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(Mental Floss)   Hey ladies, ever wonder what your chances would have been like in Salem back in 1692 if you'd been accused of being a witch? Let's just put it this way...we hope you weigh more than a duck   (mentalfloss.com ) divider line
    More: Scary, Hey Ladies, female friends  
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11133 clicks; posted to Main » on 02 Mar 2014 at 11:56 AM (2 years ago)   |   Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



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2014-03-02 08:49:40 AM  
All women weight more than a duck, cursemitter.
 
2014-03-02 08:52:17 AM  

vudukungfu: All women weight more than a duck, cursemitter.


Well, then when they bind her and throw her in the mill pond she'll sink and drown.  At least her soul will be saved.
 
2014-03-02 09:03:00 AM  
It sounds to me like if you had anything anybody wanted, or were poor and dependent upon the community or believed in the wrong god then an organized group of holier than thou rich old white men would fark your shiat up by accusing you of 'congress with teh debbil'. After 300+ years we now call that group of old white men 'Congress'
 
2014-03-02 09:45:00 AM  
One of my college friends lives in Salem.

/she's a witch
//no kidding, she is actually a witch and is a tattoo artist (I guess the potion and spell business isn't what it used to be)
 
2014-03-02 09:47:50 AM  
Oh there still are witch hunts on, subby...

cdn.breitbart.com
 
2014-03-02 09:53:02 AM  
Some theories attribute the affliction to Toxoplasma gondii. See Occam.
 
2014-03-02 09:57:10 AM  
I'd accuse them. Thoroughly. Until they were thoroughly disappointed.

images.dvdsea.com
 
2014-03-02 10:00:48 AM  
1. Be a woman.

Aaaaaaand, we're done. Women are the Debbil and deserve anything that happens to them. That hasn't changed much in the US. You have no idea how refreshing it is to live in a place where that particular part of the "women are lesser" idea never took root.
 
2014-03-02 10:19:03 AM  
Knows something of witchcraft

a57.foxnews.com
 
2014-03-02 10:28:30 AM  
By "Mental Floss" they mean they intend to scrape every last functioning cell of brain matter from the inside of your skull before you get to the 4th item on their list, right?

I suppose I shouldn't complain, really. Could've been a slideshow.
 
2014-03-02 12:04:00 PM  

DrBenway: By "Mental Floss" they mean they intend to scrape every last functioning cell of brain matter from the inside of your skull before you get to the 4th item on their list, right?

I suppose I shouldn't complain, really. Could've been a slideshow.

Multiple pages like Cracked.

/FTFY
 
2014-03-02 12:05:31 PM  
That sounds like witch talk.
 
2014-03-02 12:09:41 PM  

vudukungfu: All women weight more than a duck, cursemitter.


You sound like you don't know the earth is banana shaped.
 
2014-03-02 12:10:13 PM  
Well, it's 2014 and many people are convinced that I'm a witch. But they spell it differently.
 
2014-03-02 12:12:11 PM  

Nogale: Well, it's 2014 and many people are convinced that I'm a witch. But they spell it differently.


Which?
 
2014-03-02 12:12:29 PM  
Remember: The Puritans did not come to the New World for religious freedom. They came here because the rest of Europe had enough of their pious wankery.

/We should have let the natives wipe them out in the Pequot War.
 
2014-03-02 12:12:46 PM  
Better than an accused communist or molester, I'll wager
 
2014-03-02 12:13:14 PM  

Benevolent Misanthrope: 1. Be a woman.

Aaaaaaand, we're done. Women are the Debbil and deserve anything that happens to them. That hasn't changed much in the US. You have no idea how refreshing it is to live in a place where that particular part of the "women are lesser" idea never took root.


What place is that? I would like to go to there, please.
 
2014-03-02 12:14:03 PM  

vudukungfu: All women weight more than a duck, cursemitter.


ducks float
what also floats?
wood.
wood burns.
therefore if a person burns, they are a witch.
 
2014-03-02 12:14:45 PM  
I know obesity is a modern problem, but was it really this bad back then?
 
2014-03-02 12:16:41 PM  

Majick Thise: It sounds to me like if you had anything anybody wanted, or were poor and dependent upon the community or believed in the wrong god then an organized group of holier than thou rich old white men would fark your shiat up by accusing you of 'congress with teh debbil'. After 300+ years we now call that group of old white men 'Congress'


According to the article and the history books I've read, women were just as likely to be the accusers as men. And I highly doubt most of the male accusers were old.
 
