches”. Even though America and Europe stopped the literal witch-hunts, figurative witch-hunts happen daily. For example, when Donald Trump was running for presidency, he often pointed his fascist finger at immigrants and people of color to blame them for “ruining America”(which he still does). He used them as scapegoats in order to win the common [white] American over and he eventually popularized the term “Make America Great Again”, which implied that he would throw out immigrants/non-white individuals. In my opinion, Donald Trump’s actions reflect heavily on the early modern witch-trials. In both instances, a group of people were used as scapegoats, criminalized, and had fingers pointed at them from those around them, eventually leading to the groups’ demonization. All in all, it is amazing to see how history truly repeats itself, especially in regards to witch-trials.

  4. Chapter Four of Demonology: Ideology of Terror states, “Evans-Pritchard’s study has, in addition, revealed that witchcraft accusations are not random, but arise where there are ill-feelings between an accuser and an accused.” Basically, any person who did not like someone else could just accuse them of being a witch and the supposed “witch” would be then punished. It talks about how absurd the judgments were when deciding if one was a witch. When being questioned, if asked if they were frightened and they said yes they were considered to be a witch. If they said no, then they were also considered to be a witch because witches always portray themselves as being innocent. It is crazy that literally, any one could accuse someone of being a witch and they would be condemned for it no matter how they answered the questions. The dictionary states that witchcraft is “deliberate harassment of those with unpopular views” but the quote I mentioned from the article is basically saying that as well. For instance, someone could say someone else is a witch just because they didn’t agree with something they said. It all stems from having some kind of problem with someone else.
    An example of a “witch hunt” in this century would probably be how the people who hate Trump blame him for everything and automatically hate everything he does, just because it’s him. I have heard Trump haters deliberately making Trump supporters feel bad just because supporters do not agree with their opinions. It makes me think that if all this was happening during the witch trials that anyone who supported Trump would be accused of being a witch just because others do not agree. I read in another article from Reference.com that a witch hunt is, “in political terms it is a situation where someone is “hunted” through being discredited and made to look ‘evil.’” I see people all the time comparing Trump to Hitler. I am not really for Trump either, but to compare President Trump to someone who killed thousands and thousands of innocent people is just completely unbelievable. Also just to show that people will automatically hate him for anything, one of his people went to a college in New York and asked everyone what they thought of his State of the Union speech and everyone went off about it, meanwhile it hadn’t even happened yet. To turn everything back around to the quote from the Demonology article, all accusations stem from negative feelings towards one another and are not random at all.

  5. • The quote that I have chosen to use in the explanation of understanding the persecution of witches is from Young Goodman Brown. In line 9, as Brown was leaving his home and saying goodbye and goodnight to his wife he said to himself: “What if the Devil himself should be at my very elbow!” I found this interesting because in this time people were fixated on the idea that every woman who acted “differently” in any way, shape or form was to be considered a witch and punished for it. They believed that this horror was constantly lurking around and that no matter what time or the day it was they were to be hunted and sent to trial. In the other readings it goes into detail about how the devil himself was the one who poisoned these women and made them into witched, and how men would do anything in their power to get an answer that they wanted to hear out of the women. I believe this notion was so important because I feel like people weren’t afraid of “witches” until someone was claimed to be one, and once that happened they would do whatever it takes to get that person to agree. But the finger was always pointed on someone else, kind of like word of mouth. But once that word of mouth got to their loved one then witches were claimed to be not real and the accusations were false, like the governor and the accusations against his wife. He was very adamant on prosecuting and arresting the homeless bagger and impoverished woman but once the accusations were turned to his wife he stopped all arrests and apologized for his actions. It just goes to show how much the people of Salem were lacking on truth and fact of witches.
    • The statement that I chose can be compared with the idea that all cops are cruel and heartless and not out to save the city, but only to shoot and “get rid of what they do not want.” Granted, there are terrible people in this world in all shapes and sizes, hiding behind masks or uniforms and putting on a show for people until they get tired of it. But it goes back to the old saying “you can’t judge a book by its cover” one bad thing happens because of a bad person in a uniform and now the United States perceives cops as bad people when they are there to serve and protect their city, state and country for the greater good of this generations and the generations to come. People now a day think just the way Goodman did with the idea that the devil is hiding under his elbow. They have been scared away from those who are there to protect them and now they are confused and do not know where to run to for help. The accusations against cops and witches are similar because they all look the same (women/in uniform) and are threated and accused of something and end up acting in a way they normally wouldn’t because of the torture and harassment placed on them all while being shoved into a corner with no way out. These concepts seem foreign, but in reality if you break it down they are very similar.

  6. Something interesting that I took away from the readings was the Salem witch trials in general. It simply astounded me that so many were executed and thrown in jail over the blame being shifted. Abigail Williams and Ann Putnam threw the blame of their outbursts on three women, all who were thrown into jail. This seemed to cause a worldwide epidemic. 200 people were accused of practicing witchcraft and convicted. The most interesting part to me was Linnda Caporael’s explanation of what happened. She discovered that the symptoms the girls suffered were symptoms that came from eating fungus ergot. People instantly assumed there was some kind of evil magic going on around them (witchcraft) when in reality it was just a severe case of food poisoning.
    A lot of people these days talk about Donald Trump and all the sexual assault reports that have been made. In certain ways, these can be connected to the “witch hunt” or “witch trails”. Much like Abigail and Ann, Donald Trump loves to shift the blame onto other people. Unless you are a white American male, you’re practically demonized by the man. He is constantly bashing those from other countries, and talking down to women. When it comes to the sexual harassment accusations, many women stood up for themselves and spoke up about incidents with either politicians, Hollywood actors, or Hollywood directors/crew members. Many of the accused men have denied these statements which only causes the media to talk more about it. Some people view these cases as lies or attempts at money. They make it seem like the woman is trying to get something out of the situation rather than speaking the truth. This can be related back to the article about women in India being accused of witchcraft. Drunken villagers use to identify a “witch” and they were killed on the spot. Villagers thought there was a dark motive behind the reasons why someone was sick or livestock were dying. Instead of listening and believing in the truth, they made assumptions about the women and unfortunately there wasn’t much the women could do about it

