Thoughts About Witches and Witch Hunts, Past and Present

On Thursday (2/13), 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.” Central to this definition is the notion 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, and especially in the realm of politics. 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 specific quotation from your assigned sources on witch trials for Thursday. Explain why you think that notion is important to our 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. For most of you, the topic that will come to mind is the recent impeachment trial of Donald Trump, which the president has frequently labeled as a “witch hunt.” But that subject is almost too easy, too obvious, too cliché at this point – so I would prefer that you avoid using it as an example. Whatever example(s) you do ultimately choose, 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.

31 thoughts on “Thoughts About Witches and Witch Hunts, Past and Present

  1. 1. One of the most fascinating things I learned about witch hunts from these articles is that these searches were not completely left in the past- where they belong. After reading a disturbing article about women having to shut down these types of hunts in India, I was intrigued. Having the knowledge of the twenty-first century, why are people still butchering others for so called, “witchcraft”. In the article mentioned before, the ending made the point, “I can see the potential for this developing into a social movement,” she said, “but it’s not going to happen in a day because an entire culture needs to be changed.” This showed me that the monsters of society are really just the fears embedded into the culture, that have been there for centuries. Until society and its inhabitants changes their views on witch hunts and witchcraft, the people are still going to act out on their fears. Education seems to help, but I also found that people are reluctant to change their views, especially when its a fear their family has been afraid of for centuries.
    2.) Its not only in third world countries that people fall victim to group thinking, which usually leads to a “witch” being scouted out and persecuted against. This reminded me of the “witch hunt” in the United States that came about after Pearl Harbor. After the bombing of Pearl Harbor, Japanese-Americans were rounded up and thrust into internment camps, based on the fear that these “outsiders” were in the country, and needed to be locked away before they could harm the rest of the population. The fear of somebody being different, therefore they are harmful, flourished and many of these Japanese people suffered. Even though this occurred in the 1940’s, and we now realize this was wrong, witch hunts of similar kinds in the United States still continue to occur today. Until the society chooses to open their mind to change and accept those that are different, witch hunts will still be prominent.

  2. The part that I find very interesting about the witch trials is that if someone so much as to thinks a person is conducting any sort of witchery there is no way out of it. If a person came out and said that you are a witch or are involved in any witch acts that their minds will never change, and you will most likely be hung for it. No matter what you do to try and prove that you are not a witch and you are not involved will not matter because the rest of the people there are already convinced you are a witch just by one person saying something. This can be connected to todays world, for example people always blame guns for killing someone. The gun can just be sitting there not doing anything and still be framed for killing someone, like a person in the times of the Salem Witch Trials, and even though a person can take that gun and make the gun shoot does not make it the guns fault, the gun didn’t do anything wrong, it was just doing what it is designed to do. I feel as though it is not the guns fault but the person shooting the gun, so looking back at that time I wouldn’t think the person being framed for being a witch is the witch but the person framing them could be the real witch.

  3. Reading “A Brief History of the Salem Witch Trials” gave me a glimpse into the feelings and emotions people were experiencing as mass hysteria spread all over Salem about witches. What interested me was when Tituba was interrogated after being accused of practicing witchcraft. She admitted that “The Devil came to [her] and bid [her] serve him,” which ultimately sparked the paranoia and hysteria amongst the residents of Salem. The expression “seed of paranoia planted” used by Jess Blumberg stressed the idea that any form of “abnormal” behavior exhibited by anyone in Salem immediately led to the assumption of practicing witchcraft. It also accentuated how difficult it was to prove yourself innocent in such an extreme case because no one knew what to believe. Paranoia and the fear of the Devil’s work clouded everyone’s judgment. As we all may know, a new disease identified as the coronavirus as been discovered. This disease originated in China, killing over 1,000 residents and continues to spread to other countries, including the United States. News about the coronavirus has been broadcasted worldwide and can be found all over social media, causing hysteria to everyone familiar with the disease. False reports about the coronavirus posted on social media have fueled the fire of paranoia and fear in ourselves and our loved ones all over the world. The “seed of paranoia” planted globally has resulted in the spread of xenophobia towards Asians on social media. Many Asians have shared their stories about them being mistreated–even attacked–in public, as people now associate their ethnicity with this disease.

