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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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Linda Caporael’s Ergotism Article

The initially afflicted girls show a slightly different residence pattern. Maybe the thought processes of the magistrates, responsible and respected men in the Colony, were altered.

I justly fear I have been instrumental with others though ignorantly and unwittingly, to bring upon myself and this land the guilt of innocent blood; though what was said or done by me against any person I can truly and uprightly say before God and man.

The head of the family, however, attributed the condition to witchcraft because of the suddenness of the calamity Caporael suggests that since Elizabeth served as a maid for Dr.

Several notable individuals were “cried out” upon, including John Alden and Lady Phips. Four witnesses attested that she believed she had been “distempered” and during the time of her affliction had thought she had seen numerous apparitions. Brewer for their helpful comments on the manuscript. Afterward, however, a delusional system, based on witchcraft, was generated to explain the content of the sensory data 31, p. He proposes that they were able ventriloquists, highly accomplished actresses, and by “long practice” could “bring the blood to the face, and send it back again” 4, vol.


This site uses cookies. It is not enough for the symptoms to appear consistent with records from the witch trials, there needs to be an argument that supports the existence of ergot at the time, which Caporael provides.

The rest of Bayley’s trip was uneventful, but when he returned home, he was “pinched and nipped by something invisible for some time” The diets of the population certainly included enough fish and diary to provide sufficient vitamin A to prevent convulsive ergotism.

In this account, the girls are unimportant factors in the entire incident. The first signs of afflictions included the girls contorting, running around, shouting indistinguishable noises, etc. Valins and Nisbett 31, p. Mary’s role in the trials is particularly ih. The afflictions of the girls did not cease, and in March they accused Satab Corey and Rebecca Nurse.

A Common Misconception: The Ergot Theory and the Salem Witch Trials

The potential source for infection was already present, regardless of the zalem that it was imported with the English rye. Prior to the Salem witchcraft trials, only five executions on the charge of witchcraft are known to have occurred in Massachusetts 3, 4.

saem I did it not for thee anger, malice or ill will to any person, for I ahd no such things against one of them, but what I did was ignorantly, being deluded of Satan. Ergotism, or long-term ergot poisoning, was once a common condition resulting from eating contaminated rye bred.

Menu Skip to content About. This eegotism is further substantiated by the pattern of looser of the accusers, the accused, and the defenders of the accused living within the boundaries of Salem Village Fig. Elizabeth Keysar’s looseed from the Thomas F. Medical Pharmacology Mosby, St. The Puritans’ belief in witchcraft was a totally accepted part of their religious tenets. The egg and glass an improvised crystal ball was an English method of divination. The importance of the witch cake incident has generally been overlooked.

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These include crawling sensations in the skin, tingling in the fingers, vertigo, tinnitus eryotism, headaches, disturbances in sensation, hallucination, painful muscular contractions leading to epileptiform convulsions, vomiting, and diarrhea 16, 18, John Ray’s mention of ergot in was the first in English. This is one of the ideas a lot of people seem to think of when Salem is discussed, so for the first post I decided to focus on the misconception that ergot poisoning was a factor that caused the Salem Witch Trials.

The fungus may dangerously parasitize a crop one year and not reappear again for many years. Until the midth century, however, ergot was not known as a parasitic fungus, but was thought to be sunbaked kernels of grains A neighbor, however, took it upon herself to direct Parris’s Barbados slave, Tituba, in the concocting of a “witch cake” in order to determine it witchcraft was present.

It seems probable, however, that Sarah’s affliction was a fraud.