Saturday, 31 October 2009

Salem Witch Trials

The Salem witch trials were a series of hearings before local magistrates followed by county court trials to prosecute people accused of witchcraft in Essex, Suffolk and Middlesex counties of colonial Massachusetts, between February 1692 and May 1693.

Salem, Massachusetts, is the site of one of the most gruesome moments in American history. In the late 17th century, more than 200 people were accused of “practicing the Devil’s magic”, resulting in an eventual death sentence for 20 of them. The citizens of Salem gave in to paranoia and mistrust during the Salem witch trials, which began when two young girls, Elizabeth Parris and Abigail Williams, aged 9 and 11, suddenly exhibited symptoms of hysteria.

The Trial of George Jacobs

The episode has been used in political rhetoric and popular literature as a vivid cautionary tale about the dangers of religious extremism, false accusations, lapses in due process and governmental intrusion on individual liberties.

Former teacher Matthew Wren and the ATL’s Mary Bousted on false allegations against teachers.

courtesy BBC Radio 4 - Today 26 October 2009