  7. From the time you are in middle school, you are taught about the series of hearings and prosecutions of people, over 70% being women, accused of dwindling in witchcraft in colonial Massachusetts, during the Early Modern years. These trials were known as the Salem Witch Trials. This topic has always been intriguing to me, because of the system and formation used to identify who was truly a witch in hiding. Some suspects were bound and put into a “holy” body of cold water. If they sank, they were deemed innocent and pulled out. If they floated, they were considered witches and executed on the spot or handed over to be tried. Other suspects were weighed because it was thought that witches had little or no weight. One statement that I found interesting was this: “On October 3, following in his son’s footsteps, Increase Mather, then president of Harvard, denounced the use of spectral evidence: “It were better that ten suspected witches should escape than one innocent person be condemned.” “. This was interesting to me because I never fully knew how the end of the witch hunts subsided.
    An experience from my own personal life reminds me of one of my favorite thriller movies, Red Riding Hood. The plot is based around townspeople living in fear of a dark and menacing werewolf that prowls the mysterious forest surrounding the village. For years, people gave monthly sacrifices to the wolf; however, the rise of the blood moon has caused the wolf to take a human life. Scared and defenseless, the towns people called in a famed werewolf hunter to help them slay the beast. Because the wolf can take form of any human by day, the hunter is forced to put anyone suspected of witchcraft through a trial of test to see if they were willing to reveal their identity.
    Another everyday experience would be the simple form of bullying. The simple act of innocent until proven guilty plays a part in the witch hunts. For example, some one being labeled a hurtful name by a group of people, and can not redeem their reputation. They are considered outcast and shunned by the rest of the crowd, just as the women who trialed as witches.

  8. The hearings of the witch trials at that time were all due to religious beliefs. Anyone could be accused of witchcraft and sent to the leaders of the community for trial. The community believed that getting rid of that person would benefit all and god would rejoice in their decision. The problem is that there was defense in the accusations that was put on the so called ” witch” and death was the only way of making a wrong a wright.

    God would now make things better for the community and everyone would rejoice in his praise.

  9. These articles on witches were all very interesting, and can still be compared to some “modern witch hunts” of today. The article that was most interesting to me (or at least had the most information to draw from) was the Sidky chapter. The first quote I found particularly relevant was (not verbatim) that they would ask the accused if they were scared and if they responded with yes, that meant they were a witch. Obviously, if you were accused of something as horrendous as witchcraft, that carries a penalty of torture and death, anyone would be scared. However, there is no correct answer to this question. Similarly, the author discusses how if a woman was at church too often that meant she was a witch because they try their best to blend in, however if she did not go to mass that also meant she was a witch who was plagued by Satan. These points are interesting to me because it shows that no matter what you did, they would find a way to justify that as being the wrong answer.
    A comparison that I can think of today could be some of the really radical feminism that exists today. Of course, I am all for traditional feminism, and putting men and women on an equal field. I also believe that there may still be legitimate feminist problems that still need to be addressed. Where I do seem to find the problem, which I am relating to witchcraft in this assignment, is the radical internet feminists who are out to get men regardless of what they do. For example, if a man on the news shakes a woman’s hand in greeting, he could be accused of being a misogynistic pig because it is rude shake a woman’s hand like that. They could also say that he touched her hand in some kind of sexual manner, and then they can consider it harassment. On the other hand(no pun intended), if the same scenario happens again but this time he does not shake her hand, it’s bad news for that guy again. Now the radical feminists can say he hates women and that’s why he did not shake her hand. They could also say, “look he shakes men’s hands and greets them, but he won’t shake her hand, he’s sexist!” The point I’m trying to make here is that, similar to my first paragraph, there is no correct answer. When people are out to get you, you may have very little ability to change the outcome of your accusal.

  10. Witch trials have existed since early times in human civilization. One of the most well-known witch trials would be, The Salem Witch Trials of Salem, Massachusetts. The Crucible is a novel that shows cases a dramatized version of the Salem Witch Trials. During the time this witch trial was taking place, government and religion were intertwined. Two younger girls thought it would be a good idea to blame their unholiness on a supernatural power. The girls would accuse people they had problems with or did not like of being witches, and then acting as if they were possessed to prove their point. Back in this time there was a lack of medical knowledge, so doctors blamed a supernatural power for possessing the girls when they seemed perfectly healthy and normal except for their fits. Of course, a witch would never admit to being a witch, so they were put on trial to determine if they were truly a witch or not. However, these tests typically resulted in death and were impossible to pass, leading everyone to believe those put on trial were witches just as they had been accused. Over 200 people were accused of witchcraft, with 20 executions taking place in Massachusetts.
    A current day witch hunt could be compared to President Donald Trump and his supporters. Trump is often called just about every label in the book, a racist, xenophobic, homophobic, sexist, fascist, bigot, etc. However, many people still support President Trump due to the fact that he promises to put Americans first. Those who are not supporters of Trump like to accuse all his supporters of being racist, xenophobic, homophobic, sexist, bigot’s, just because they like Donald Trump more than the other candidates. Those same people that accuse Trump supporters of those horrible labels also do not support anything Trump does just because it is Trump. With over 11 million undocumented immigrants in the United States it is necessary to temporary slow immigration to validate the immigrants currently in the country before allowing more to enter. However, those leading the witch hunt will not focus on the fact that America’s immigration system is broken, taking between 10-15 years to become a citizen legally, it is almost impossible to become an American citizen without breaking laws which need to be reformed. Trump’s campaign slogan “Make America Great Again” simply means to make America a great top leading country like it used to be. The non-supporters will try to push their own agenda off on the slogan by trying to twist it to imply that America is getting rid of all immigrants.

  11. The Salem Witch trials were a very interesting and brutal moment in history. It was a time when tens of thousands of women were executed because they had been suspected of witchcraft. It always felt as though no matter what these women had to say in defense, they were always prosecuted anyways. When reading through Sidky “Demonology: Ideology of Terror”, one passage in particular stuck out to me in relation to the convicted women always being in the wrong. On page 109, Sidky writes, “The council consult together. Is Anna in good or bad repute? If bad, she is a witch; if in good, she is undoubtedly a witch, for witches always seek to be well thought of. She is arrested; they ask if she is frightened or not; if yes, she is a witch; if not, she is certainly a witch…” I think it’s really interesting how no one even noticed how asinine these rules were for catching witches, and I couldn’t even begin to imagine what it would’ve been like to be in their shoes. As soon as you’re convicted you know you’re a goner, or if you wanted someone gone you could just convict them knowing they’ll never be able to escape either.

