Theory on Salem Witch Hysteria (1692-1693)

Salem’s Coast (now)

An Alternative Theory to the Salem Witch Hysteria (1692)

In Salem,1692 a community is on edge and intolerance would soon be its master. While many theories have been tested, I have thought about the way people lived in the late 17th century must have contributed to the hysteria. For example, the houses were small, crowded, and damp. Chairs were few; usually only the head of the household had one. The rest sat on benches. 

The understanding of human anatomy is also in flux. Most doctors in the 17th century still adhered to the concept of the four humors within the body. The theory suggests they were specific fluids which were the primary cause for illness. Classified as blood, phlegm, yellow and black bile. It was believed illness set in when a patient had “too much of one” of these in their body’s system. Surgical  operations in the meantime are done by barber-surgeons. (How would you like your barber today to operate on you?)

The life expectancy is 35 years , with most deaths coming in childhood. It had been said if a youngster is able to survive past their teenage years, they could possibly live into their 50s or 60s

Colonists in this century also would have consumed high quantities of cider, rum and beer. Alcoholic drinks were the preferred choice of beverage since drinking water is often deemed unhealthy and dirty.

There are fears of Indian attacks; being abducted, tortured or scalped. Not to mention piracy that saw those swashbuckling sea dogs just off Massachusetts’ coast.

Again, many theorists have argued about the cause of the crisis in Salem MA (1692-1693) . Not a lot have been attributed to lifestyle though. All these proposed ideas as to why, I believe must be included with the closeness of the community. That is, the fears of attacks, abuse and the close proximity to which they lived to one another.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: