The salem witch Trials stand as a warning that justice can always be miscarried, when authorities become determined to prosecute non-conformists, “deviants”, or political enemies. And especially when the general population supports these efforts.
Between 1692 and 1693, in the small township of Salem, Massachusetts, over 200 people were accused of Witchcraft. Twenty of these people were executed: 19 hanged and one man pressed to death.
It is remembered, to this day, as the most infamous instance of mass hysteria in history. But is that all it was?
This documentary, produced to mark the tri-centenary, delves into the history, the social context, the politics of the time, and the possible motivations behind those who made the accusations. (It’s also a timely reminder of just how good the History Channel used to be, and just how far it has fallen).
It’s proven true, over time, that it is necessary to deny people’s humanity – to take that humanity away from your opponents – before you can do serious harm to them.
This Halloween, we present a story of fear eclipsing reason. Of hysteria as a tool of social control. And of the terrible price paid by those who dare to be sane in an insane world.
There are lessons here which society has yet to learn, and parallels to our modern world which cannot be denied.
And that, is truly frightening.
The greatness of these people consisted of the fact that they resisted untruth, and they kept their moral positions to the point of death. That’s what should be remembered.
Days of Judgment: Salem Witch Trials was produced by The History Channel in 1992 to mark the 300th anniversary of the Salem Witch Trials. If you’re interested in obtaining a physical copy the worldcat.com online library has a list here
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