    The last time I heard the term witch hunt used in the news was when Woody Allen had commented on the Weinstein scandal as being a “witch hunt”, which, if I could be so bold, it most definitely is not. Witch hunts were about women being tried for witchcraft and subsequently killed without much chance to defend themselves. The Weinstein, and most recently the #MeToo movement, are about sexual predators being outed as sexual predators, and then maybe losing their careers until they make a comeback years later and everyone miraculously forgets the past (we’re looking at you, Gibson). To quote the New York Times article “Yes, This Is a Witch Hunt. I’m a Witch and I’m Hunting You.”, author Lindy West says, “When Allen and other men warn of “a witch hunt atmosphere, a Salem atmosphere” what they mean is an atmosphere in which they’re expected to comport themselves with the care, consideration and fear of consequences that the rest of us call basic professionalism and respect for shared humanity.” It’s not a fear of people being wrongly accused, it’s a fear of being exposed and consequently having to actually behave correctly. Labeling it a witch hunt also makes the accused out to be the victim since they’re being “hunted”, and so in situations like these, the word gets thrown around almost in order to confuse readers to make them feel sympathy for a criminal.

  12. I learned about witch trials back in high school and probably gained information through reading a book called “The Crucible” , a novel that shows cases a dramatized version of the Salem Witch Trials. I remembered that In the Salem witch trials, women were accused of being witches because they might have been viewed as not “normal”. This seemed to cause a worldwide epidemic. I find that it was very upsetting to hear that some women from the Salem Which trial readings were executed for nothing in most cases. It was even more appalling for me to read about the “witches” in india were labeled for either causing an outbreak of disease. . Amidst such conditions, drunken villagers impulsively identify a “witch,” usually killed on the spot.
    Like myself and many others, I am not fond of our president. He is failing at doing his job correctly and professionally. But in the case that we need to relate him to a modern day which hunt it can be related to the fact that he deemed immigrants a criminals, drug dealers, and bad people that do not deserve a place in this country. Well he is wrong for kicking them out of a place that used to be a place for people to come to for freedom and a better life. Donald Trump’s actions reflect heavily on the early modern witch-trials.

  13. – The most interesting excerpt I found in this ‘Witch’ section was the statement made about Bridget Bishop in the Salem Witch Trials article, as far as I understood her only “crimes” were gossiping and promiscuity. This is absolutely outrageous that this classified her as a witch, when in reality she was most likely a lonely old woman who found comfort in strangers and their business. She was eventually hanged for her actions. The worst part of this is that as soon as Governor Phipps wife was accused of being a witch he took action to prohibit any further arrests. So many lives were lost because of absolute nonsense, labeling a woman as a “Witch” appeared to be a scapegoat to punish women for things that men simply did not approve of. Today sexuality is widely celebrated in the United States and accepted in all shapes and sizes.
    – I found a serial killer that I’d never heard of prior to this assignment that perfectly fits the label “Monster”. His name was Tsutomu Miyazaki and he was found guilty for murdering four girls ages ranging from 4-7, and sexually molested their corpses, he also drank the blood of one of the victims and ate a part of her hand.
    – For a modern day witch hunt, the best example I could think of is the Clinton–Lewinsky scandal. The news first broke on January 17, 1998 of the sex scandal claims. On January 27, President Clinton spoke at the White House press conference and denied the allegations. With months of investigating and ultimately Clinton’s DNA found on her jacket he was caught in his lie to the American people in late August of that year. The connection between the two is sexual misconduct in the opinion of the people however Clinton got off much easier than Bridget Bishop. It’s interesting how time changes the opinion of people and what is accepted. Men in power during Bishops time almost always had mistresses and it was accepted, now you get kicked out of office.

  14. Chapter 4, demonology: ideology of terror had an interesting part. “The belief in witchcraft represents a theory of causation that applies only to specific situations and under particular circumstances.”In this chapter they talked about how witches were burned by fire. When they relate to the other article about witch hunts in India they say that there someone i accused of witchcraft if a man falls ill or livestock have diseases. This is interesting because in the Salem Witch Trials, women were accused of being witches because they did not fit in with the rest of us. It is interesting how they accused people of being witches because of things that are bound to happen no matter what, people and animals get sick.

    A witch hunt today involves Donald Trump. Donald Trump always tries to put the blame on someone else such as Abigail and Ann in the “witch trials” or “witch hunt.” If you are not exactly how he sees an American than to him you are not an American. He constantly bashes on other countries saying how they are shit holes just because they’re not like America. He is a very unfair person because if you don’t conform to his opinions than he will deport you. That is simply not fair just as most of the witch trials were not fair. Our president is on a witch hunt for people that do not conform to his definition of an American and it is a problem.

  15. In today’s blog post we are learning all about witches. Witches have been around for centuries now not knowing if they are really real or actually fake. One of the most well known witch trials would have to be the Salem trials. As most people know there have been countless movies made about this or around this issue. During the biggest era of the witch trials more than 200 (women) were accused and 20 of them were actually executed in colonial Massachusetts. The website that was the most interesting would be the “Brief History of the Salem Witch Trials” by Jess Blumberg. This website gave you more of an insight on the trials that went on during these trials. In January of 1692 two girls started having “fits” making the parents worry and end up taking them to the doctor. When a third little girl came in with the same issues the doctor went to the most illogical idea ever; Supernatural activity. The young girls began to blame these “fits” on three women: Tituba, the Parris’ Caribbean slave; Sarah Good, a homeless beggar; and Sarah Osborne, an elderly impoverished woman. These women were tried only because these young girls told someone they thought they were witches and that’s why they would have unexplainable fits. Being persecuted as witches these women never had the best life. Tituba being the most well known witch; began her life as a slave being said to have had the devil come to her and drag her and both Sarah’s down with him to practice witchcraft. Later on, having these women released the witch trials didn’t end from there. They had only just begun.
    Many people especially in today’s society would say that President Donald Trump would be the most fitting to be in the witch trials. Almost anything this man does or says it either comes out the wrong way or it is extremely disrespectful towards other races or genders. This man wants to kick out immigrants from the U.S and build a wall so they will not be able to get in. Trump reminds me of the three young girls from the story. He tells people want they want to hear and lie about other things to make the story be blown out of proportion. This man puts the blame on everyone else as well as trying to boost himself up. Always saying how much of a good person he is and how much he has helped our country when in reality he is tearing this whole country apart. Trump relates to the witch trials because before he puts the blame on himself he will blame others. Putting others down and trying to hunt the “bad” people. Looking at it from most others points of view he is the bad this country needs to change.