  4. What I find horrifying about the Salem Witch Trials is just how many innocent people were affected by it. Many people were harmed, or even outright killed. Because of the over-zealousness of some people, many others were caught in the cross-fire. This situation is disturbingly similar to the anti-vax movement. Due to these people refusing vaccines, diseases that were once almost eradicated (like measles,) are starting to resurface. Innocent people who cannot take vaccines for medical reasons are being harmed by those ignorant to medicine. The fact that the anti-vax movement was declared a global-health threat by the World Health Organization shows just how serious this is.

  5. I find the Salem witch trial to be an appalling time in history. I remember reading books and articles about it in High School, such as The Crucible, and not being able to believe such things occurred. This makes me very frustrated when political leaders or celebrities use this term of a “witch hunt” so loosely. People’s lives were destroyed, people were killed, and they think their scandal whatever it may be is on the same level of the mass hysteria of the witch trials. A quote from “A Brief History of The Salem Witch Trial by Jess Blumber,”It were better that ten suspected witches should escape than one innocent person be condemned.” I chose this to talk about because it was such a different way of thinking in this time period. Everyone was so frightened they were willing to kill anyone, and this was a sign of caring for life and innocences.
    Many sexual assault accusations have been said to be “Witch hunts”. Especially when it involves some of our own favorite childhood actors. In my research I found Liam Neeson was accused and said it was all a witch hunt for fame and money. The same thing happens with professional athletes, and in cases that the accusations were true like with Bill Cosby, there are still going to be people that do not believe the victims and almost attack them more than the rapists. In comparison, people were so quick during the Salem Witch Trial days to condem those accused and even murder them for it, but now even with evidence many people will give criminals the benefit of the doubt and call victims liars and persecute them worse.

  6. While reading ‘A Brief History of the Salem Witch Trials’ by Jess Blumberg, this quote stud out to me, “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.” This is important to know religion plays a significant role in witch trials. It was believed that witches wanted to cause harm to others by giving their souls to the devil. What if instead, witches were portrayed to be “good” and their magic came from “god” instead of the devil. Maybe then they would appraise them instead of hunting and killing them. The notion of “evil” helps us understand why witches were hunted. They were “evil” therefore they were “monsters” and had to be killed. Today, most people understand that accusing someone of black magic is irrelevant, especially since it is hard to obtain prof of said causation. However, witch hunts still happen in some areas of the world. Usually with communities that are close-minded.
    The ignorance and diligence towards sexual identity and sexual preference can be seen as a twenty-first-century “witch hunt”. With the same idea of religion, many argue that one must identify with the sex assigned at birth and be attracted to the opposite sex. I grew up in Mexico, a heavily Christian community, hearing others discriminate against people for their sexual preferences. I have heard my grandparents say things like, “those things are from the devil.” I am sure that this happens all over the world, particularly in closeminded and/or and religious communities. I have heard of people being bullied, attacked, and even murdered for these reasons.

  7. I’d like to refer to page number 109 of this article for my quotation. “Satan abandoned them, thereby withdrawing their ability to do cause.” This justifies the reason why any “witch” captured wouldn’t disappear or simplify float away because Satan had abandoned them because essentially they have been captured and there souls are now damned because Satan now wants them to be executed. The article goes on to explain that the moment these witches are captured the devil actually roots for them to be destroyed. This is important to our understanding of witches because it gives no legit proof to whether someone is a witch or not. To throw someone into a lake with weights tied on them and to say if they live they are a witch and if they die they were a witch is preposterous because it gives no fair way to tell if someone is using witchcraft or not. The most famous human monsters of all time include Jeffery Dahmer for his cannibalism. Hitler is another for his mass execution of the Jewish race. The closest witch hunt that I can think of his the witch hunt involving recently passed Super Star Kobe Bryant. In his passed he was accused of the rape of a young woman. I call it a witch hunt because he was never found guilty and the trail went on for years before he was actually found innocent, indicating that they were on a witch hunt for years because nothing really happened
    -Charles Stephens

