MeSH. Claviceps · Climate · Ergotism · Female · History, 17th Century · Humans · Magic · Massachusetts · Phytotherapy · Secale cereale. Ergotism: The Satan Loosed in Salem? Prior to the Salem witchcraft trials, only five executions on the charge of witchcraft are known to have occurred in. While Ergotism may have not been responsible for all the happenings at Salem, it no doubt played a big part. Hopefully Miss Corpreal publishes this as a book.

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Valins and Nisbett 31, p. Witchcraft at Salem Braziller, New York, The physical afflictions of the accusing girls and the imagery of the testimony, therefore, is dismissed as imaginary in foundation.

Ergotism: the satan loosed in Salem?

Satsn of choking, pinching, pricking with pins, and biting by the specter of the accused formed the standard ghe of the afflicted in almost all the examinations and trials Assuming that the content of the court records is basically an honest account of the deponents’ experiences, the evidence suggests that convulsive ergotism, a disorder resulting from the ingestion of grain contaminated with ergot, may have initiated the witchcraft delusion.

Apparently it was the great consternation that some villagers felt that induced Mary Sibley to direct the making of the witch cake of rye meal and the urine of the afflicted. The three women were taken into custody on 29 February The rest of Bayley’s trip was uneventful, but when he returned home, he was “pinched and nipped by something invisible for some time” Two-thirds of Parris’s salary was paid in provisions; the villagers were taxed proportionately to their landholding 4.


The advent of psychiatry provided new tools for describing and interpreting the events oat Salem.

Also, there is no evidence that epidemics of chronic convulsive ergotism of the type hypothesized to have occurred in Salem have produced abortions There are two types of ergotism–gangrenous and convulsive. While other crops would have suffered in the colder weather, rye would not have and the cooler, moist conditions were ideal for the ergot fungus to grow. As discussed above, however, there is little evidence that Tituba salfm any practical knowledge of witchcraft.

As in Bayley’s experience, this man’s wife saw nothing. Needless to say, there is not much support for the theory.

The egg and glass an improvised crystal ball was an English method of divination. Griggs, it was possible that Thomas Putnam called on the doctor for his wife, Ann Sr.

Phips appointed a special Court of Oyer and Terminer, which heard it first case on 2 June. The fungus may loosef parasitize a crop one year and not reappear again for many years.

Ergotism, or long-term ergot poisoning, was once a common condition resulting from eating contaminated rye bred. The girls may have perpetrated fraud loosrd to gain notoriety or to protect themselves from punishment by adults as their magic experiments became the topic of rumor 2. The summer was hot and stormy. It seems impossible to believe a tithe of the statements which were made at the trials.

The three remaining afflicted girls lived outside the village boundaries to the east.

Linda Caporael’s Ergotism Article

The accused witches were, for the most part, persons of good reputation in the community; one was even a former minister in the village. Shortly, they disappeared and a light the size of a hand appeared in the chimney and quivered and shook with an upward motion The girls named three persons as witches and their afflictions thereby became a matter for the legal authorities rather than the medical authorities or the families satann the girls.


There looesd a drought the next year,thus no contamination of the grain that year would be expected.

All the convictions were obtained on the basis of the controversial spectral evidence 2. Examinations of the accused were conducted in Salem Village until 11 April by lopsed magistrates from Salem Town. As the name implies, gangrenous ergotism is srgotism by dry gangrene of the extremities followed by the falling away of the affected portions of the body.

Modern agriculturalists advise ergotiwm not to feed their cattle grain containing more than one to three sclerotia per thousand kernels of grain, since ergot has deleterious effects on cattle as well as on humans 16, Once the trials ended in October by order of Gov.

Four witnesses attested that she believed she had been “distempered” and during the time of her affliction had thought she had seen numerous apparitions. The spectral evidence of the trials appears to be the hallucinogenic symptoms and perceptual disturbance accompanying ergotism.