What we can learn from the Salem Witch Trials
It’s necessary that historical stories like that of the Salem Witch Trials be told and discussed. People need to know the power their words have and how it spreads and how reacting out of spite or because of what others say about people is not okay.
Words that spread hate, suspicion, jealousy, anger and create division are not okay. This post
discusses ways we can better cultivate kindness as parents.
Great Power Requires Great Responsibility
The abuse of power by those that hold respected positions in a community is not okay. Also over exaggerations and the spreading of half-truths and falsehoods can do an incredible amount of damage. The consequences of the Salem Witch Trials are a prime example.
The framing of others for being witches or for making others ill or for creating problems, created a ripple effect that some individuals within a community self-righteously thought they had the right to repeat, re-framing others because they thought those people must have deserved it or were of lower social status and didn’t matter. However, the cycle continued to a point that everyone, regardless of money, power or social status, was affected in some way or another.
Settling disputes and misunderstandings directly and fact-checking and reasoning with the person or people involved matters, rather than condemning them based on word-of-mouth, hearsay and information from third parties.
Facts and science matter way more than superstitions, omens and warped beliefs based on what the majority agrees to….Had the villagers known that it was highly likely that ergot was creating problems and causing them to fall sick and hallucinate, the claims people made about others would not have had as much weight. But people were so sure it was witchcraft. To them, all the dots pointed to it. Many didn’t even question that there could be a different explanation.
The Value of Informing and Educating People
Not much in the online articles I read discussed which people put a stop to the trials and executions or spoke out against them, but such individuals and their stories need to be heard. Robert Calef a man from Boston began distributing pamphlets educating and informing people about the absurdity of the claims. One judge, Judge Corwin stopped the nonsense and atrocities when no other judge or minister would.
Though the Salem Witch Trials ended, they’re a reminder of what can happen when people allow their fear, emotions and judgment to be affected and influenced by the majority. However, those who decide to spread awareness and refuse to think like everyone else, can make a difference.