Rhetoric is only as potent as its source material – this is why any allusion to the Salem Witch Trials of 1692 is so effective. What comes immediately to mind is the hideous and completely unfound legal proceedings – based mostly on superstition, irrational paranoia, Puritanism-fueled mass hysteria, and deception–which resulted in 19 wrongful executions, each one hanged, burned, or drowned for some ill-fated finger-pointing. The imagery evoked is just as barbaric and painful as the means by which these accused “witches” were tried and ultimately “proven” guilty. (In actuality, most of the “afflicted” were just suffering from some mental illness medical science hadn’t quite caught up to at the time, “evil” being amongst the worst know epidemics.) Here are ten ways their verdict was ascertained:
Keep Reading: 10 Tests For Guilt at the Salem Witch Trials.
By Natalie Wolchover via LiveScience
Historical records indicate that, worldwide, witch hunts occur more often during cold periods, possibly because people look for scapegoats to blame for crop failures and general economic hardship. Fitting the pattern, scholars argue that cold weather may have spurred the infamous Salem witch trials in 1692.
The theory, first laid out by the economist Emily Oster in her senior thesis at Harvard University eight years ago, holds that the most active era of witchcraft trials in Europe coincided with a 400- year period of lower-than-average temperature known to climatologists as the “little ice age.”Oster, now an associate professor of economics at the University of Chicago, showed that as the climate varied from year to year during this cold period, lower temperatures correlated with higher numbers of witchcraft accusations.
Keep Reading: Did Cold Weather Cause the Salem Witch Trials? | Weather Patterns & Witchcraft Accusations | Bizarre News | LiveScience.