Confusion has set upon me after hearing of the devil meddling with my good friend Sarah Osborne. I should have known marrying her manservant was only the beginning of her scandalous ways. Two more girls, both only a year younger than I, started muttering gibberish in the middle of town; their muttering keeps thundering louder and louder in my head. Although I am filled with confusion, the madness keeps feeling more familiar to me with each passing day. Perhaps my impending guilt is due to jealousy. Why does someone as innocent as me not even get a glance?
Maybe I could have happiness if my specter were to wander at night like the other ‘witches’. It took only one simple accusation to land me in bars. The shackles upon my feet should probably feel more than just cold dead iron. The room is musty and quiet, the only thing filling it are my thoughts about my guilt. At this point, there is no turning back. Why should I not have the same recognition and fate as the others? I begin to wonder how may friends and neighbors will stand forth and testify to my guilt. I am sure the great reverend will mention the sewing pins I keep in my old doll.
This of course to assure that I am casting spells upon the people. And, according to the town doctor the doll only solidifies my guilt as a member of the witchcraft community. Being accused of witchcraft became almost common place in Salem, Massachusetts. Once a finger was pointed it ‘sealed the fate’ the fate of whomever it was pointed at. By playing up the act of witchcraft the women of Salem earned fame and fueled a domino effect. A simple rumor or wrong glance was all it would take to bring attention to young ladies who barely even got a glance or a notice in the past.
“Satan is loose in Salem. And the prince of darkness is a master of disguise (Witchcraft Hysteria, 2005)”. The people began accusing their neighbor’s spirits of wandering into bedrooms at night, young girls hovering off the ground, and simple devil worship. These were considered the core of the entire problem. But of course, the real reason was simple fear. The unknown can cause panic. Very few were admonished by the judges and their peers. At some point and time guilt is the acceptable option even though many claimed their innocence through the whole ordeal.
If someone did anything out of the ordinary, or an impending illness caused them to have a fever and hallucinate, it was assumed that these individuals were guilty of worshipping the devil and practicing his malicious and evil ways. Panic then played on the towns folk who then started accusing and pointing fingers, or simply making up stories just to bring drama into a quiet and peaceful town. Why fight a losing battle when guilt is prejudged due to imagination, panic, and simple fear of the unknown.
References: National Geographic (2005). Salem: Witchcraft Hysteria.