  8. The Salem Witch Trials in Massachusetts were unjustified and a complete mistake. “More than 200 people were accused of practicing witchcraft and 20 were executed. Eventually, the colony admitted the trials were a mistake. Since then, the story of the trials has become synonymous with paranoia and injustice” (Blumberg 2007). Many of these accusations of witchcraft were most likely fake or misunderstandings, and because of this many innocent lives were taken. This can also still be represented in the twenty-first century where we still put to blame many innocent people. In the news we keep hearing about innocent people being convicted and locked into prison for years, and even being executed on death row. In just the United States there is estimated to be about two to ten percent of innocent people with wrongful convictions in jail. There are still problems and probably will always be problems with wrongful convictions and inadequate evidence putting innocent lives at risk.

  9. The Salem witch trials of the 1600’s were a time characterized by paranoia. I find the most interesting part of the trials themselves to be the lack of evidence that was used in them. A majority of the accusations came from a handful of young girls, all doing things that really any person could do (having “fits”, throwing things, screaming, etc.) and could be explained without the aid of “magic”. Then, verbal evidence and other non-concrete forms of proof were used to execute over 20 people. This lack of concrete evidence interests me because almost 400 years later, we still face the same issue. The most recent example that comes to mind is the current news about Johnny Depp and Amber Heard. She had labeled him as an abuser when she divorced him in 2016-2017, and for the most part the public believed her, even when there was no evidence. Recently, tapes have come out showing her as being the abuser in their relationship, admitting to physically abusing Depp and gas-lighting him. For the longest time, everyone was on her side. This incident and the historical witch hunts shows me that it is only when physical evidence comes out that we can make a well-informed decision as a people.

  10. I thought it was interesting how, in the story “Young Goodman Brown,” even though it was fictional, that the character of Goodman Brown experiences guilt from his witch hunt. He consistently states that he wants to go back into town, back to his wife, and has a sense of paranoia during the walk. The atmosphere being very dark and gloomy as he travels alone to meet the man with the staff, he is constantly checking over his shoulder, his paranoia evident: “…he glanced fearfully behind him, as he added, ‘What if the devil himself should be at my very elbow!’” as if he has a sense that what he is doing is morally wrong. He also mentions that Faith, his “aptly named” wife, is a good person, and he resolves to be one as well: “after this one night, I’ll cling to her skirts and follow her to Heaven.” However, he doesn’t get the chance. This fearful mindset stays consistent throughout the rest of the story, his guilt and paranoia fueled further as it progresses, and stays with him for the rest of his life. He’s been raised in this life of witch hunting; the old man that he travels with mentions how it is almost like a family business for the Brown’s. Historically, when people think of the witch hunts and witch trials, they picture a bloodthirsty mob with a vendetta. There’s never any mention of guilt or regret during the trials, only after. I have to wonder if, psychologically, it did take a toll on some people as it happened, or if they were so consumed with doing the work of God or whatever in eradicating these “witches” that they didn’t think twice about it, that they truly thought them monsters and therefore had no problem with what they were doing. I’d like to think some people did, or we as a society have learned a lesson from this experience, but being as “witch hunts” still go on today, that doesn’t seem to be the case. People love a scapegoat, a person or people group to pin the blame on. There are many good 21st century examples of this, with political scandals and celebrity gossip. Recently, there was a documentary on Netflix called “When They See Us” which was based on an assault and rape case that resulted in a white woman’s death in 1989, a case which was unfairly blamed on five innocent boys, in what was clearly a racial incident as they were Black and Hispanic, that sent them to jail. They were intimidated and coerced by police into admitting to the crime, though they never did it. They were someone to blame, and remained in jail until a confession from the guilty party came forth in 2002. I can only hope that, this many years later and with all this history to guide us morally, we’re heading in the right direction in our future, for the sake of all the innocents who were victimized in the past.

