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Digital Subscriptions > Skeptic > 21.4 > Why Salem?

Why Salem?

A review of three books about the Salem Witch Trials and their legacy:

The Witches: Salem, 1692. By Stacy Schiff

In the Devil’s Snare: The Salem Witchcraft

Crisis of 1692. By Mary Beth Norton

America Bewitched: The Story of Witchcraft After Salem. By Owen Davies

One convicted witch was allegedly seen riding in the air on a pole. “She perceived things differently, en route as she was to the Salem town jail.” (Schiff, 91)

Of the European Americans accused of witchcraft in court in the centuries since the 1692 epidemic, 85% were women. (Davies, 68)

Little, Brown and Company, 2015. 512 pp. $32.00 ISBN-13: 978-0316200608

WHY DID THE 1692 WITCHCRAFT TRIALS in Salem Massachusetts have a unique 100% conviction rate? Why was a pact with the devil central to the 1692 trials, but not to witchcraft trials in the centuries since?

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About Skeptic

DECEPTION IN CANCER TREATMENT SPECIAL ISSUE: The Cancer-care Industry’s Marketing is Among the Most Deceptive on the Consumer Landscape. SPECIAL SECTION: Classic Skepticism: The Amityville Hoax at 40; Alien Sulls: Do the Mysterious Rhodope Skull and Adygea Skulls Belong to Aliens?; The Real Meaning Behind the Nazca Geoglyphs; Clown Panics: Sightings of Mysterious Clowns Rattle Nerves ARTICLES: The Case for a Galactic Defense System; Is “Spirituality” so Broadly Defined that Testing for it is Meaningless?; Are We Living in a Computer Simulation?; Luck and Regression to the Mean: One of the Most Fundamental Sources of Error in Human Judgment; Political Obfuscation: Thinking Critically about Public Discourse. COLUMNS: The SkepDoc: Anti-Aging Claims: The Fountain of Youth is Still Only a Legend, by Harriet Hall, M.D.; The Gadfly: Can Working Memory Be Trained to Work Better? by Carol Tavris REVIEWS: “Three books about the Salem Witch Trials and their legacy: The Witches: Salem, by Stacy Schiff; In the Devil’s Snare: The Salem Witchcraft Crisis of 1692, by Mary Beth Norton; America Bewitched: America Bewitched: The Story of Witchcraft After Salem, by Owen Davies JUNIOR SKEPTIC: Mammoth Mysteries! Part Two, by Daniel Loxton