The Witch Craze was generated by the prevailing Puritan ethic, which owas so rigid that it tolerated no deviation in dress, speech, thought, or action; any such deviation was considered sinful, and punishable under law. Any unusual or unexplained phenomenon could be ascribed to witchcraft; illnesses, injuries, crop failures, and even adverse weather conditions could be blamed upon witches. Seizures were thought to be clear evidence of demonic possession brought on by witchcraft. This hysterical mass mood also created opportunities for persons with a grudge against a neighbor to exact revenge by accusing the neighbor of practicing witchcraft. In such cases, the burden of proof was borne by the accused, who often had to undergo torture to prove his or her innocence.
Oct 5th, 2014
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