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End of the Witch Craze
- -It declined from 1670-1750 (last execution was by Switzerland in 1782).
- -Persisted longer in rural and Christian areas than in urban and Catholic locations.
- -More decapitation instead of burning at the stake
- -Gradual redefinition of witchcraft laws in 18th century
- -Legal, intellectual, religious elite turned against belief in witchcraft; popular belief followed
- -Persecutions became perceived as disruptive to social order
- -Wrote “Crime of Magic” (no crime of witches; inquisitors make them up)
- -He gained support of King to stop witch trials by royal decree.
- -Heused the work of Spee and the Cartesian method to argue that Witch hunts should be stopped since no positive proof could ever be offered of copulation with demons or pacts with the Devil
- -refers to sorcery that was done to trick and get people to give them money.
- -magic is no longer considered real and those who claim to have such powers were punished
- -prosecute people for pretending to have magical powers because they aren’t “real” anymore
- -Witches’ Bath now seen as rioting under Riot Act
- -Witchcraft now divorced from heresy
- mid-17th century
- -gradual separation of church and state
- -battle between superstition and reason
- -Emphasis on reason and science, rather than religion/God.
- -new way people think of God
- -He is a “clock maker”; he made the world and then has nothing to do with it after
- .-supreme being does not intervene in human affairs or suspend the natural laws of the universe
- -science replaces religion and the legal system is based on positive proof and evidence
- -disenchantment of the world
- -witchcraft/magic has no room in this system
- -servant in Samuel Willard’s household, 16 years old-1671-1672: she was observed over 4 months and found that she would laugh immoderately, shriek, invisible forces strangling her, crying, hallucinating, violent fits.
- -She accused a neighbor but he (Willard) ignored her. She says the devil made her does NOT admit to signing his book.
- -doctor said it was “foulness” of the stomach (food poisoning?)
- -Willard’s response: keep praying --> she recovered eventually and went back to normal-she was never accused. He did a good job of keeping it under control
- - son of Increase Mather
- -prominent and powerful in 16th century New England; he studied at Harvard
- -was a difficult man, wanted to prove that spirits are present in every day world
- -evidence to disprove Sadducism (denied resurrection of dead and the existence of spirits) of this corrupt age.
- -prayer as prosecution against evil
- -Howen, Hughes
- -Offered Mercy Short spiritual counsel and suppressed her accusations of witchcraft
- -Cotton'sself-contradicting positions on the use of spectral evidence and the prosecution of the Salem witches heavily swayed the directions of the trial proceedings and the executions
- -4 children (2 girls and 2 boys), ages 5 to 13 years old-start having fits and symptoms (temporary deafness, blindness, tongue drawn down throat, jaws out of joint)
- -only treated through prayer
- -oldestdaughter had the most severe symptoms; prior to the symptoms, she had an argument with the washer woman about a missing linen
- -Puritanminister who interpreted the war as God’s punishment: “Why should we suppose that God is not offended with us, when his displeasure is written, in such visible and bloody character”
- -Mather returned to New England on May 14, 1692 with not simply a new charter, but also a new Governor, Sir William Philips
- -IncreaseMather was friends with the judges, was not ready to admit that innocent blood had been shed; but: sermon “Cases of Conscience Concerning Evil Spirits Personating Men”: “It were better that ten suspected witches should escape than that one innocent person should be condemned”
- -helped bring trials to an end
- -accused of being a witch-cheated out of her inheritance and became a beggar/pauper
- -Before she was executed, she cursed at Parris that God will give him blood to drink: ““I am not a witch; if you take away my life God will give you
- blood to drink” (this caused tension and guilt among the people because they felt that if she really was guilty, she wouldn’t be saying this right before death)
-Neighbor Sibley suggested a witch cake (rye mixed with the urine of one of the afflicted) which was prepared by Parris’ Indian slave, Tituba, and fed to the dog
Ann Putnam Junior
- -daughter of Thomas Putnam
- -Thomas Putnam Jr. testified against twelve persons and signed complaints against twenty-four; his wife Ann, his 12-year old daughter, Ann Jr. and a servant girl in his house, Mercy Lewis were all among the afflicted
-doctor that is called to assess the girls, he calls it the “evil hand” because he saw the devil’s work in it
- -was fourth arrest
- -was a church member, but had once given birth to an illegitimate son-was against the witch craze
- -she wanted to prevent her husband from going to the examination of Tituba
Martha Corey’s husband, 80 years oldfirst “accused” his wife (did not mean to) was later on himself accused; refused to be triedto prevent the confiscation of his estate, he was pressed to death by rocks put on his chest
· 71 years old
· has 8 children
· famous for her piety
- ·doesn’t speak because she is confused and hard of
- hearing; but says: I am clear and innocent