  16. The witch hunts in the 1600’s began because they believed that people were going against the church and were practicing witchcraft. These people were put through trials because the things they did were considered to be devilish. You can find a relation of religion and these witch trials from back them and you can also see it in the modern “witch trials” of today and throughout history. This is why the quote “Several centuries ago, many practicing Christians, and those of other religions, had a strong belief that the Devil could give certain people known as witches the power to harm others in return for their loyalty” interested me into talking about other witch trials that are religion based.
    During World War II, the Nazis finding the Jews and trying to kill them all of because they believed they were the reason for Germany’s economic demise. Although this wasn’t a quick trial like the Salem witch trials, but a similarity between the two is that they would work them until they could find them doing something wrong and then kill them. Just like in the trials if they failed a test (that was nearly impossible to pass anyway), they would kill them. This is also related in the sense that Hitler killed the Jews to protect his “Aryan race” where the Christians killed the witches to protect themselves from the devil’s work. Although this isn’t completely modern, it is still a significant even in history that relates in ways.

  17. I found interesting the paradoxical nature of witch hunts. At one point they note that when interrogating a witch they ask if she is scared. If she says yes she is a witch and if no then she is lying and a witch. Another was if a women didn’t go to church then she could be a witch and if she went to church to much then she’s trying to fool people and could be a witch.
    This just goes to show the nature of witch hunts. Normally a person is innocent until proven guilty. In a witch hunt they are guilty until proven innocent, with any evidence to innocence considered irrelevant. An modern day example is Trump. If something good happens in his presidency it’s because of Obama’s time in office. If something bad happens it’s because of Trump’s time in the office

  18. The articles I read on witches was very interesting, but the article that sticks out to me the most was Demonology: Ideology of Terror.” While reading the article, the most interesting quote was, “If bad, she is a witch; if in good, she is undoubtedfully a witch, for witches always seek to be well thought of” (p.108). This was interesting to me because no matter what a “witch” said, people always thought of them as a witch no matter what they did or said to defend themselves. No matter what a witch said or did, once she was labelled a witch that is what she was categorized as.
    A twenty-first century “witch hunt” is Donald Trump. Trump to me is a person that likes to distinguish people by their cultural background rather than who they really are. In the case of illegal immigrants, he thinks of them as “bad” people and in his opinion, do not belong in America and should be deported. Just like people did to witches, they would torture them and categorize them to de different from other people.

  19. Witch trials were a major phenomenon in the early modern period. People believed that others were legitimately practicing witchcraft. The Salem witch trials are a very popular event in time—sadly. Over the course of two years over 200 people were accused and 20 people were put to death. One thing that surprises me is that it all started from the Reverend’s nine-year-old daughter and eleven-year-old niece having “fits” in which they would scream and produce sounds unknown amongst others, throw things, and contort themselves in strange positions. A local doctor blamed it on the supernatural. After blaming three women for their odd behavior and accusing them of practicing witchcraft, many people started to speak out about others for being witches. No matter their defense, they were all found guilty. It was all word of mouth and if you were said to be going against the church and practicing witchcraft—or the devil’s word—you were automatically seen as a witch.
    A similar modern-day situation would be all of the accusations of sexual assault rising among celebrities and others in the entertainment field. It is immoral to wrongfully accuse someone of this act—making this a very serious matter that should not be overlooked. As soon as one person spoke out about their experience, many others finally felt they had a platform to come forth about their experiences as well. Although this “witch hunt” may have more accuracy than people practicing witchcraft, it is similar in the fact that many people are starting to come forth and bring light onto this act and the situation their abusers have put them in.

  20. Todays blog was centered around witches. We read about the history of the Salem witch trials to the modern witch trials that are still happening in India. These trials happened because during a highly religious time any behavior out of the ordinary was determined to have come from the devil. Of course the devil couldn’t do it on his own so he had help from people who sold their soul who were known as witches (mostly women). Out of all the readings one line from “A Brief History of The Salem Witch Trails” stood out to me and that was “ With the seed of paranoia planted, a stream of accusations followed for the next few months.” This line stuck out because no one really believed that any of these people were witches but since they were scared of the unknown things that were happening to people they blamed it on a witch. This fear caused 200 people to be arrested and 20 to be killed.
    In our lives today that line can apply to the fact that we hear a lot about people who immigrate illegally (mostly from Mexico) are committing crimes and stealing jobs. Some of the statement that have been made about immigrants have caused panic within the American population because they want to be protected and want to make sure that they are able to provide for their family. I would consider this a witch hunt because there is no real threat to the Americans but just the statements have scared large groups of people so now there is panic among hard workers who are concerned about how they are going to be able to pay for their homes and put their children through college. It is better to push off the problems off on a scapegoat and for the American government it is illegal immigrants. I think that it has the same rules as a witch hunt because its not really backed up in fact and it effects lots of people without really having a reason to vilify them.

  21. I found an interesting idea in the Smithsonian article about the history of the Salem Witch Trials. In the 5th paragraph of the article, it states that Reverend Parris daughter Elizabeth and niece Abigail. Started to have these fits where they screamed, started throwing things and would be in strange body positions. When I saw and read about it, I started thinking about Arthur Miller’s The Crucible. Where in the book it’s sort of the same thing of what the two girls did. But Abigail only did it cause she had an affair with John Proctor, in which John regretted immediately. But Abigail fell in love with John and John didn’t feel the same way about her. So when he told her, she went on a rampage and told everyone that John’s wife is a witch and used her witchcraft on Abigail. John tried to help his wife clear her name but Abigail kept faking that she been hit by Witchcraft. So these two girls were playing off having these witchcraft symptoms the whole time. Which is actually pretty sad because a lot of women, children and some men lost their lives over the witch hunts. And they didn’t even do anything that involved witchcraft and hurting people. That’s why during this time period, when something happened that someone couldn’t explain they just blamed it on witchcraft. Also having people pretending that they got hit by witchcraft didn’t make things any better. If people in Salem didn’t pretend to have these effects for attention, then they could have saved a lot of lives and maybe the Witch Trials wouldn’t have happened.

