Ergotism

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    The Theory of Ergotism as the Cause of the Salem Witch Trials There are many theories about the beginning of the Salem Witch Trials that took place in the late 1600’s. The Salem Witch Trials were an outbreak of hysteria leading to the deaths of many who were accused of witchcraft. One such theory is the outbreak of Ergot on rye bread that the villagers use as a food source caused the girls who started the panic to have mass hallucinations and delusions (L. Annika). The theory is that the three girls who started the panic consumed the Ergot and started having hallucinations, the hallucinations could have been the cause of the girls behavior (L. Annika). Ergotism is involved in many plagues such as the Bubonic plague and the Holy Fire (“Ergot…

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    The Puritans

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    According to Ergotism: The Satan Loosed in Salem, Ergot is a poisonous fungus that grows on rye grain. The fungus works by attaching to the nervous system of the individual who ingests it. Symptoms of Ergot poisoning include body pain, trembling, muscle spasms, confusion, and hallucinations. Some scholars argue that the climate conditions of Salem, Massachusetts, in 1692 were adequate for ergot fungus to grow on the Puritan’s crops (Caporael,…

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    A common belief is that the people had ingested a psychotropic known as ergot. Ergot grows on rye and when it is ingested it creates an effect in the human body known as ergotism. Ergotism, known as St.Anthony's Fire or the Holy Fire at the time, caused the muscles to spasm uncontrollably and makes the afflicted to contort and writhe in agony. (Wong,n.p.) Rye was a commonly grown grain in France during the time that the dancing plague occurred, so it is easy to see why people would believe this…

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    Causes Of The Rye In 1692

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    It all started in the harvest season of 1692, when the village of Salem’s minister noticed that his nine year old daughter and his niece started to obtain strange symptoms. The little girls started to blame people of being witches and that they were the ones who caused them to be sick. But were the people who were blamed actually guilty? The village of Salem mostly grew rye, which is a type of oat. During the time of these witch accusations was when the rye would grow the most. Rye can get a…

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    Ergotism In Salem

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    materialize” (Kences). So by 1692, the people of Salem were strung taut by high tensions over impending Native American attack, and internal economic and religious division. The building pressure left Salem as a powder keg just waiting for a spark to ignite an explosion of violence. There were several factors that influenced the authority in Salem to disregard the previous system, that gave young people the power to ruin the lives of those around them disregarding the long held belief that…

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    There are many different ideas of what may have caused the Salem Witch Trails. Some believe the girls were out for vengeance in The Crucible. Evidence found that a fungus could have been the culprit. The bread that the girls made during that time could have a fungus, ergot. Some signs off this was the weather, the present symptoms, and information about ergot. First, lets define what ergot is, a fungus that grows on rye and less common on other grasses such as wheat (webmd.com). Rye bread was…

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    Impact of Loyalty in The Crucible The deaths of thirty-seven innocent Salem community members in a three-month span resulted from the witch trials of 1692. These deaths resulted from false accusations for selfish reasons supported by an oppressive Puritan based government in the Salem area. These so-called witch trials are so famous that there have been many works of literature as well as movies based off of them. The most notable of these is Arthur Miller’s The Crucible. It is a story based on…

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    No medical examination records exist to support these claims made by the defense, and other issues exist with their claims furthermore. Ergotism cause severe, common convulsions, in addition to gangrene, and death in many cases. The accused only exhibited minor symtoms of Ergotism when it was convenient for their accusations, thoughdid not suffer any other issues that would undoubtedly accompany their condition. Cushin's syndrome is very uncommon in people under 20 years of age; it would be…

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    type of wheat that many people used to bake bread. Though, the rye that the Puritans grew were consumed with Ergotism. “Ergotism, or long-term ergot poisoning, was once a common condition resulting from eating contaminated rye bread. In some epidemics, it appears that females were more liable…

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    Caporael instead searched for an internal cause that would explain why the afflicted acted the way they did. Previous to her revolutionary discovery, most historians labeled the problem as either a complete fraud or simple hysteria, an outdated and inaccurate medical diagnosis in which women acted in stereotypically un-womanly ways. Unlike previous articles, Caporael searched for a distinct origin of the afflicteds' actions that fit not only the symptoms and effects, but also the climate and…

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