· 39 people signed a petition in her favor but no good
- · mother of the Nurse sisters had been accused of
- witchcraft by Ann’s family
· family involved in a land dispute with various members of the Putnam family (boundaries of their land)
- -4 years old, daughter of Sara Good
- -was accused
- -ran family tavern, lived because she got pregnant, 3rd wife of John, doll was actually in Bridget Bishop’s house, lack of sexual response would actually be a good thing in Puritanism, but in the book is seen as bad and driving Proctor into infidelity
- - In play: old crone, cold, housewife, nagging
- -has 5 children with Elizabeth, 60 yrs old, not 35 (in book), tavern keeper as well as a farmer, hated hypocrites, thought the girls should be whipped, showed skepticism of their claims, actually opposed the trials because his son had previously been tortured
- -inherited property in Ipswich, did very well with his tavern
- -In play: affair with Abigail, turned into a hypocrite himself, opposes
- trials because of his accused wife, farmer only, seen and read as a hero
- who stands up for “what is right” (this is a distortion)
- -Native American not African American
- -in her 20s not 40s
- -sold in Barbados and brought to Massachusetts by Samuel Parris in 1680
- -She wouldn’t have known voodoo; no proof she took part in any occult activities; not part of her cultural background
- -was part of Arawak tribe (peaceful, unaggressive unlike very resistant Carib tribe)
- -She was married to John Indian and had a daughter named Violet-among the first 3 accused (along with Sarah Good and Sarah Osborne)
- -Parris beat confession out of her --> later said it wasn’t true-She wasn’t executed during the witch trials, but was sent to prison for 13 months.
- -Miller turns her into a critic of Puritan society
- -lives with her uncle, Samuel Parris
- -age 11 not 17
- -Miller portrays her as the mastermind of the whole witch hunt
- -She is actually the onne manipulated by her uncle
- -Never had an affair with John Proctor.
- -veteran of King Phillip’s War
- -He signed all the witch accusations-was a minister
- -oneof the major advocates of the trials and sought to exert influence on the proceedings as one of the most prosperous residents and influential church members
- -ran a tavern (with drinking and gambling) and was considered evil because of her profession
- -she was the first to be executed by hanging
- -They found a doll in her house and assumed it was voodoo
- -ex-minister of Salem Village accused of killing 2 ex-wives
- -was able to recite the lords prayer perfectly before execution, which made people uncomfortable because they believed if they were possessed by the devil they would mess up on any bible verse or prayer of the Lord.
- -conducted the public examinations of the girls’ trials in the meeting house.
- -most likely caused losses of Fort Loyal and Falmouth because he recommended the withdrawal of militiamen → was invested in believing in the witches’
- guilt because he needed to believe that he wasn’t guilty of causing New England’s woes
- -the new Governor of Massachusetts that arrived from London in May of 1692, brought by Increase Mather
- -ended the trials by forbidding further imprisonment or trials
- -Phips appoints a special court, the Court of Oyer and Terminer
- -He was also a hero of the second Indian war?
- -Two little girls begun to have strange fits after 150 Native Americans took York by surprise. They testified to have seen/ heard black men (Indian)
- perturbing them.
- -Possession is highly important in Salem -
- - some kind of demon or spirit comes and takes over the body; the demon makes the person do things that they wouldn’t normally do. It can be divinely or diabolically inspired.
- -Resembled the core religious experience of conversion/spiritual awakening
- -But also the rival Quaker shakings and tremblings
- -Uncertainty: interpretation depended on context
- -negative aspect: too many reported cases made God look weak
- -example of case: Samuel Willard’s servant Elizabeth Knapp
- -evidence of divine intervention and the existence of god
- -“Such divine judgments, tempests, floods, earthquakes, thunders, as are unusual strange apparitions, or whatever else shall happen that is prodigious, witchcrafts, diabolical possessions...are to be reckoned among illustrious providences”
- -Increase Mather-Every event in nature is an act of divine will-Harvest failures, sickness, death are all ways for God to express his discontentment
Witchcraft and Puritanism
- -Puritans were predisposed to believe that Native Americans participated in Devil worship
- -witchcraft is NOT of central importance in Puritan thought-- we only think so because we know about Salem
- -Satan & witchcraft is inseparable
- -Satan is a fallen angel; powerful-Puritans can never relax in their continual struggle to defeat Satan
- -witchcraft= visible manifestation of Satan’s presence, proof of his existence and demonstration of his powers; endpoint of a continuum of sin
- -not gender specific-fundamental human impulse toward evil (original sin); predisposition to witchcraft
Satan and Puritanism
- -God tests peoples faith through satan - punishes disbelievers, warns the believers
- -also see witchcraft and puritanism
Salem Village vs. Salem Town (Now Danvers & Peabody)
- -Village was poor and under-served. The village provided goods and food to the town.
