Psychological Influences Of Salem Witch Trials Essay

1568 Words Dec 23rd, 2015 7 Pages
In the late 1600’s, several Puritans in the town of Salem were accused of witchcraft and found guilty before being subsequently murdered for it. However, the true cause of what instigated these attacks is still hazy for many historians. Did the root of the problem stem from the mindsets of the Puritans themselves, or was it something else? Ultimately, several sources today suggest that the trouble in Salem was caused by a myriad of factors other than mental illness. Psychological influences were indeed not the predominant cause of the Salem Witch Trials, due to a variety of social and scientific evidence that proves otherwise.
Although some may argue that psychological factors were the only impetus of the witch trials, various modern day accounts and articles dispute such a belief. To begin with, many claim that mass hysteria, a mental disease, is the main cause of the deaths that occurred in Salem. To demonstrate this, one would bring up the fact that one of the symptoms of mass hysteria includes the fact that “when one person gets sick, others in the group also start feeling sick” (text 3, para. 3). These symptoms appear to mirror what happened in Salem, in which as soon as a small group of girls began acting sick, it quickly spread through the rest of the town and resembled witchcraft. However, one must consider the fact that an outside source caused this first group of girls to get sick originally. Whether the origin of this was social pressures or perhaps some outside…

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