2014-03-02 12:18:03 PM  
I like how they say the daughter "went prematurely insane."
 
2014-03-02 12:19:32 PM  

Needlessly Complicated: Benevolent Misanthrope: 1. Be a woman.

Aaaaaaand, we're done. Women are the Debbil and deserve anything that happens to them. That hasn't changed much in the US. You have no idea how refreshing it is to live in a place where that particular part of the "women are lesser" idea never took root.

What place is that? I would like to go to there, please.


Oh honey, I'd tell you but I know that women aren't good with directions.
 
2014-03-02 12:20:05 PM  
14. Butter or milk has spoiled in your fridge

Exactly how many fridges were around in 1692?

Demonstrative of exactly the kind of journalistic integrity and precision one expects from mentalfloss
 
2014-03-02 12:20:40 PM  
Of course, about one out of six of the accused (and of the executed) was male, and the whole thing was kicked off by a feud between women who were related to each other, but...
 
2014-03-02 12:22:54 PM  
National Geographic Channel recently had a program on this.  It seems to have largely been the work of one man, the preacher in Salem, who was not all that well liked.  He drummed up the bit about witches on the loose to increase his standing in the community.
 
2014-03-02 12:25:49 PM  

Majick Thise: It sounds to me like if you had anything anybody wanted, or were poor and dependent upon the community or believed in the wrong god then an organized group of holier than thou rich old white men would fark your shiat up by accusing you of 'congress with teh debbil'. After 300+ years we now call that group of old white men 'Congress'


Except that the worst offenders, even in old Salem, for getting women accused of witchcraft were often other women. A lot of what happened there was the end result of a bunch of kids playing what they thought was a really cool practical joke.
 
2014-03-02 12:28:28 PM  
Spend some time on Reddit, you can see how easily mob behavior develops.
 
F42
2014-03-02 12:29:29 PM  
About as much chance as someone today accused of terrorism.
 
2014-03-02 12:30:17 PM  

TheHighlandHowler: Some theories attribute the affliction to Toxoplasma gondii. See Occam.



I've heard theories that they were hallucinating because of ergot poisoning.

It wasn't just women who were killed, either. Don't forget about Giles Corey.
 
2014-03-02 12:31:33 PM  

Needlessly Complicated: Benevolent Misanthrope: 1. Be a woman.

Aaaaaaand, we're done. Women are the Debbil and deserve anything that happens to them. That hasn't changed much in the US. You have no idea how refreshing it is to live in a place where that particular part of the "women are lesser" idea never took root.

What place is that? I would like to go to there, please.


Canada.  Northern Alberta, specifically.  Sexism certainly exists - but it doesn't have that religio-moral component to it.  And if a woman can perform at the same level as a man, no one gives a crap that she's a woman.
 
2014-03-02 12:35:42 PM  
I suppose a Stevie Nicks' Fajita Roundup would have been impossible in Salem back then
 
2014-03-02 12:36:16 PM  
Witchfinder General. Best... Job... Ever.
 
2014-03-02 12:37:39 PM  

UNC_Samurai: Remember: The Puritans did not come to the New World for religious freedom. They came here because the rest of Europe had enough of their pious wankery.

/We should have let the natives wipe them out in the Pequot War.


Yep.
 
2014-03-02 12:37:59 PM  

megarian: I like how they say the daughter "went prematurely insane."


The article says she went "Permanently" insane.

Which, given the circumstances, I could understand.
 
2014-03-02 12:38:35 PM  
"Having taken the suspected Witch, shee is placed in the middle of a room upon a stool, or Table, crosse legg'd, or in some other uneasie posture, to which if she submits not, she is then bound with cords, there is she watcht & kept without meat or sleep for the space of 24 hours. For (they say) within that time they shall see her Impe come and suck; a little hole is likewise made in the door for the Impe to come in at: and lest it might come in some lesse discernible shape, they that watch are taught to be ever & anon sweeping the room, and if they see any spiders or flyes, to kill them. And if they cannot kill them, then they may be sure they are her Impes."