- -In real life, the witch trials occurred in the village and not in the town.
- -no name and no legal existence of its own; no meetinghouse and church til late 1680
- -Village was governed by Salem Town and also had to pay tax to fund the construction of new Salem Town meetinghouse.
- -Village: subsistence farming, agrarian values, more conservative
- -land disputes between village and town-people had no political rights-- worked for people in town
- -Village officially separated in 1752
- -Town: rich part, harbor, Atlantic coast north of Boston
- -1 of 2 official ports of entry; thriving international trade
-Patterns of accusation: Salem Possessed attributes trouble to the conflicts between town and village and the factionalism between Porter and Putnam families in the village, which was articulated in the disputes over hiring and keeping the village minister
Children and Witchcraft
- -Mora/Sweden 1699/1670: a royal commission investigates a case of witchcraft, interviews with almost 300 children; the children confess to dancing at the Sabbath etc., 70 women are executed
- -Children were targeted because they were easily swayed (confessed without knowing)
- -Children are associated with innocence; not been soiled by society --> have a particular power (that’s why witches want to eat them)
- -Most children who were interviewed were orphans, beggars, and children of accused witches.
- -easily manipulated-children accused others and would also denounce themselves (ages 3-12)
Mary Beth Norton's theory (Salem and Native Americans)
- -the afflicted girls’ symptoms were caused by the fear of the Native American wars: Just about everyone involved in the Salem witch episode had suffered or knew of someone who had suffered losses in the eras now called King Philip's and King William's Wars
- -King Philip’s War (1675-1676): one of the deadliest wars in American history; entire communities were wiped out, more than half of the communities in New England were destroyed, people were killed and their property holdings destroyed; the Native Americans who survived were sold into slavery
- -King William’s War (1689-1697): Second Indian War, entire communities wiped out, Essex county in close proximity to Maine and New Hampshire
- -involve the supernatural
- -kept alive through oral tradition of storytelling (in existence this way for thousands of years) that were passed through generations
- -were not meant for children because served as television and pornography of their day (included lots of violence and sexuality)
- -It is in sympathy with the lower class.
- -folktales became fairy tales when they were written down; written by aristocratic ladies in the 18th century
-He was a concentration camp survivor that focused on therapeutic value; the folktale liberates the unconscious of the child so that he or she can work through experiences and anxieties; mostly, the ambivalent attachment to one’s parents
- -wrote an indispensable guide and resource on the folktale, covering all the elements that make folktales "tick": their abstract style, one-dimensional characters, and deliberate lack of detail regarding locale.
- -Lüthi demonstrates how the folktale, by its very distance from reality, can play upon the most important themes of human existence.
- -direct, clear, paratactical, one-dimensional, unexplored motivations, descriptionless world; easy acceptance of the supernatural
-fairytales offer us a glimpse into the human soul or archetypes of the collective unconsciousness.
- -at end of the 17 century, “Pentamerone” and was one of the first recorded versions of a fairytale
- -wrote some fairy tales that attracted Grimms brothers
- -French same as above; first recorded version of fairytale
- -perspective of the bourgeoisie and aristocracy-wrote some fairytales
- -Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm
- -they were German intellectuals from middle class family who were inseparable as brothers
- -They were scholars and involved in politics-compiled a dictionary of the German language
- -In 1806 they began collecting folktales in the Rhineland
- -They published two volumes of their fairytale (“Nursery and Household Tales”) in 1812-1815-translated by Edgar Taylor 1823
Fairy Tales and the Legacy of the European Witch Persecutions
- -Representation of witches in fairy tales reflect legacy of the European witch persecutions and trials in a diluted, secularized form
- -elements of both Catholic and Protestant views on witches
- -In Grimm’s tales: witchcraft is not considered heresy and often not diabolical, no religion; isolated individuals, alone; you can outsmart witches but in persecutions they can never win; tales end with death or banishment but no trials
Fairy Tales and the Catholic/Protestant Concept of the Witch
- -fears of female sexuality, reminiscent of Malleus-emphasis on lust
- -example: women who can’t bear children --Rapunzel
- -witch’s interference with procreation and male potency (Little Briar Rose: childlessness)
- -ritualized, cannibalistic slaughter of children (Snow White)
- -women seducing men and usurping their authority (Hansel and Gretel)
- -Protestant: Often stepmothers, envy of motherhood, often an old crone (ugly looking woman), subverts male authority and threatens the survival of family.
