Salem's Witchcraft Epidemic

The strange behaviour of two young girls, Abigail Williams and Elizabeth Parris, sparked the  infamous Salem Witch Trials on February 29th, 1692, when a Doctor pronounced that they were possessed by Satan.


Accusations of witchcraft snowballed in the Puritan community, leading to a frenzy of trials and hangings. Suspicions fell upon those who deviated from the norm, such as Sarah Goode and Sarah Osborne, viewed as societal outcasts, and Parris slave, Tituba.


In this episode, Arion, Rebecca and Olly explain how even animals fell victim to the hysteria that ensued; uncover the centuries-long wait to clear the name of the accused women; and reveal how the real cause of the panic might simply have been a Reverend’s embarrassment…


Further Reading:

• ‘History of the Salem Witch Trials’ (History of Massachusetts Blog, 2011): https://historyofmassachusetts.org/the-salem-witch-trials/

• ‘The Mysterious Enslaved Woman Who Sparked Salem’s Witch Hunt’ (HISTORY, 2018): https://www.history.com/news/salem-witch-trials-first-accused-woman-slave

• ‘What really happened during the Salem Witch Trials - Brian A. Pavlac’ (Ted-Ed, 2020): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NVd8kuufBhM


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The Retrospectors are Olly Mann, Rebecca Messina & Arion McNicoll, with Matt Hill.

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