  11. I think a key takeaway from the articles we read was the idea that anybody could be a witch. So many people firmly believed that witches were not only real, but that they could be infesting any and all corners of their community, leading them to throw around the term and start labeling anybody that was even a little strange as a witch, typically leading to severe consequences. Due to the nature of the claims, the accusations typically were largely unfounded, and ended up causing many people to be wrongly convicted of witchcraft.
    It may not have necessarily been during my lifetime, but I feel that this “witch hunt” could be closely related to the Red Scare during the early and mid 1900s. Society and media spread the idea that America was slowly and secretly being invaded and spied upon by communists, leading many people to be suspicious of their own neighbors. As a collective state, many people began to think that if you didn’t act like a real American (that is to say, if you didn’t act exactly like them), then there must be some underlying reason. With the nature of the time, this “underlying reason” was typically chalked up to mean that the suspicious party in question was likely to be a communist, here to spy on the American people. Similarly to the classic accusation of witches, someone being labeled as a communist (or communist sympathizer) typically faced very severe social, and in some cases, legal repercussions just because they didn’t act exactly as the majority of their peers wanted them to. This idea of “the other” permeated so deeply into American communities, that people who were just different than the rest were seen as somebody out to disrupt the standard way of life.

  12. What interested me the most while reading the articles that were assigned for class, was how people became witches and why they were labeled as one. The information I will be talking about is from the article, “A Brief History of the Salem Witch Trials”. This article says that the idea of witches stems from the belief that the devil could give people powers that could be used to harm others. Perhaps the idea of people having powers to hurt others was created to have someone to blame when something bad happens. It was created perhaps to give people context to things that happened suddenly or mysteriously. The Salem Witch Trials were started after there was tension building between the families that lived in the village due to a decrease in valuable resources. It would make sense that the people in the town would want a reason or someone to blame for the loss of resources. When townspeople start displaying abnormal behavior, they concluded that witches are to blame. The town was having a hard time and wanted to blame someone for it. The Coronavirus has become a witch hunt. The virus has recently come to the United States and it has most Americans freaked out. The virus originated in China and now Chinese people are being blamed for the disease. Americans are isolating their Chinese neighbors or friend because they are worried about getting the illness. Even if they haven’t been to China, they are being isolated or blamed. The Coronavirus is similar to how witches are labeled and formed because people are taking their fears out on individuals without asking questions. In both situations, they blame people just because they fear what could happen.

  13. 1. I was shocked to read that these witch hunts still exist in our world today. It feels impossible that such a ridiculous practice still occurs as recently as just 8 years ago, according to this article. It says a lot about the state of rural India that these kinds of things are still going on, when the majority of the world has left it in the past. It was nice to hear that the local women fighting it have had some success. Hopefully in the eight years since the article was written, they were able to achieve their goal of finally ending witch hunts once and for all.
    2. In recent years there has been a trend of digging up old social media posts from celebrities and using it to “cancel them”, or in other words, end their careers. I feel that this action would definitely clarify as a witch hunt with people going to social media and purposefully searching their profile trying to find one bad tweet or post. The person could have posted it over 10 years ago and may have already apologized for it but it doesn’t stop people from “hunting” them and trying to put them down. If a celebrity today went on Twitter and tweeted something extremely offensive, the outrage would be completely justified. But to spend time digging up old posts is what leads to the witch hunt feeling.

  14. I turned to a quote from Young Goodman Brown that piqued my interest. “”Friend,” said he, stubbornly, “my mind is made up. Not another step will I budge on this
    errand. What if a wretched old woman do choose to go to the devil, when I thought she was going to Heaven! Is that any reason why I should quit my dear Faith, and go after her?” This stood out to me because it showcases how set people are in their beliefs. People can be so stuck in their own cultures, religions, or beliefs that they begin to exclude or look down upon someone of a different background. The witch hunt is quite literally hunting people who are deemed “different” and are punished for it.
    This reminded me of a real life witch hunt that still happens currently. There are plenty of people who grow up with strict, religious parents and are terrified to come out as a member of the LGBT community. There are parents who turn on their own children once they learn about their identity. Suddenly, because the child that they had loved and raised for years was something they deem monstrous. They exile them and exclude them, because they put their faith first. In the quote above, he puts his religion as a priority and refuses to interact with someone different, who has chosen to go to the devil. This is essentially what unsupportive parents of LGBT children do. They find what is different about each other, and as soon as something is found, they punish them.

