Salem Witch Trials

The ugly absurdity and mass hysteria in this kind of thinking is nicely satirized in this famous sequence from Monty Python and the Holy Grail

On this date in 1692 Giles Corey was pressed to death after refusing to plead in the Salem witch trials.

Frye on “witch-finding” in Denham’s Northop Frye Unbuttoned:

Reading Margaret Murray’s book on witchcraft, one can’t believe any part of her argument that assumes an actual religious organization, but that some subconscious demonic parody of Christianity was extracted from all those poor creatures under torture is quite obvious, and its consistency doesn’t surprise me: it’s the same kind of thing primitive tribes produce, often by self-administered torture.  The witch-finder himself was a psychopath, or soon became one by sticking pins all over naked women, and so they were linked in a communal dream. (311)

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