Travel to America in order to examine a famous legal case that took place in Salem Massachusetts in 1692
This week we will travel to America in order to examine a famous legal case that took place in Salem, Massachusetts in 1692. At the time the governance of the Massachusetts Bay Colony was strongly influenced by the strict religious codes of the Puritan Ministry, and many of the laws and punishments were based on those laid out in the Old Testament of the Bible.(The case has been attached)
1. As I stated in the lecture, when we read the accusations against Susanna Martin today, they appear completely nonsensical. For example, one accuser states that the 70-year-old Martin leaped through his window in the middle of the night, sat on him so he could not move, and then flew off into the night sky. Why do you think so many of Martin’s neighbors would come up with similar accusations? Were they all lying? If so, why?
2. One explanation for the symptoms of those were were under the spell witchcraft was that it was an example of a “conversion disorder” that resulted in mass hysteria. (Psychologists today prefer to use the term “mass psychogenic illness” instead of “hysteria”). What do you think of this explanation?
3 The Salem Witch Trials were not an isolated incident. Mass Delusions have been a consistent part of human existence since the beginning of time. Click the link below to read a short and very interesting article on mass delusions throughout the ages. Why do you think human beings are so susceptible to the large-scale hysterics?
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