  15. While reading “Women Shut Down Deadly Witch Hunts in India”, I came across the following quote: “…drunken villagers [would] impulsively identify a ‘witch’, usually killed on a spot”. This is important to the way in which we understand the persecution of witches because it shows that there was no way out of the accusation once it was said aloud. A drunken villager could accuse anyone of witchcraft and no matter what the “witch” attempted to do or say to prove their innocence, it would be disregarded and they would be persecuted in the end anyways. A 21st-century “witch hunt” that comes to mind in relation to the previous quote that I chose would be when everyone thought Obama wasn’t born in America. There was a conspiracy against his actual birthplace. Handfuls of individuals believed this accusation without fact-checking the situation beforehand.

  16. One of the things that I have learned when reading these articles about witch hunts are still happing now in the twenty-first century, but women are trying to stop them. From the article called, “Women Shut Down Deadly Witch Hunts in India (Yes, That Still Happens)” I found a quote which help understand more about the movement that is happing in India with the witch hunts. According to the article the movement is “helping provide a voice to women who wouldn’t otherwise have one,” said Soma Chaudhuri, a sociologist at Michigan State University who authored a paper on the topic”. This helps me figure out why they are fighting back against the witch hunts, which are killing women. They are standing up for what is true and right when women in the 1600s could not do anything. Right now, in the twenty-first century, women are still going throw “witch hunt” even if they are not killed or told they are a witch. Women nowadays are still treated as not equal in everyday society. Even now the USA is stepping up to were women are being equal to men. Many places around the world do not women to be equal to men. Just like in the article it talked about women were killed because someone thought that they did some ‘magic’ that killed a man. There are many other things to make a woman a ‘witch’ for men to do a ‘witch hunt’ on them, nothing has changed in the last 5 centuries and even before that.

  17. 1.) Something that I thought was important from this week’s articles was the fact that these witch trials were created and spread around, and innocent people were being killed because of this paranoia. People were killed because of this paranoia, and despite the fact that the families of those were “compensated,” it is not as if the people accused could simply go back to daily life. We actually do not get much insight as to what their lives were like after they were accused, but I can only assume that these people were still not entirely thought of to be normal once things had been resolved.
    2.) A connection that I made from this week’s articles to modern day was this quotation “had a strong belief that the Devil could give certain people known as witches the power to harm others in return for their loyalty” and the incident that happened a few years ago regarding the three teenage girls and Slenderman. Two of the girls believed that harming the other would get them praise from Slenderman, and it made me think about how Christians believed that people could become witches from a favor. In both cases, there seemed to be the idea of loyalty.

  18. The interesting idea that I took from the Salem Witch Trials was innocent women were being collected because society claimed that these women were witches and they were ultimately going to get executed for their “crimes against humanity.” The baffling fact to me is that society is the real monster in this case prosecuting innocent women based on accusations and claims that came from scared members of society. I think that the most famous monster of all time is Frankenstein as to when he was introduced it probably struck people of the time in fear reading about this monster that god did not give life to. Frankenstein created a scientific disaster to a culture that was not to fond of science questioning religion. a witch hunt in the modern day can easily be seen in Major league baseball. although accusations against the Houston Astros are true all the members of the team were being treated as though they were being dragged through witch hunt having evidence being compiled so quickly to strip them of their dignity and pride(better than being hanged).