- John Gaule, describing a test used by Witchfinders, 1646
 
2014-03-02 12:41:09 PM  

cynicalbastard: Majick Thise: It sounds to me like if you had anything anybody wanted, or were poor and dependent upon the community or believed in the wrong god then an organized group of holier than thou rich old white men would fark your shiat up by accusing you of 'congress with teh debbil'. After 300+ years we now call that group of old white men 'Congress'

Except that the worst offenders, even in old Salem, for getting women accused of witchcraft were often other women. A lot of what happened there was the end result of a bunch of kids playing what they thought was a really cool practical joke.


Not just other women. Preteens. Kids. (Mind you, how twisted were those kids running around accusing people of being witches for kicks and giggles. All their lives they had been told what to do. And now they had the power to boss around adults. "Oh, it's my bed time, is it. Well, I do believe I saw you consorting with the devil, yesterday. WITCH!"

In the history of accusing people of witches, anyone could accuse of anyone AND anything of being witch. Cats were often accused of being witches right alongside their human counterparts.
 
2014-03-02 12:42:09 PM  

Oblio13: "Having taken the suspected Witch, shee is placed in the middle of a room upon a stool, or Table, crosse legg'd, or in some other uneasie posture, to which if she submits not, she is then bound with cords, there is she watcht & kept without meat or sleep for the space of 24 hours. For (they say) within that time they shall see her Impe come and suck; a little hole is likewise made in the door for the Impe to come in at: and lest it might come in some lesse discernible shape, they that watch are taught to be ever & anon sweeping the room, and if they see any spiders or flyes, to kill them. And if they cannot kill them, then they may be sure they are her Impes."

- John Gaule, describing a test used by Witchfinders, 1646


Stress positions, sleep deprivation, and constant watching and harassment? Sounds like the test we now use to see if a Brown person is a terrorist.
 
2014-03-02 12:42:41 PM  

mekki: Mind you, how twisted were those kids running around accusing people of being witches for kicks and giggles.


Kids will be kids.  It's the adults who are the twisted ones for actually believing them.
 
2014-03-02 12:43:41 PM  

hitlersbrain: Witchfinder General. Best... Job... Ever.


img.fark.net

Agrees.
 
2014-03-02 12:46:44 PM  

Nefarious: vudukungfu: All women weight more than a duck, cursemitter.

Well, then when they bind her and throw her in the mill pond she'll sink and drown.  At least her soul will be saved.


Redemption by death? Hey, it's not so crazy. It worked for Michael Jackson.

/ducks (not the equal witch-weight kind)
 
2014-03-02 12:47:28 PM  

Pincy: mekki: Mind you, how twisted were those kids running around accusing people of being witches for kicks and giggles.

Kids will be kids.  It's the adults who are the twisted ones for actually believing them.


Thing is how many did actually believe them and how many were, "My next door neighbor has a great piece of land that I want. How do I get rid of him so I can take it....Oh, Sally. Sally, didn't you see Mr. Goode consort with the devil yesterday. You did, didn't you. Say that you did. Good, now let's go and tell the Justice of the Peace."

Most of these accusations were really political plays. You can't out and out murder your neighbor. That's against the law and will leave you swinging from the nearest oak. But you can accuse him or her of being a witch and let the law get rid of them for you.
 
2014-03-02 12:48:21 PM  
I'm a goner...
 
2014-03-02 12:50:47 PM  

Tiiba: I know obesity is a modern problem, but was it really this bad back then?


In some communities it was, yes. These days being outed as a witch can cost you your job but that's about it. I keep the whole pagan thing on the minimum when I'm at work. Ill argue someone to death about politics and religion but not while I'm on the clock. I have far too much to do these days and not nearly enough time to get it done!
 
2014-03-02 12:52:57 PM  

hitlersbrain: Witchfinder General. Best... Job... Ever.


the actual title is Witchsmeller Pursuivant
 
2014-03-02 12:56:47 PM  

Mr. Right: 14. Butter or milk has spoiled in your fridge

Exactly how many fridges were around in 1692?

Demonstrative of exactly the kind of journalistic integrity and precision one expects from mentalfloss


Well, I guess they were comparing that spoiled milk/dairy products were the sign of a witch but I'd mark that as "if you don't like a biatch, she's eating crackers like she owns the place."
 
2014-03-02 12:58:13 PM  
Pretty much anybody who got accused was toast. I'm not familiar with any cases where the accused was found innocent. A few people never confessed their witchery; they just got tortured to death. One guy was even crushed in a questioning technique called "pressing". They put stones on your chest till you talked. If memory serves; the whole thing was set into motion by a group of young girls.
 
