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This paper is intended to discuss the causes of this hysteria, some of the trials that took place during the year 1692, and what finally stopped the madness of the witch-hunt.The Salem witch trials were fueled by many different things, but the beginning of this hysteria can be traced back to a small group of girls in Salem Village.
Christian Kinsella ranged farther afield, uncovering biographical details about and analyzing the responses of five New York clergymen to questions about witchcraft posed to them by Massachusetts authorities in October--answers that arguably helped to convince Governor Phips to dissolve the Court of Oyer and Terminer.
The most unusual paper included here was submitted in 2010 by Joseph Featherly, a senior majoring in plant pathology, who investigated the evidence for the presence of ergot poisoning in 1692 with the benefit of his expert knowledge.
(See with links to the online papers), and I also arranged for the students to participate in a panel at the 13 Berkshire Conference on the History of Women, held at Scripps College, Claremont, California, in June 2005. Two papers from that class (by Tamar Weinstock and Megan Sweeney) were equally insightful and they appear here.
During the most recent course offering (fall 2010), five papers met my criteria, and they appear here as well.
Betty, Abigail, and two other girls formed one of these groups and were assisted by the Parris family's' black slave, Tituba.
( Tituba, who was originally from Barbados, was very knowledgeable about the voodoo religion, and often told...Usually the seminar enrolls between 10 and 18 students.In 2003, the first iteration, four papers--by Jackie Kelly, Mark Rice, Darya Mattes, and Jedediah Drolet--stood out as contributions to our understanding of the trials.In alphabetical order of the authors' last names, these are: Rachel Benjamin, who researched the background of Giles Corey, the "hero" of some accounts of the trials because of his adamant rejection of the court's authority when he refused to enter a plea.She discovered that Corey the man bore little resemblance to Corey the symbol of principled opposition to the Court of Oyer and Terminer.These were read, unsurprisingly, mostly by young girls and adolescents.Some of the girls who read these books formed small groups to use the divination techniques that they had read about.Abigail Williams was a twelve-year-old orphan who worked for her keep; she did most of the chores because of Betty's illness and cared for her aunt.When they were finished with their chores, there was not much for the girls to do; Rev.Accordingly, in 2003 I first taught a 200 (now 2000) level sophomore seminar--open to all, but aimed primarily at history majors or prospective majors--focusing sharply on 1692 rather than ranging more broadly, as had my previous seminars.The course requirements include a final paper of 10-15 pages based on students' original research.