  19. The Salem Witch Trials took place in Massachusetts in 1692-1693. In “A Brief History of the Salem Witch Trials”, it explains how the witch trials started. Three young girls started having “fits”, and when asked about it, they blames three women. When interrogated, Sarah Good and Sarah Osbourne were let off inncent. This is where things get interesting. The third accused, Tituba, claimed guilty and said that she was serving the Devil. Although some time later, these witches were found to having mental illnesses or eating ergot-contaminated foods. What I found most interesting was that all these innocent women were found guilty of being a witch and were killed or died in jail, all because of a small lie that started it all.
    An example of a modern day witch hunt that I can think of is the story of Steven Avery. He was a man that was falsely accused of raping and killing a woman and was sent to jail for 18 years, just to eventually be found innocent after DNA evidence. This relates to many of the people involved in the witch hunts. Years after the witch hunts, all those who were accused had their names made clear.

  20. For my comparison, I’ve chosen the following quote from the Demonology document: “Demonological axioms were thus presented as incontrovertible truths. To doubt the reality of witchcraft, in other words, was tantamount to heresy.” This is to say, that if one at the time were to defy the beliefs of the catholic church, they would be subject to a potentially horrific fate, like that of witches. This is something that would’ve been unquestionably accepted by the mass populous at the time, due to the degree of influence the catholic church had on individuals’ beliefs.
    An example of a 21st century witch hunt that echoes the same sociopolitical issues as mentioned above is The Lavender Scare in 1950. Homosexuals were targeted indiscriminately by McCarthy era witch hunts. This was because homosexuality was classified as a mental disorder at the time; much like medieval-era society, this is something that the populous believed the science of without question, despite it being an utterly inhumane way to treat people. This close-mindedness of people, in the sense that they will ascribe to only popular beliefs, and no ever question the current group-think indoctrinated by the catholic church and demonologists.

  21. When I found out we would be looking at the Salem Witch Trials in class, I was more than excited to discuss my opinion and history. From the article written by Jess Blumberg, this specific quote stood out to me and it says; “19 were hanged on Gallows Hill, a 71-year-old man was pressed to death with heavy stones, several people died in jail and nearly 200 people, overall, had been accused of practicing “the Devil’s magic.”” Whenever I learn or read more about the Salem Witch Trials, I always think that so many lives would have been saved if they didn’t jump to major and life changing conclusions. Even after everything was done and the lives were already taken, they tried to “go back” and clear everyone’s name but it was too late. The way the witch trials were brought up is an excellent example of humans becoming “monsters” and falsely accusing these innocent people and taking their lives away. Interestingly enough, my nine times great grandfather was Samuel Wardwell, and he was accused of witchcraft and was hanged in 1692 along with Martha Corey, Mary Eastey, Alice Parker, and many more. I actually visited Salem in April of 2017 and visited his grave stone, along with the others who were hanged in 1692.
    Over the years, Johnny Depp has been accused of abusing his wife on multiple accounts. You could say that the ongoing “search” or “witch hunt” for the truth went on for years to clear Depp’s name. The accusations made against Depp were true but his ex wife decided to drop all charges against him. In 2017, he also made a vulgar joke about assassinating Donald Trump by referencing Abraham Lincolns murder. There were many controversies made by different news outlets, but in the end, Depp had made a public apology towards the President. Johnny Depp will forever be one of my favorite actors, but that doesn’t mean he’s a perfect human. He himself has become a monster through his actions in his past marriage. There are plenty of examples of public figures becoming monsters, it seems inevitable since they’re given so much “power” and some end up abusing it instead of using it in a positive way.

