Thursday, August 27, 2015

What were the Salem Witch Trials

This is a well written and researched book, that works to explain why the Salem Witch Trials came to be, and why they ended so rapidly. Joan Holub does a remarkable job of taking the reader back to 1692 and the farming community of Salem.  Each page takes the reader deeper into this time so long ago and so strange to us today.  One of the first things we come to understand is how people were so concerned about their spiritual path, people lived in fear of any one who was not of their way of believing and the people of Salem were very tightly knit to their belief in God and Christ.

Holub explains the world of the Puritans, every father was supposed to be able to heal his family from illness, if not then the local minister of the faith, when this could not happen it was obviously the work of the Devil and his kind, Witches.

It is in this setting that the story of the Witch Hunts begin, because of two young girls who suddenly begin to have fits and speak of strange things and speak strangely;  Fear takes over and rational and logical thought go out the window.

The girls are asked to name who the witches are, and after a period of time, they name three people.
This is just the beginning.

Famous ministers of the day, Increase and Cotton Mather are mentioned, how are they involved and what leads to the final end of the Trials?

The answer to these questions can be found in this fast paced book, that will provide new insight no matter your age.

The book has great illustrations done by  Dede  Putra and also has reproductions of illustrations from the time at the back of the book.  There is also a complete timeline showing the events as they happened between January 1692 to October 1693.

Overall this is a great book and is another success for Joan Holub,  ****

Cotton Mather Puritan Minister and strong believer that Witches existed and need not live.

Title page of Cotton Mather's Book.