You are sitting at home, minding your own business.
Suddenly there is a knock at your door.
Not a nice rap-rap-“I’ve come to have tea and cookies”-rap
But a heart dropping BLAM-BLAM-BLAM.
Questioningly you get up and peak out the front door.
On the front porch you see 2 policemen.
2 very serious looking policemen.
Behind them you see 2 squad cars blocking your drive and 2 more serious looking policemen with guns pointed at your front door.
Your first thought is naturally “what the hell did I do?” (Everyone has a guilty consciousness) Then you realize you haven’t “done” anything since you early 20’s.
Naturally, you open the door.
You are then forcibly grabbed from your home and thrown into a squad car and then thrown into jail.
Questions, tirades, pleading, doesn’t matter nothing helps.
The next words you even hear are “the judge will see you now.”
So you are brought in front of the judge and by now you must be quite pissed off and indignant.
Before you can even sputter
A 12 year old girl, that you vaguely remember buying Girl Scout cookies from last year, points at you and says
“Yup that’s the mean Clown that made me shuck corn.”
Before you can even deny owning large shoes or even knowing how to shuck,
You have been sentenced to death.
No this is not an allegory to slavery or segregation.
Pretty damn silly right?
The Salem Witch Trials
In winter of 1691-92, in Salem Village, Massachusetts, outside Salem proper, four girls, Ann Putnam Jr. (12), Abigail Williams (11), Elizabeth Parris (9), and Mary Walcott (17), apparently began to suffer seizures, screaming fits, bursts of gibberish, general fear and violence against others.
It is now theorized by most that Parris and Williams, the two who started the craze, were simply looking to get attention for themselves. But once they were suspected of “indwelling by the Devil,” a crime which might have gotten them executed, they immediately blamed various people throughout Salem Village, and even neighboring towns of possessing them with their spirits, witchcraft and communion with Satan. The entire area was paranoid about Satan in the first place, and was thus a powder keg waiting to go off. Putnam and Walcott are believed to have started doing the same thing just for the fun of joining in, but Putnam’s parents saw her “possession” as a convenient means to get rid of some local enemies they’d made. Walcott is thought to have been involved for the sheer pleasure of causing others’ deaths.
It would take too long to give all the particulars here, but in the end, 19 people were hanged in public for witchcraft, and one man, Giles Corey, at about 80 years old, was crushed to death beneath heavy stones for refusing to enter a plea of guilty or not guilty. The local magistrates even indicted and imprisoned a 4 your year old girl named Dorothy Good and aggressively interrogated her as to whether she was a witch. She, of course, had no idea what in the world they were talking about and only wept for her mother, who disowned her to save herself. They finally told her to confess to witchcraft and she would be given back to her mother, which, of course, she did. She was released on 50 pounds bail and went insane from the ordeal.
The hysteria did not stop until the Governor George Phipps, who knew people were being killed, was informed that his wife had been accused of witchcraft. He immediately ordered the entire farce to cease.
Only five years later, every party involved in accusing or prosecuting innocent people repented, claimed to be ashamed, and begged everyone’s forgiveness. All except for Judge John Hawthorne. He condemned, or joined in condemning, most of those executed, rejoiced at their executions, and felt absolutely no remorse for the rest of his life, not even when several women suffered miscarriages in prison due to starvation and the atrocious squalor. He called these dead infants, “righteous punishment from the Almighty. The children were not human, but born of the Devil, and now burn in the everlasting flames.” Abigail Williams disappeared, some say to New York, where she may have become a prostitute.
Basically 4 teenage girls were not hugged enough by their daddys and decided that, for fun, they would destroy people’s lives.
They created a public hysteria so bad that it caused a mother to throw her child to the wolves just to save her own skin.
Ok taking that situation completely at face value here.
Put in the same position, in the same era, I feel very confident in saying that I would gladly (ok maybe not gladly but readily) admit that I was the bad-assest warlock pimp this side of the Mississippi just to save my child.
Whenever I see an enlightening human story on the Hallmark channel about the virtues of the human spirit it doesn’t take long to be reminded of what a parasitic cesspool the human race really is.
Yes I can become incensed about stuff from 400 years ago.
No I dont thing humanity has made any great strides forward in the time alotted.
Nathaniel Hawthorne at least had the good form to be ashamed of his uncle (ancestor,grandfather, whatever) Judge John Hawthorne.