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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Baker do not even include the theory in their books, showing that the historians who have written some of the most highly regarded books on the subject see little reason to embrace the convulsive ergotism theory so long as the evidence for it remains inadequate. The ministers also concluded that spectral evidence the appearance of the accused’s apparition to an eegotism and the test of touch the sudden cessation of a fit after being touched by the accused witch were insufficient evidence for proof of witchcraft.

One author supposed that the accusing girls craved “Dionysiac mysteries” and that some were “no more seriously possessed that a pack of bobby-soxers on the loose” 8, p. However, the first afflictions appeared in the home of Rev.

The growing conditions and the pattern of agricultural practices fit the timing of the crisis. The three women were taken into custody on 29 February Repeated attempts to place the occurrences at Salem within a consistent framework have failed. I justly satxn I have ergptism instrumental with others though ignorantly and unwittingly, to bring upon myself and this land the guilt of innocent blood; though what was said or done by me against any person I can truly and uprightly say before God and man.


Ergotism: the satan loosed in Salem?

Satwn discussed above, however, there is little evidence that Tituba had any practical knowledge of witchcraft. Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Convulsive ergotism is characterized by a number of symptoms. Complaints of vomiting and “bowels almost pulled out” are common in the depositions of the accusers. Careful examination reveals plausible explanations for contamination in six of the eight cases.

Ergot grows on dalem large variety of cereal grains–especially rye–in a slightly curved, fusiform shape with sclerotia replacing individual grains on the host plant.

Also, there is no evidence that epidemics of chronic convulsive ergotism of the type hypothesized to have occurred in Salem have produced abortions John Ray’s mention of ergot in was the first in English.

Ergotism: the satan loosed in Salem?

I must confess to a measure of doubt as to the moving causes in this terrible tragedy. Prior to the Salem witchcraft trials, only five executions on the charge of witchcraft are known to have occurred in Xatan 3, 4.

Physicians called in to examine the girls could find no explanation for their illness, and in February one doctor suggested the girls might be bewitched.

One avenue of understanding that has yet to be sufficiently explored is that a physiological condition, unrecognized at the time, may have been a factor in the Salem incident. One of the most powerful is isoergine lysergic acid amide. There was a drought the next year,thus no contamination of the grain that year would be expected.

Datan the case of ergot, a substance that affects mental as well as physical states, recognition of the social atmosphere of Salem in early spring is basic to understanding the directions the crisis took. To some degree or another all rye was saoem infected with ergot.


Children and pregnant women are most likely to be affected by the condition, and individual susceptibility varies widely. The looesd workings looeed Satan and his cohorts were just as real to the early colonists as their belief in God.

There had always been a strong undercurrent of opposition to the trials and the most vocal individuals were not always accused. This type of ergotism occurs in areas that have a lack of vitamin A in their diet, but Salem Village was a farming and agriculture based community and Salem Town was a successful port.

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

Her mother also displayed symptoms of the affliction and psychological historians have credited the senior Ann with attempting to resolve her own neurotic complaints srgotism her daughter 8, 9, The Puritans’ belief in witchcraft was a totally accepted part of their religious tenets.

Spring sowing was the rule; the bitter winters made fall sowing less successful.

Historians seem bewitched themselves by fantasies of voodoo and black magic in the tropics, and the unfounded supposition that Tituba would inevitably be familiar with malefic arts of the Caribbean has survived.

General Learning Press, Morristown, N. Ina man charged with witchcraft was convicted of simply having told a lie and was fined. The condition occurred in epidemic proportions in the Middle Ages and was known by a number rhe names, including ignis sacerthe holy fire.