  22. From the first Smithsonian link the statement, “Under pressure from magistrates Jonathan Corwin and John Hathorne, the girls blamed three women for afflicting them” stood out to me. I felt this statement from the article was important to our understanding of the persecution of witches because it provides evidence that appears to be tampered with. Due to the pressure from Jonathan Corwin and John Hathorne, the three little girls all under the age of 12, blamed three random women in the village. It seems odd that two older men would pressure three little girls into blaming three older women for their childish actions. I feel the little girls were just being children and fooling around how children do and the people of the village felt that how they were acting was strange, therefore, in order to take the attention of the villagers off the little girls, they blamed these three older women. The families did not want to be viewed oddly, and in order to save their reputations they blamed the minorities of the village, the three women, one being a Caribbean slave, a homeless beggar and the other a poor old woman.
    Something that occurs on the daily that connects to the ideologies that define witch hunts is peer pressuring. The concept of peer pressuring is something that happens today, but is what also occurred during the witch hunts many years ago. People were pressured into pointing out and picking who was and was not a witch during that time period. Like I stated in the paragraph before, three little girls were pressured by two older men into picking three women who supposedly cast a spell on them or something. People would accuse others of being witches even if they did not know of them just because someone else claimed them to be a witch. If one did not agree with the witch accusers then they too could be accused of being a witch.

  23. In the second Smithsonian link, it discusses a movement going on in India that is “helping provide a voice to women who wouldn’t otherwise have one.” The point of the movement is to allow women who are being accused of being witches a fighting chance. Women who are accused of possessing witchcraft are eventually killed if not killed on the spot. These people in India are so closed-minded and they immediately accuse innocent women for unspeakable things that they have zero part in. Just because a man died from a stomach illness, a random woman was accused of using witchcraft to kill him. The villagers have no evidence as to how these accused women are actually witches, and instead of trying to find evidence as to how these women might be witches, they immediately kill them for being something they clearly are not. This notion is important to our understanding of the persecution of witches because it provides more evidence as to why witch hunts should not exist nor ever have existed.

    This idea of witch hunts relates to bullying in today’s world. People are accused for something that is false for no good reason, and they are picked on and hurt just for being different. In this case, the women in India are the one’s being bullied by the villagers. It is a shame how closed-minded people can really be. People can accuse others of such impossible acts with zero evidence, and still have support from other closed-minded people. As more people feed into something and support something wrong, the easier it is to occur over and over again. The movement going on in India is similar to harassment, intimidation, and bullying laws in the state of New Jersey.

  24. The idea I found most interesting was from the article named, “A Brief History of the Salem Witch Trials.” One specific part I found interesting was the three women who were accused and then specifically persecuted for one mentioned the devil and witchcraft. Moreso the entire ideology of guilty until proven innocent was intriguing since it reminds me a lot of today. In current times it really feels like any one person can scream bloody murder about anything they choose at any individual and basically destroy an entire person’s career, or even their life. This happens all over social media all of the time. It used to be called witch hunting, and now, it’s called cancel culture.

  25. Witch hunts have been throughout history, during early times when they first began they consulted tests that would “Prove” the person is a witch. These tests were a death sentence no matter if innocent or not, as usual, the stipulation was “If you survive you’re a witch if you die its not our problem anymore.” So most of the time if someone wanted a specific person removed from their life it was as simple as an accusation that they were a witch and anything they say will be considered false. In modern times it uses a lot in politics as people will send their followers to verbally attack an opposing part or system. However, in other cases, it happens despite the person not wanting it. A youtube group I watch called “The DanPlan” had a falling out recently where one of the members left the group. That member specified what was going on and told his followers to not target the leader of the group. Before the leader of “The Dan Plan” could respond he was bombarded by hate and harassment from a lot of people without hearing their side which focuses on the idea once called out nothing you say or can say will be considered truth.

  26. I remember learning about the witch trials when I was younger and was horrified by the large amount of women (and men) who were killed for being witches. One thing that always stuck out to me when reading these sources was that everyone who was tried was considered different for their fellow neighbors or because someone needed to take the blame. For example, the Salem witch trials started around when people became displaced and resources were running out, and the first three women tried were a slave, a homeless beggar, and elderly. The same is seen in modern day India with women taking the fall for natural disasters and diseases, and women are still considered lesser than man in some parts of the world. Another minority in the modern day that is part of a “witch hunt” is the LGBTQA+ community. Those who openly identified as a member of this community often lost the support of many of the support of many close to them, and many have died either by their own the hands of those against LGBTQA+ people. The connection continues to expand when many Christian branches don’t allow LGBTQA+ people to be one the clergy let alone in their churches as it is “sinful” to not be heterosexual and stick with their assigned gender. It was two years ago that Tanzania had a gay witch-hunt and conversion therapy is still occurs in many parts of the United States today with 698,000 LGBT adults have received conversion therapy in 2018 and over have of them have received it starting in their adolescents.