    How the two girls pretending to be hit by witchcraft, would relate to a twentieth first century is when athletes flop. Also when things don’t go their way and they cry about it. The whole athlete flopping thing relates to the two girls. Because when an soccer or basketball player flops, they are pretending that there opponent hit them hard and they end up on the ground looking like to be in serious pain. They do these things so that they can draw a foul in basketball or an yellow or red card in soccer. Just like Elizabeth and Abigail pretending with the witchcraft thing, athletes fake an injury so that the person who hit them get punished. Another thing is Elizabeth and Abigail did all this pretending stuff just to get some attention. Just like some athletes do today when certain games don’t go their way they start to cry about it. Because they think everything revolves around them and that they are gonna get every call in their favor. Like for example Lebron James is a really great basketball player. But he whines every time when the game is on the line and he doesn’t get that one call at the end of it. That could have possibly won them the game. Tom Brady does the same exact thing, cause since he thinks he is perfect and the best quarterback in the NFL. That the referees are going to call everything in his favor, because he is Tom Brady. So Elizabeth and Abigail are connected to athletes who flop and are cry babies. Because they both wanted all the attention on them and they both faked an injury or being hit by witchcraft.

  22. The Salem witch trials was a time in American history in which neighbor turned against neighbor throwing around baseless accusations of witchcraft. Due to this, nineteen women and one man were executed while many others died in jail. Many have speculated, and in fact, there are some accepted reasons, as to why this happened. One such reason is fear. The article “A Brief History of the Salem Witch Trials” by Jess Blumberg not only offers a history lesson but also gives possible reasoning as to why the town was gripped by paranoia. In addition to fear Blumberg suggests that the influx of people into Salem as a result of King William’s War. The differencing of opinions is as well as mounting tensions is what contributed to the witch trials. Blumberg also brings up Arthur Miller’s play The Crucible which is set during the Salem witch trials but is commonly excepted as a parable for McCarthyism. For those who do not know McCarthyism, named after Senator Joseph McCarthy, refers to the practice of accusing people of treason without evidence. Another connection between what happened in the witch trials and what happened nearly three hundred years later. Today the beginnings of another “witch hunt” can be seen with regards to our current president and his comment made about immigrants; particularly his comments made in regards to the Latino population.
    During his campaign, President Trump made multiple false assertions about the Latino population living in America. He has accused them of ruining the economy and well as saying that these men are all criminals and rapist. All of these statements have no basis in fact. For most of these statements the opposite is true; the Latino population, either legal or illegal, help the economy more than harm it. Additionally, the majority of the immigrants living in America are law abiding citizens. While yes there are those of central American decent that are criminals the same can be said for any group of people. The criminal actions of a few cannot be held against the group as a whole. It is this thinking along with the comments made by President Trump that could lead America to another witch hunt or red scare.

  23. Witch-hunts in Salem began in 17th century Massachusetts when a few girls began acting strangely. The local doctors blamed the supernatural. Then the girls blamed three women for inflicting the strange behavior upon them. One of the women confessed that the devil came to her and forced her to serve him. This was the start of the citizens paranoia. In the Brief History of the Salem Witch Trials, the author states that “…the story of the trials has become synonymous with paranoia and injustice, and it continues to beguile the popular imagination more than 300 years later.” This quote helps us to understand the trials and the time period because it shows what society was like. The things they could not explain were just blamed on the supernatural when really, now we know that it was most likely due to their living conditions. The Brief History of the Salem Witch Trials explains that in the 20th century scientists discovered that the effects of fungus ergot is most likely what caused the accused witches to act peculiarly. Because of the paranoia, the colonists did not know what the witches were capable of and were scared they could do something much worse, so they persecuted them to keep them away. Many witches were also killed despite pleading “not guilty”. The paranoia led to the accusal, persecution and death of over 200 people. In addition to “supernatural behavior” they also viewed promiscuity as witch craft as well.
    Since Webster defines a witch hunt as “the searching out and deliberate harassment of those (such as political opponents) with unpopular views”, we can make the connection to the current President’s repeated accusations of certain news sources of reporting “fake news” when they publish something negative about him. A lot of those news sources that President Trump calls fake news are generally more liberal, which is his political opponent, and the reports are unpopular to him. Also, the repeated accusations can be viewed as paranoia which is what the Salem witch hunts stemmed from.

  24. “Young Goodman Brown” by Nathaniel Hawthorne tells the story of a man from Salem village who, after a night of horrifying hallucinations, begins to distrust the community that he once held dear. In his hallucinations, Goodman Brown travels to a clandestine congregation in the forest, all the while talking with a man later revealed to be the devil. Goodman Brown encounters many people from Salem that he considered pious and reputable at the demonic ceremony along with several people who he considered immoral, a few Amerindian holy men, and his wife, Faith. As the ceremony ends and Goodman Brown calls out to Faith to not fall to sin, he wakes up in the dark forest as if the ceremony never happened. Instead of thinking it was just a dream, Goodman Brown considers his experience “a dream of evil omen,” causing him to develop a strong distrust for his community and wife. He goes on living the rest of his life in jaded misery, believing that all that surrounded him were sinful blasphemers. In the end, Goodman Brown dies at an old age, alienated from the rest of the community. This story is a warning about the paranoia and hostility that a witch-hunting mindset encourages. The inherent distrust that comes from the belief that there are those in your group that are evil leads to the fracturing of a community, much like how Goodman Brown became distant from the people that he had known his entire life. This mindset, spread amongst an entire population of people, allowed former neighbors and friends to condemn out of a fear of sin.
    The communal distrust of witch-hunting is alive and well in the modern age, primarily in social media. Text, while being incredibly useful, is not the best format at portraying intent in the same way that someone would be able to pick up on in person. Because of this, social media is rife with miscommunications and manipulations. People are labeled as hateful, racist, fascist, etc. as readers either misunderstand the writer or distort the message to fit their worldview or goals. While these issues definitely exist in today’s society, people have become hypervigilant because of our society’s desire to improve and avoid past mistakes. Unfortunately, in an attempt to avoid history, we are instead running blindly towards it.

