Salem Witch Trials

Discussion in 'Baptist History' started by Jim1999, Mar 4, 2003.

  1. Jim1999

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    Has anyone read extensively on the Salem Witch Trials? I happened upon a movie on the telly about the trials. It was rather disturbing. I remember reading something many years ago, but after checking three history books (Christian) found very little in details.

    I am interested in the theological views of those who put the people on trial and eventually hanged them unmercifully. I don't often get teary-eyed at pictures, but I confess a weakness tonight.

    Cheers,

    Jim
     
  2. rsr

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    Jim, I didn't watch the movie. "The Crucible," Arthur Miller's masterpiece, was compelling, but it was an allegory of McCarthyism in the United States.

    Baptists have no truck -- or sadly, given some on this board, should have no truck -- with such persecution.

    And it is worth noting that Baptists were persecuted in Massachusetts.
     
  3. Johnv

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    The Salem Witch Trials are an unfortunate scar and travesty that is part of our Christian history. It is good to acknowlege and learn from it, so as to improve our churches today.
     
  4. Aaron

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    I heard Dr. D. James Kennedy say there was not one witch put to death in the United States, and that the hype over the Salem witch trials is grossly misrepresenting.
     
  5. Jim1999

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    I have not read enough about it to say yea or nay. There is record of some women and men being hanged in Salem. I am looking for historical evidence.

    I do know that the Puritains were guilty of punishing some people in England by barbarous means. Perhaps the same mentality carried over to Massachusetts.

    Perhaps it is a lesson not to be so quick to judge and point fingers at those who do not quite meet our standards or doctrines.

    Cheers,

    Jim

    This is a site of interest: http://etext.lib.virginia.edu/salem/witchcraft/texts/
     
  6. Walls

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    Was that movie "3 soveriegns for Sarah"?

    That was a very accurate movie and quite disturbing to think that such a thing could go on and not be questioned.
     
  7. Wisdom Seeker

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    Jim, I watched the movie entitled "The Salem Witch Trials" last night on television. I saw a simular show called the Crucible not that long ago too.

    The origins of the religion in question is puritanism.

    I found the movie very sad as well. American history in the beginning was very savage wasn't it? I wonder if my ancestors were anywhere near where all of that happened. I have relatives that came over on the Mayflower and some of them settled in Massechusetts. It's a bit desturbing to think about.

    Puritanism and the Salem Witch Trials

    Laurenda
     
  8. Johnv

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    Dr Kennedy is right. None of the nineteen (I think it was nineteen) people executed on charges of witchery were witches. They were all innocent.

    I have great respect for Dr Kennedy, but, considering that he was, from the pulpit, proclaiming that Thomas Jefferson never had sexual relations with slaves, I unfortunately feel that Dr Kennedy has offerred as much, if not more, revisionist history than those he accuses of doing the same.
     
  9. LadyEagle

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    Do you have a source, John? I'd really like to see one rather than rely on rumor. Thanks.
     
  10. Jim1999

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    Who is Dr. Kennedy when he is at home? I don't know him from Adam, so whatever he says means nothing to me. I will put more trust in official government records on this matter and they definitely point to hangings and subsequent confessions of lying on the part of witnesses. It is in interesting time in Christian history and certainly a caution for legalistic fundamentalist who are fast to point fingers.

    Cheers,

    Jim
     
  11. Johnv

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    He did so on his program, "The Coral Ridge Hour", which is seen weekly. I saw it with my own eyes, and heard it with my own ears. I used to watch his program somewhat regularly.
     
  12. RebelBaptist

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    I once saw something very interesting regarding the Salem Witch Trials, which I believe was on the History Channel.

    According to some scientific speculation, the cause of the girls' visions of satanic activity and spirits may have been caused by the grain they were eating.

    Grain storage at the time was not very good, and over time a chemical would be formed on the wheat (not always, but possible) that was very similar to LSD. So when they partook of the wheat, they may have ended up hallucinating because of drug ingestion.

    And interesting take on the matter, isn't it?

    From the Southland,
    Rebel [&gt;&lt;]
     
  13. Helen

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    The Salem witch trials and executions were the sum of a number of causes:

    1. Cotton Mather was preaching against witchcraft and warning that the devil was delighted whenever one of the Puritans fell into temptation.

    2. Samuel Parris was the only minister the town could get to stay, and even then half the town was against him. So there were antagonisms in the town festering from the start.

    3. Tituba, the Parris' slave, was the main winter attraction for the girls in that group. They would go and listen to her tell the Bible stories her way (much more interesting than Parris' stormy three hour sermons!), and then mix them with the occultism she had learned as a child. So the girls' heads became filled with a combination of Bible, witchery, palm-reading, ghosty stories, etc.

    4. And yes, the rye grain. Ergot is the same fungus from which LSD is made, and it can wreak havoc when it gets into rye grain. This probably initiated in little Elizabeth Parris and the older girls the seizures and 'visions' which precipitated the accusations and trials and, finally, executions.

    So it was a number of things which came together at that time: the climate of the times, Tituba's stories, barely contained problems in the town already, and, finally, the ergot in the rye.

    Evidently the ergot was confined to the Parris cellar, for it was only the girls who ate there who had the seizures and visions.

    However, when they saw the attention they were getting, it seems quite evident from the history as it has come down that a couple of them played it up to the full to try to get rid of people they did not like.

    A strange time...

    Here is a little about the ergot
    http://www.pbs.org/wnet/secrets/case_salem/clues.html

    more can be found using a search engine
     
  14. Walls

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    Helen, the movie above explains what you have posted although it doesn't say anything about the grain. If you are doing a study it is well worth your time to watch this.
     
  15. Helen

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    Thanks, Walls. I spent some time researching it a number of years ago in response to some student questions. There are a number of good books out on this episode in history, but believe it or not, one of the best and most accurately written was written for jr hi students! It is Shirley Jackson's "The Witchcraft of Salem Village". It also did not deal with the subject of the rye grain except as a possibility in the last paragraph of the Afterward, but did an excellent job with everything else, including what happened to the principle players later, the letters of repentance, etc.

    Amazing where you can find some of the best material!
     
  16. baptistriddles

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    I think it's great that people can intellengently study things like this...so they can give answer if they are ever asked about it. It's good for the world to see that we aren't the empty-headed "bots" some claim we are!
    -Cheryl R.
     
  17. Baptist Believer

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    Amen sister! I don't believe I've had the pleasure of responding to you yet.... Welcome to Baptist Board! :D
     
  18. timothy 1769

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    would it be wrong today to establish laws outlawing witchcraft? how about with the death penalty?
     
  19. Jim1999

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    Timothy,
    Which religion would be next? Christianity? Baptist churches?

    The Wiccan religion exists to-day and they have the same rights we all enjoy. We need to do a better job of presenting the truth as it is in God and in His word.

    Cheers,

    Jim
     
  20. Helen

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    I'll tell you, Jim, I would sure like to see Wicca as shoved out of the schools today as Christianity is!
     

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