Archive for ‘Helpful’

September 8, 2009

Christina Pritchard @ Edit Red Writing Community

Christina Pritchard @ Edit Red Writing Community

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September 7, 2009

True Cause of Salem Witch Hunts

Ropes tied around the necks of women, gentlemen pressed with heavy stones until dead… These headlines were common once.

"You are a witch!"

"You are a witch!"

In 1692: Salem, Massachusetts was in an uproar. Eight young girls in their district were having fits and hallucinating.  What was it? Disease?

No, witches…

That is what the girls claimed. Yes, the kids. Young girls began accusing men and women of trying to possess them. Judges ruled on assumption; facts were not necessary only outward gestures of sorcery.

So, what was it really? What had this down in dire straits? Why did an entire village of people turn on each other in all out paranoia/mania?

Some of it was politics, of course. Using the situation to their benefit but, what of the original fits and hallucinations that possessed the girls?

In 1676 Denis Dodart wrote to The French Royal Academy of Sciences. In his letter he mentioned Ergot.

Ergot comes from Rye. And guess what the eight girls ate and grew as a staple in their homes and for business? That’s right, RYE.

Their fits, hallucinations and paranoia resembled lysergic acid diethylamide or as we know it: LSD.

The girls simply ate bad rye; came down with ergot poisoning-which induced them just like a drug and from there, the adults took over reaping monetary benefits from all those executed!

Today, ergot is used in the following drugs: methylergometrine which helps constrict blood vessels in pregnant women and also it is used with those having abortions and ergotamine; helps those with acute migraines, has been known to induce childbirth and aids in the  prevention of postpartum hemorrhages.

Overdoses of these two drugs have similar effects on it’s patients as those of the Salem youth infected with ergotism.

Information found in the following resources:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ergot

http://www.hbci.com/~wenonah/history/ergot.htm

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ergotism

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Methylergometrine

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ergotamine