  25. In the Smithsonian article “A Brief History of the Salem Witch Trials” Jess Blumberg writes, “respected minister Cotton Mather wrote a letter imploring the court not to allow spectral evidence—testimony about dreams and visions. The court largely ignored this request,” continuing the hanging of “witches” based on speculation alone (Blumberg). Once, however, Governor Phipps’ wife was accused of witchcraft he “prohibited further arrests, released many accused witches” (Blumberg). I found this statement intriguing because it is known for those in power to set things to their benefit. People in power will often set things to fit their views with little regard to how it will affect the lives of others that do not fit in their plans. This is a very common custom among the powerful that is obviously not just practiced in this time period.
    One of the best examples of this is our current president. He does not do the things he does to help the people of America, but to further his own agenda of ignorance and hatred and since he is in power and people support him, he can. His constant racism, sexism, ableism, xenophobia, homophobia, and transphobia is not only his true views but also his way of trying to reinforce white supremacy without literally saying that is what he is doing. By constantly painting those who are not white, cisgender men as inferior he is conditioning, predominately the white people of America, to sit comfortably in their ignorance and to look down on people of color and immigrants. His presidency is an attempt (so far, I believe, a successful one in its early stages) to start a witch hunt. He constantly throws false information at the world and is never held accountable for the harm his lies cause.

  26. Out all of all of our readings regarding the witch trials and witch hunts, I found the most interesting quote to be from the fourth chapter of Demonology: Ideology of Terror, which reads, “witchcraft accusations are not random, but arise where there are ill-feelings between an accuser and an accused”. I found this to be very compelling because it of very telling of how easy it really was to accuse somebody of being a witch during the times of the Salem Witch Trials. You could hold some sort of grudge against someone, even for something so miniscule, and coming up with some sort of lie or starting a rumor that they could be a witch would be detrimental. The accused could have their lives taken from them due to a petty argument or false impression, and it baffles me that this was something that was able to happen to frequently as so violently.
    A modern-day example of a witch hunt could be the issues that have been arising with Donald Trump throughout his whole presidency (and before) with Russia. Our president has always claimed that there was no collusion with the Russians, and that it was all nothing but a conspiracy. I consider this to be a modern-day witch hunt not only because Donald Trump calls it that himself, but because everyone is pitted against the president, and everyone is always trying to find something to throw against him. I find it to be very interesting, because even though every president has a certain political party against them, the Trump is also facing flack not only from all political parties, but every country has their eyes on him. Trump is somebody who I feel is littered with mistakes and just speaks his mind, and this has ultimately gotten him in to nothing but trouble, which was not only resulted in this witch hunt against him, but several other as well.

  27. For the first post, I would like to talk about how people in Europe and people in America during the early modern period views on witch hunts. In Europe, people who viewed witches as the cause of many problems when it comes to the villages. They were the cause of the illness that spread across the land. If the crops did not grow and the animals started to die, that they would blame the work of witches for putting a spell or curse. Any woman that was being trailed as be called a witch and found guilty would be put to death, or to see if they were really a witch. They would put them to a test to see they really were a witch or not a witch. In the early modern period in America, they were afraid of witches. Many people who were very religious believed that witches were spawns of the devil that prayed the weak. When the people would put the women on trial to accuse them of being a witch that many of them were put to death or died from the kinds of torture they went through.

    The second part of the blog I would like to talk about real-life monsters. One of the most infamous and notorious serial killers of all times was Ted Bundy. People in the public eye saw that Ted was a monster for all the terrible things that he has done. He admitted to killing over 36 young women all over the country in different states in the 1970s. The experts believe that he has killed more than over 100 or even more but they don’t exactly know the number of how many women ted killed. He was a true modern monster because he was a very dangerous man in history. Many people all ever the country, mostly young women because they did not want to become the next victim. When he was on trial for the murders of the young women many people wanted to make sure that he would never hurt another young woman again. He got the death penalty and was put to death by the electric chair.

  28. Based off of Sidky’s input on witches, a certain quote stands out relating the importance for the reason of witchcraft persecutions. Sidky states, “the belief in witchcraft represents a theory of causation that applies only to specific situations and under particular circumstances” (Sidky 102). In other words, he is saying that the victims of witchcraft were accused based off of situation that led to the accuse. This lays down a boundary for the decision for their persecution. The accusations were not random, but they had a slightly illogical thought process of reason. During earlier witchcraft accusations, a primary resource for accusation was maleficium. Maleficium is harm from the supernatural inflicting on a person or someone’s property. It perhaps explained misfortune during that time. They used this as a reason to accuse people of harming others in rage towards their misfortunes.
    Instead of choosing a specific person relating to modern-day witch hunts, I decided to choose the media. The media runs the world. Every time you go onto social media, search the web, or even watch the news, the media is subconsciously feeding your brain information that isn’t always proven true. It is quite frightening knowing what the media can really do to you. It can completely ruin someone’s reputation just from a couple of clicks. Off of a rumor, someone can be “persecuted” and accused of something that isn’t provable. In relation to witchcraft, word spread and people were persecuted and lost their innocent lives. It may not be as violent as it was, but somebody’s identity is potentially corrupt for a significant period of time, sometimes forever.

  29. Out of all the readings, I found the summary of what happened during the Salem Witch Trials the most interesting. One of the most notable details was who were the first supposed witches to actually be accused. The two young girls who had these witch-driven fits blamed three witches for their outbursts. These three women were a Caribbean slave, a homeless beggar, and an impoverished elderly woman. Needless to say, these three women were not the most revered in the Puritan society. As is often the theme when we analyze monsters, we find the monster lying on the outskirts of normal society. If one does not believe in witches, it is easy to get behind the theory that these three social outcasts were the scapegoats for young children simply acting out rather than being possessed by witches. The girls knew that they could get away with their behavior by blaming it on people that society would not miss or sympathize with. Having previously studied the Salem Witch Trials, I do believe this was the case and that the girls did eventually admit that was the truth, if I am not mistaken.

    As I do not pay very much attention to the news, I do not know much about the witch hunts that are apparently still so common in our world. However, I can relate witch hunts to one thing I do know about: sports. With the Super Bowl being a recent occurence, the New England Patriots come to mind when I think about a modern witch hunt. The Patriots have been accused of cheating multiple times in the past years, and while some of the accusations are either true or possible, there are just as many that are invalid and fabricated. Yet if one checks social media during a big game, it is impossible to escape without seeing someone accuse them of paying the referees or deflating the footballs. There are people who do not even watch or know anything about football, yet they know that the Patriots are cheaters. This has led to them being perhaps the most hated team in the history of sports. Like the Patriots, those accused of witchcraft were marginalized by society and condemned in the minds of other people. It really is a type of mob mentality because in both cases, there really is never enough evidence to prove anything. Yet we assume they are guilty because there is a history of accusations in the Patriots case, and a history of “strange” behavior in the witches’ case. This kind of group-thinking is vaguely similar to the mindset of those hunting witches. Believing something to be true based upon word-of-mouth is a fallacy in itself, especially if the accusations are as serious as cheating or witchcraft.