2014-03-02 12:59:13 PM  
The DSM is the new guidebook for witch hunts.
 
2014-03-02 01:00:54 PM  

cirby: Of course, about one out of six of the accused (and of the executed) was male, and the whole thing was kicked off by a feud between women who were related to each other, but...


..and ended when people of property and power were starting to get accused, and it was beyond all fun and games.

/and it was in modern-day Danvers, aka "Salem Village"
 
2014-03-02 01:02:43 PM  
I am descended from many of the "witches" accused at the Salem Witchcraft Trials, and also their stupid accusers. There are over 100 people connected with Salem Village in my family tree at the moment. Many of those have birth-death dates that stop at or run over 1692. My family was there in large numbers.

For starters, the great New England Divine, Cotton Mather is a cousin. I know Cotton, Increase, Richard and Thomas Mather (my ancestor). Mather was a well-educated Puritan who could be quite learned and wise and quite foolish and ignorant, often at the same time. My education was much like his--a university man from a background of simple-minded self-righteous or genuinely good Christians and hicks.

Attendance at a fundamentalist Sunday School and Church despite being a child-hood member of respectable liberal congregation formed my mind and my experiences in ways that are quite rare. I'm an insider-outsider socially and intellectually. I'm a liberal and a skeptic and an atheist with a lot of theological training. Verily, Christians are a scandal to the Heathen, and I am that Heathan. I know them inside-out and outside-in due to quirks in my history, family history and the world's history.

I am descended from some of the "witches" hanged; some accused who escaped hanging; and some relations who sued for damages and got them. I am descended from their accusers, family, friends, neighbours and clergy.

It suffices to look at the death date to know there are witches:

Mary Town Eastery, hanged 22 Sept 1692, Gallow's Hill;
Rebecca Towne Nurse, 19 July 1692
Rev. George Burroughs, hanged 19 August 1692 (yes, a clergyman! hanged as a witch), 1692

Others were accused but survived, some escaped, some were found not guilty, some were pardoned, some died in prison. I simply don't have time to identify every single person, so look on these names as a random list of high lights and low lights.

The hanged, those who died in prison:

http://law2.umkc.edu/faculty/projects/ftrials/salem/asal_de.htm

A more general lsit:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_people_of_the_Salem_witch_trial s

I am also descended from the Lewises (Mercy Lewis was one of the girls "afflicted by witchcraft", the Kinneys, and other families who testified against the witches.

If you look at the list of evidences that show you might be a witch you may be struck by one thing: some or all of them might apply to anybody. For example, as Saint Paul put it "all have sinned". Every Christian has violated the rules of conduct of Christianity and the Bible. The most pious and righteous are sinners.

Also, they are a survey of the marginalized. Rich and poor, old and young, women, midwifes, people who dauble in fortune-telling, those without friends and family, those who are envied and those who are despised.

1692 was a very bad year. The weather was disastrous and crops failed. The Pilgrims were under considerable duress. What is worse a great natural disaster such as is often attributed to the wrath of God had struck down the town of Port Royal in Jamaica. The Salem Village people were deeply and personally connected to this southern port because of trade and family connections. They were very upset that God would do such a thing and needed explanations. Naturally they blamed the victims and anybody else they could find rather than blame themselves or God.

Note that all three of these factors are still alive and kicking today. The pious still blame the victims for natural disaster (see Pat Robertson for details of the Pact with the Devil signed by the Haitians decades ago--he seems to have watched a lot of racially charged 1920s and 1930s American zombie movies). The pious still interpret bad luck as God's wrath and good luck as God's blessing (as Job's Comforters do in the Book of Job).

Why am I a liberal? Because my ancestors were witches, heretics, Quakers and Roman Catholics. Because my ancestors were Puritans and xenophobic fundies. Because I have learned the same lessons that history teaches us about "conservatism" and "tradition" and "family values" and "religion" first hand as a child, youth and adult. Because I read a lot of both formal and informal documents ranging from scholarly works to comic strips.

I understand the way the human mind and human societies work well enough to be skeptical about piety and righteousness, patriotism and even sin.

God save us everyone, and if he is otherwise engaged, let's hope for reason and compassion to catch up with our folly and malice before we do too much damage.
 
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