Disney and Fairy Tales
- -Disney witches have retained many characteristics of the Grimm’ witches, exaggerated some aspects and eliminated others
- -Visual median: proper (young, virginal, docile, obedient) vs. deviant (stepmothers, witches, behavior, normative/ideal body images
- -Disney eliminates sadistic violence, overt cannibalism, incestuous implication
- -Disney exaggerates domesticity(performing household chores), harmony with nature(can talk to animals)
- -Negative models: stepmothers/witches dislike children, non-domestic, learned (proto-scientist), cunning, vain, phallic nose, sexualized body, angular, associated with images of death and decay but also with the insignia of knowledge –skulls, books, labs with test tubes
- -some witches glamorous on surface
Sources of the Brothers Grimm
- -they collected tales from middle
- -class informants such as Dorothea Viehmann.
- -the daughters of the pharmacist Hassenpflug
- -Hugenott-influence: derived from the collections by Charles Perrault
- -They also modified the tales significantly in order to shield bourgeois audience
- -eliminated most of the violence from stories, but still left in a lot.
- -eliminated all obvious mentions of sex and pregnancy and incest
- -Also polarized and embellished good and evil figures, added descriptive details and dialogue
Hansel and Gretel
- -witch is often associated with an abusive stepmother who wanted to kill her stepchildren so she didn’t starve (evidence of historical famine), father was kind and loving.-In the original it was the biological mother that was cruel, not the stepmother
- -The witch is described as old, shriveled hands, hunched, evil eyes. Evidence of the European witch persecutions, for example, eating children, burning to death (in the oven).
- -Death of mother coincides with the death of the witch in the gingerbread house in the forest.
- -older version or is it the new version?: stepmother is the witch, follows them into the woods
- -It is a religion and a way of life
- -goal of living in harmony with nature
- -comes from the word paganus (country dweller)
- -it was a broad eclectic movement located in western, industrialized societies since the 1950’s
- -Started out as a mostly white, middle-class phenomenon
- -Dissatisfaction with established religious institutions and social norms
- -desire for greater self-expression, self-fulfillment.
- -a return to/reconstruction of pre-Christian Western nature-based religions; involves the reconstruction of ancient European religions, more diverse now
- -Neo-pagan movements do not include Satanists
- - In 1991 in the US about half of the 200.000 neo-pagans are witches (6.000 Wicca related Web sites) and a Secret Spells Barbie
- -No central organization or doctrine
- · There is no external authority, no set of absolute truths that can tell us how to determine the meaning of our lives
- · A religion of experience, of ritual, of practices, not of dogma and doctrine
- · independent and autonomous groups, tolerance of diversity
- · religion without the middleman
- · Council of American Witches met in 1974: we welcome and respect all Life Affirming teachings and traditions
- -divinities (what is sacred) are immanent in nature and inseparable from nature
- -all life is sacred and interconnected
- -celebrationof fertility and the cycles of nature; one takes from the earth what one needs and returns energy to the earth in some form
- -Action in the world is a means of connecting with the sacred-against dualism (NO dichotomy)
- -the belief in multiple deities.
- -many gods
- -for multiplicity/diversity (go about religion in ways that are right for them)
- -guiding principle: “And it harm none, do what you will”
- -You have the right to free choice and do follow your own course of actions, just do not harm anyone in the process
- -often referred to as old religion, the craft, paganism
- -modern witchcraft-has two main concepts: neo-pagan religion and magical craft.
- -magic often identified with altered state of consciousness, defined by Starhawk
- -Wicca=to bend and shape reality-there is no actual definition
- - a mixture of different religions
- .-3 key principles include polytheism, pantheism, animism. ← the principles are the same for Neopaganism