  27. When reading about the deadly witch hunts that still occur in India it stated, “In 2003, five women were publicly tied up, tortured and murdered after being accused of using witchcraft to kill a male villager who had suffered from a stomach illness.” I can’t believe people still believe people are being murdered for something that isn’t even real. It also disturbs me how much of a public event the burning of witches was. I understand that they wanted to put out an example so others didn’t follow in their path, but I feel as though observers began to actually enjoy it. The thing that comes to mind when thinking about modern day witch trials, I mostly think about the amount of hate celebrities get online. For example, the Kardashian’s, while they do have many fans, I feel comfortable saying they have a similar amount of haters. People aren’t physically burning them with fire, but they most definitely burn them with words and that can be hard to live with no matter what.

  28. The article “Women Shut Down Deadly Witch Hunt in India” reminds me of what our society does to people today, I mean obviously not to the extreme of death but we call people something they are not because that’s how we view their behavior or what they find to be normal we find un-normal. That just goes back to the question what even is normal. I have some very close friends who believe in another “higher being” or they know that they can hear, see, and sometimes speak to these people(ghost). It seems like a crazy concept to grasp but it does happen and I don’t know why anymore is thinking they can stop it from existing when they’ve been around for centuries now. Reading these text opened up my horizon to witch hunts and just how many people have been affected by a “witch”.

    I’ve had the great opportunity to visit Salem and perform the piece “The Crucible” yes it is a play, but it also told the story of these “witch hunts” very well. We learned all about the background of witch hunting and the story of Abigail Williams who was accused of being a witch for nothing other than having great lust for a married, over aged man. Now this type of witch hunt was not necessarily a witch hunt at all being that the only character who remotely is a witch is Tituba. If you don’t know the story I suggest reading it.

  29. 1. An interesting quote from “Young Goodman Brown” by Nathaniel Hawthorne is “Had Goodman Brown fallen asleep in the forest, and only dreamed a wild dream of a witch-meeting?
    Be it so, if you will. But, alas! it was a dream of evil omen for young Goodman Brown.” This question makes the reader doubt that the events of the story were real, but in the end it was real to Goodman Brown. This is seen in real life with people who are religious. Some religious people will perceive a situation in a way that reflects their faith. This is why witch trials became a thing to begin with, because the peoples’ fear of the unknown along with their beliefs led them to think that anyone strange were witches working with the devil.

    2. A modern witch hunt that I remembered is how certain countries attack those who are not heterosexual. For example, as a with a Jamaican family, I know that homosexuality is illegal in Jamaica, and that some people go out of there way to inflict violence on people who are gay, such as throwing stones or physically assaulting them. These negative attitudes are usually based on religious beliefs.
    People are still fighting for individuals in the LGBT community to live freely and safely.

  30. The Salem Witch trials is a example of mass hysteria.

    Recent witch hunts examples is the killing of Cecil the lion. Walter Palmer, an American dentist and hunter who killed Cecil the lion, faced online and offline harassment for killing the lion.

  31. In the second Smithsonian link, it discusses a movement going on in India that is “helping provide a voice to women who wouldn’t otherwise have one.” The point of the movement is to allow women who are being accused of being witches a fighting chance. Women who are accused of possessing witchcraft are eventually killed if not killed on the spot. These people in India are so closed-minded and they immediately accuse innocent women for unspeakable things that they have zero part in. Just because a man died from a stomach illness, a random woman was accused of using witchcraft to kill him. The villagers have no evidence as to how these accused women are actually witches, and instead of trying to find evidence as to how these women might be witches, they immediately kill them for being something they clearly are not. This notion is important to our understanding of the persecution of witches because it provides more evidence as to why witch hunts should not exist nor ever have existed.
    Chanakya English PDF

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