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MeSH. Claviceps · Climate · Ergotism · Female · History, 17th Century · Humans · Magic · Massachusetts · Phytotherapy · Secale cereale. Ergotism: The Satan Loosed in Salem? Prior to the Salem witchcraft trials, only five executions on the charge of witchcraft are known to have occurred in. While Ergotism may have not been responsible for all the happenings at Salem, it no doubt played a big part. Hopefully Miss Corpreal publishes this as a book.

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Provided ergot grew and the girls exhibited symptoms of the poisoning, one last issue needs to complete the theory for it to even make a plausible explanation; could the afflicted of Salem Village have consumed ergot? Caporael published her theory forwarding an idea of a physiological explanation, ergot poisoning. He saw the Proctors, who were imprisoned in Boston at the time, but his wife told him that she saw only a “little maid.

Ergotism: the satan loosed in Salem?

The afflictions of the girls did not cease, and in March they accused Martha Corey and Rebecca Nurse. Looses farm lay along that Wooleston River and may have offered good growing conditions rrgotism ergot. The Puritans’ belief in witchcraft was a totally accepted part of their religious tenets. Accusations looded choking, pinching, pricking with pins, and biting by the specter of the accused formed the standard testimony of the afflicted in almost all the examinations and trials When he mounted his horse again, he saw only a cow where he had seen the woman.

Prior to the Salem witchcraft trials, only five executions on the charge of witchcraft are known to have occurred in Massachusetts 3, 4. However, because the Puritans identified i physiological cause, later historians have failed to investigate such a possibility.

Denis Dodart reported the relation between ergotized rye and bread poisoning in a letter to the French Royal Academie des Sciences in When examined in the light of a physiological hypothesis, the content of so-called delusional testimony, previously dismissed as imaginary by historians, can be reinterpreted as evidence of ergotism.


A Common Misconception: The Ergot Theory and the Salem Witch Trials

Samuel Parris in a central area of the village, but Thomas Putnam was a leading support of the minister in a time of divisive conflict and one of the wealthier men in the village requiring that Ergotisk pay more in taxes. At that time, the examination were moved from the outlying farming area to the town and were heard by Deputy Governor Danforth saem six of the ablest magistrates in the colony, including Samuel Sewall.

One document offered as evidence against Proctor indicated that Mary stayed overnight in the village The major difficulty in accepting the explanation of purposeful fraud is the gravity of the girls’ symptoms; all the eyewitness accounts agree to the severity of swtan affliction 6, 10, 11, Reading the Witch Trials of, Cambridge England: Caporael From Science Vol.

The importance of the witch cake incident has generally been overlooked. The summer was hot and stormy. Numerous hypotheses have been devised to explain the occurrence of the Salem witchcraft trials inyet a sense of bewilderment and doubt pervades most of the historical perspectives on the subject.

A brief but loossd bit of testimony comes from a man who experienced visions that he attributed to the evil eye cast on him by an accused witch.

Linda Caporael’s Ergotism Article

The involuntary muscular fibers such as the myocardium and gastric and intestinal muscular coat are stimulated. The physical symptoms of the afflicted and any of the other accusers are those induced by convulsive ergot poisoning. Furthermore, previous witchcraft accusations in other Puritan communities in New England had never brought on mass hysteria. Bayley had the crawling sensations efgotism the skin, disturbances in sensations, and muscular contractions symptomatic of ergotism.

Although Tituba ultimately became quite voluble, her confession was rather pedestrian in comparison with the other testimony offered at the examination and trials. I did it not for any anger, malice or ill will to any person, for Salek ahd no such things against one of them, but what I did was ignorantly, being deluded of Satan. The spectral evidence of zatan trials appears to be the hallucinogenic symptoms and perceptual disturbance accompanying ergotism.

Excluding the afflicted girls, 30 of 32 adult accusers lived ergohism the western section and 12 of the 14 accused witches lived in the eastern section, as did 24 of the 29 defenders One deponent claimed that Sarah later admitted to belying herself and others Betty, Abigail, and Ann Jr.


The problem is primarily one of complexity.

Yes, ergotism tends to infect younger children, but of the afflicted only three were less than fifteen. This contention is further substantiated by the pattern of residence of the accusers, the accused, and the defenders of the accused living within the boundaries of Salem Village Fig.

Ergotism: the satan loosed in Salem?

I have been unable to locate any reference that any of the afflicted girls died prior to Hale’s publications. By continuing to use this website, you agree to their use.

Assuming that ergtism content of the court records is basically an honest account of the deponents’ experiences, the evidence suggests that convulsive ergotism, a disorder resulting from the ingestion of grain contaminated with ergot, may have initiated the witchcraft delusion.

It takes 2 years for ergot in powdered form to reach 50 percent deterioration, and the effects are cumulative 18, However, not all the records are thus accountable. Three were condemned but never executed and the rest were acquitted. The farmers in Salem Village would have begun planting sataj April and harvested in August by the end of the summer. One of the most powerful is isoergine lysergic acid amide.

The sclerotia contain a large number of potent pharmacologic agents, the ergot alkaloids. I justly fear I have been instrumental with others though ignorantly and unwittingly, to bring upon myself and this land the guilt of innocent blood; though what was said or inn by me against any person I can truly and uprightly say before God and man.

Phips appointed a special Court of Oyer and Terminer, which heard it first case on 2 June.