Fear of the Unknown
Playing with a mirror, then also called the Venus glass, and an egg can be dangerous, as Abigail Williams and Betty Parris found out in colonial Massachusetts.
Their actions started mass hysteria, and led to the Salem witch trials, which began 330 years ago. More than 200 people, mostly female, were accused of witchcraft, often by teenage girls, over a period of fifteen months.
When it was all over, 30 were found guilty, eighteen were executed, all but one by hanging. The other unfortunate soul was crushed to death.
So, what contributed to this witch hunt? Most scholars apparently believe that a combination extremism, isolation, fear of the unknown, false accusations, and lapses of due process led to the hysteria. It could happen again, and just substitute “witch” for another word of your choosing…
Here is Ruth T. White’s pictorial map of Massachusetts from 1938.
Steve Kovacs and his wife Theresa reside in Loveland, Ohio where they raised their two children. He is a passionate collector of antique maps.
Visit his antique map boutique world-on-paper online. Watch for his daily feature Steve Kovacs: Antique Maps & Fun Facts here on Loveland Beacon.