full moonSalem village in 1692 was small, and founded on religious principals. Everyone attended the same church. Church attendance was expected of everyone. The town was not a true theocracy, but religion played a large role in both the legal and social aspects of the village.

People sought explanations for the dangers and hardships at the time, and at least some of these were explained as the devil’s acts. Prayer, holiness, quietness, simplicity, dedication, and faithfulness were highly valued not just by a few but by the majority of people in the village.

Then some girls began to act strangely, having “fits” and “spells”. A doctor diagnosed them as being bewitched, and soon they named three women as witches- a slave, a homeless beggar, and a poor widow. The three accused were imprisoned to await trial.

The trials that took place to determine if these three really were witches were held or backed by the clergy, religious leaders of the time. Witchcraft was a spiritual problem, after all, and it was the Bible that said “Thou shalt not suffer a witch to live.”

There is a lot of speculation about why the girls started acting out. It is possible that they felt guilty for dabbling in fortune telling with the slave, Tituba, whom they later accused, and that the fits somehow were connected to this guilt. It’s also possible that there was something toxic in the water that affected them. And it’s just as possible that they were bored and tired of the controlled quiet and work that was expected of them all day every day and enjoyed the release of acting up. All of those are possible. I think many who’ve been spiritually abused might see other reasons…

Read Part One and Three.