  30. According to the article, “A Brief History of the Salem Witch Trials,” “A ‘witchcraft craze’ rippled through Europe from the 1300s to the end of the 1600s. Tens of thousands of supposed witches—mostly women—were executed.” I believe this statement is essentially important because it proves just how huge of an event the Witch Trials came to be in the 1600’s. The craze became so atrocious that the social blunder of the Witch Hunt was not formally apologized until the 1950’s. People took the idea of a falsely advertised rumor and twisted it into a belief that female children were accused of witchcraft. After all, there are several explanations as to why the people of Salem responded with such revenge. For instance, Elizabeth and Ann Putnam, victims who supposedly had fits and supernatural episodes. A reasonable explanation for this situation could be that these children had psychological problems and needed actual medical attention. People who lived in the 5th century thought the only logical rationalization for this behavior was witchcraft.
    After reading through these articles and gaining a broader understanding of the Salem Witch Trials, I realized the idea prejudice has come a long way. Since the beginning of time, people were biased and took part in this pre-misconception that this world was supposed to be ruled by white men. Similar to how women were targeted for wrong accusations in the trials, women are still falsely suspect of myths that were previously generated beforehand. From a political perspective, a woman is still viewed as ‘not strong enough’ to hold a presidential position in office, essentially because it was originally a male’s job. Living in America, we are all entitled to our own opinions, but that could only take a person so far in the 21st century. There are never-ending gaps and loopholes when it comes to politics; I only hope that it gets better over time.

  31. In the readings we learn about the Salem witch trials and how in India there are modern day ideas or look alike to these trials or persecution of the witches. The idea of a witch trial is out landish and outright crazy but in the time these trials were popular and favored among towns and other political powers to persecute people believed to be acting in witchcraft. The quote I found interesting from the piece we read was on page 108 “is Anna good repute or bad repute” the church would ask questions like so in order to determine whether a person studied witch craft or participated in it. All in all the persecutions of witches and holding these trials of falsely executed person was such a crazy thought to begin with especially since it was such a popular thing back in the day but not as common in our modern day society.

    A 21st century or modern day witch hunt could be compared to Hitler and Nazi Germany to wear the prosecuted and executed a group of people because of the bad things they believed or thought they were doing. We could compare this to the Salem witch trials because of the death of so many innocent people for the pleasure or relief of someone else. The ideology behind the holocaust was Hitler blaming Jewish people for their economic loss in Germany and saw it as a wrong or “witchcraft” something bad in a sense if you would say.

  32. The most interesting thing that I came across reading was the Salem Witch Trial article. When I came across this line it certainly hit home, “In January of 1692, Reverend Parris’ daughter Elizabeth, age 9, and niece Abigail Williams, age 11, started having “fits.” They screamed, threw things, uttered peculiar sounds and contorted themselves into strange positions, and a local doctor blamed the supernatural.” When people think of persecuting witches they think of middle aged lonely women not a little girl who is 9. This truly showed how much people feared witches back then. They were willing to blame the supernatural due to the behavior of two little girls. It was simply a way for them to be easily blamed for something.
    A witch hunt today involved Larry Nassar. Larry was the USA gymnastics national team doctor. Just recently he was sentenced to 175 years in prison for child molestation. This sex abuse scandal shook the U.S.. Nassar created himself the title of being a “monster”. What he did to those girls was pure evil. The amount of victims and hearing their stories was heart wrenching.

  33. One interesting thing I found in the “Brief History of The Salem Witch Trials” was a quote from Jess Blumberg that stated “With the seed of paranoia planted, a stream of accusations followed for the next few months”. She points out that paranoia is the key factor in a “witch hunt” beginning. I think that paranoia is not only caused from the event that occurred to start a “witch hunt” but from past experiences that a community has faced which could shape all of their views. Paranoia can spread like a wildfire and have a whole community worried within an instant. No matter what the issue is whether it’s actual witches or a form of “McCarthyism” all stems from paranoia.

    A 21st century witch hunt that can be used with this statement would have to be the Trump with illegal immigrants. There has always been people fearful of criminal illegal immigrants coming into our country but with Obama he looked to help them gain citizenship rather then deport them but with Trumps arrival most illegal immigrants in the country fear and have been getting arrested.

  34. Witches have been in many different cultures throughout history. The Salem Witch Trials is an example of a dark period in history. I thought the article A Brief History of the Salem Witch Trials was interesting because it summed up some of the events that happened. I chose the quote, “The displaced people created a strain on Salem’s resources. This aggravated the existing rivalry between families with ties to the wealth of the port of Salem and those who still depended on agriculture.” I believe the difficulties going on through the town had an effect on the witch trials. During the struggles, the townspeople possibly needed an outlet to blame all the hardships on. Salem was an extremely religious town so blaming the Devil could have been the rational answer.
    A modern-day witch hunt could be that President Donald Trump generates enemies of non-citizens that are living in America. Donald Trump reminds me of Reverend Parris and how the author of the article wrote, “Controversy also brewed over Reverend Samuel Parris, who became Salem Village’s first ordained minister in 1689, and was disliked because of his rigid ways and greedy nature.” President Trump seems to enjoy not having restrictions to what he says in the moment, almost as if he eggs on the problems that are happened over social media and rather than the topics people should be focusing on. Americans have specific jobs to find and deport illegal immigrants relating to the jobs of the church and townspeople of Salem to find who the possible witches of the town could be. Illegal immigrants could be the ones taking the blame similarly to witches because American citizens need someone to blame still for their hardships.

  35. “With the seed of paranoia planted, a stream of accusations followed for the next few months” These next few months would ultimately kill some 20 people and imprison hundreds. This was the most terrifying notion to me implied by the Salem Witch hunt article. The idea that a few cases of a frightening enough accusation can lead to fear ultimately driving a group of people to condemn those around them for even the slightest suspicion is horrifying. However it does lead to a mild understanding of witch hunts as the natural human emotion of fear is the main driving force when paired with ignorance and faith.

    One way that the witch hunts are tragically still seen today is the current wave of sexual harassment scandals in the media and politics. Now I’m not saying that these accusations need to be stopped all together. It’s amazing that those who are victims have finally come forward and those committed these heinous acts are finally receiving punishment for their crimes. The problem arises when someone is accused and then they are defamed and completely defaced immediately in the public eye, having their reputation obliterated before any substantial evidence is provided (a characteristic of the witch hunts). Justice has to be sought out for these crimes but there has to be a moment when the line can be drawn between seeking out what is right, and pointing fingers.

  36. The Salem Witch Trials have always peaked my interest. It was interesting because it seemed to be that only women were accused of witchcraft, particularly if something wasn’t of normalcy, like the crops were not growing, or someone had fallen ill. Though according to the Indian witch trials accusations were based off of normal instances. A famous story about the witches of Salem was the accusations made by Abigail. Abigail, being a young girl at the time, was having an affair with John Proctor, whom she loved but was married. Abigail accuse John Proctor’s wife to be a witch, in an attempt to be rid of her, so she could have him for herself. Little did she know it would turn into the notorious witch trials that are known today.

    I think an lot of what is going on in todays politics some how mirrors the same as how the salem witch trials were handled. Like the Harvey Weinstein scandal, though that is not a statement suggesting what he did wasn’t true, but more so once one person speaks up, the floodgates tend to open. It seems as though once one woman had come out that he had sexually assaulted/harassed her, multiple other women came forward as well. This was just the tip of the ice burg that led to a slippery slope when people of authority and power were also accused, falsely, for actions similar to Harvey Weinstein.

  37. Incidentally, the interesting quote that I pulled from the readings was in the one about modern day witch hunts in India, if only because it truly resonated with what witch hunts are somewhat based around, and that is both misogyny and something akin to bandwagoning. “The movement is ‘helping provide a voice to women who wouldnʼt otherwise have one,’” which is a quote by Soma Chaudhuri, a sociologist from Michigan State University, is what stood out the most. Though she is talking about the situation in India, it can be brought to issues in the United States as well, when it comes to a movement by people for their associated groups. Such as rape or sexual abuse survivors – when one speaks out, they all find the courage and confidence to, as well. The same can almost be said about the Black Lives Matter movement. A controversy brought the issue to light, and a group of people decided it wasn’t right, so they banded together to fight for change.

    Though unpopular in opinion, but also a side to take into consideration, those who form the movements could be considered the modern day “witches” when in the perspective of those they are fighting against as well, since they are considered “others.” Otherwise, there wouldn’t be so much controversy over these topics. In relation, the movements could also be viewing their oppressors as “witches” in turn, since the situation is always like a “he said, she said” kind of situation. Another name gets brought to light, and another “hunt” or controversy explodes over it (such as the sexual harassment/rape/etc. allegations happening in Hollywood).

    On another note, some subtler witch hunts can be seen on a daily basis. Though not as major as the ones happening in India, currently, it still exists in the form of an almost social policing. Someone can bring up a topic, use one misconstrued word, and all of sudden, they’re “homophobic,” “racist,” “transphobic,” etc. Like the Salem Witch Trials too, one person says something once, and rather than correcting them, they’re practically socially crucified.

  38. The witch trials that plagued the time period were a dark spot on American history. Hysteria and mass panic spread through entire communities, leading people to question even themselves. I found it interesting that even the most respected people and their families were scrutinized. The judges wife, even children as young as four years old were questioned. And all of this belief led by religion, and the evils that could happen if one turned from it. Religion was used to control the common people, as it gave them fear of something more than their leaders. The panic during the Salem Witch Trials seems to me to be a use of religion to persecute against anyone different, anyone deemed monsterous.

    I compared how we view our current leaders to how leaders were viewed then. Many of our current politicians tend to be heavily opinionated, and they all rely on some form of religion to give them a moral code. Back in the witch trials the same could be said. Educated men, even the president of Harvard, fell prey to the overwhelming fear of witchcraft. Our own president, Donald Trump has referred to issues in the White House as “Witch hunts”, but I believe he fails to understand the meaning there. To imply a witch hunt is happening means that there is a made up issue, or violence and persecution happening. The only thing happening in his case is he’s being questioned for lies, not otherworldly powers. No one is being hanged, no one is being targeted based on what they mumbled in their sleep. I feel there is a disconnect between our current leaders and the normal citizen, just as there was in Salem.

  39. The quote that stuck out the most to me is from Demonology: Ideology of Terror. It states, “If bad, she is a witch; if in good, she is undoubted fully a witch, for witches always seek to be well though of” (p. 108). It didn’t matter what the witch said or how they defended themselves. Once they were accused, they were guilty no matter what.
    An example of present day “witch hunts” would be Donald Trump. Trump labels illegal immigrants as “bad” people, even though his wife was an illegal immigrant, and believes that they should be deported from our country. He sends ICE out on “witch hunts” to find illegal immigrants and send them back to their home countries even if they have been here for decades and America is all they know.

  40. In the article A Brief History of the Salem Witch Trials Jess Blumberg states that “In January of 1692, Reverend Parris’ daughter Elizabeth, age 9, and niece Abigail Williams, age 11, started having “fits.” They screamed, threw things, uttered peculiar sounds and contorted themselves into strange positions, and a local doctor blamed the supernatural. Another girl, Ann Putnam, age 11, experienced similar episodes. On February 29, under pressure from magistrates Jonathan Corwin and John Hathorne, the girls blamed three women for afflicting them: Tituba, the Parris’ Caribbean slave; Sarah Good, a homeless beggar; and Sarah Osborne, an elderly impoverished woman.” It is later mentioned that the girls admitted to making everything up. This quote sheds light on the trials and the ease in which they could have been avoided. If these few girls had not lied the trials could have been entirely avoided and no one would have been hung or persecuted. This quote shows that people are easily persuaded and give in as long as others agree. These girls caused a mass hysteria that resulted in the death of many women and their role in the witch hunt is key to understanding how it ultimately came to an end.
    Today, immigrants are being targeted much in the way witches were being targeted in 1692. Immigrants are being ripped away from their homes, their families, their jobs and their friends and being deported. It matters not whether they came yesterday or if they immigrated at the age of two. It matters not to ICE, or our President, who has vowed to rid our country of immigrants, many of whom are improving our nation. His actions have been rejected but he still has vowed to remove immigrants, specifically ones from “shithole countries”. His targeting of these immigrants parallels the targeting of so-called witches.

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