A Delusion of Satan: The Full Story of the Salem Witch


A Delusion of Satan: The Full Story of the Salem Witch Trials [Reading] ➶ A Delusion of Satan: The Full Story of the Salem Witch Trials By Frances Hill – Buyprobolan50.co.uk This compelling study of the horrific  Salem Witch Trials the first of its kind in over  forty five years draws strength from new  psychological insights into the roots of the hysteria that  s This of Satan: The Full Kindle - compelling study of the of Satan: Epub Ú horrific  Salem Witch Trials the first of its kind in over  forty five years draws strength from new  psychological insights into the roots of the hysteria that  spurred the witch hunts of the late s and  links them to the A Delusion ePUB ´ contemporary witch hunts  of the twentieth century  For than three hundred years the hysteria  that gripped Massachusetts during the Salem witch  trials of the late s has fascinated readers  worldwide Now acclaimed British writer Frances Hill  has applied contemporary psychology to the Salem  phenomenon Delusion of Satan: The Full PDF or and come up with Delusion of Satan: PDF/EPUB ✓ startling results Why  were nearly all of the afflicted  people women What kind of mentality did the Puritans  possess to place a four year old child in prison  What were the politics behind the witch hunts and  trials and what similarities exist in the witch  hunts of Delusion of Satan: The Full PDF or the twentieth century for example the  witch hunts of the McCarthy era In   A Delusion Of Satan Frances Hill  answers these uestions and many in a  conversational and frighteningly realistic narrative as she  maps out details of the witch trials and subseuent  hangings information never revealed before  Discipline morality and intellectual rigor these are  all attributes that Puritanism beueathed to the New  World Unfortunately along with them came a  tendency to regard an enemy as beneath empathy and  deserving destruction A Delusion Of  Satan reminds the reader that these impulses  lurking in all people can only be countered by  constant reminders of common humanity.

  • Hardcover
  • 269 pages
  • A Delusion of Satan: The Full Story of the Salem Witch Trials
  • Frances Hill
  • English
  • 24 August 2014
  • 9780385472555

10 thoughts on “A Delusion of Satan: The Full Story of the Salem Witch Trials

  1. Matt Matt says:

    Undoubtedly the Massachusetts of the 17th century would have been a terrifying place for a Puritan colonist Beyond the gridded towns and the tended fields a giant wilderness would have loomed huge dark forests that hid ferocious bears stalking panthers larcenous suirrels and possibly homicidal raccoons The forests also would have hid Indians the most terrifying creatures of all Possessed of an almost mystical connection to the land the Indians could appear strike and vanish at any moment They killed settlers in their beds dragged women and children into the woods and were reputed to be cannibals If these worries were not enough Puritan leadership filled their followers heads with hogwash about demons and devils and evil spirits It made for an environment in which clear thinking and logic paled before cries of “She’s a witch”In 1691 in Salem Village religious repression and fear combined with baser ingredients of boredom and greed boiled over into the infamous Salem Witch Trials The furor began with young girls – Betty Parris Abigail Williams Ann Putnam – acting strangely after having their fortunes told Their fits proceeded naturally into the baking of a “witch cake” the secret sauce of the cake being the girls’ urine Pretty soon girls were having fits Then they started accusing townspeople of bewitching them When it finally ended in 1693 19 people have been hanged and one person Giles “More Weight” Cory had been pressed to death In the annals of religion fueled violence the Salem Witch Trials were relatively small time Compared to the Inuisition it barely registers Yet 322 years later they are still at the forefront of our consciences Partially that is due to its perceived historical irony – intolerance zealotry and bloodletting in the land of tolerance and religious freedom Partially this is due to the event’s metaphorical malleability and how different generations can retool the story to suit its own needs see eg Arthur Miller’s The Crucible I’ve read The Crucible and seen the fine film adaptation starring Daniel Day Lewis but until Frances Hill’s A Delusion of Satan I’d never picked up a book devoted solely to the subject Frankly finding a suitable title was a bit difficult A lot of the titles seemed vaguely disreputable or were written or published by unknown authorspublishing houses I really didn't know where to start As you might have guessed I started here At just over 200 pages A Delusion of Satan is a crisp briskly paced version of the Witch Trials that is unsparing in its portrait of a dour repressive superstitious community The Puritans embraced the Calvinist doctrine of predestination meaning that God saved people based on His whim not necessarily according to what people did on earth Of course to Puritans it seemed possible to tell – based on outward appearances – who would be saved and who would fry for eternity Their theology however made it impossible to know with any certainty This created as Hill notes the “characteristically New England Puritan mix of smugness and fear” Even though God had already made his decision the Puritans were very particular about the rules Rule Number 1 No fun There were no other rules Among the offenses punishable in Salem Village were having sex sleeping during church and “railing and scolding” The conseuences of such acts included pillory or stocks public whippings and execution If you read Cotton Mather you will find him describing a man put to death for having sex with livestock According to Hill this rigid inflexible atmosphere led the young girls of Salem into rebellion It started with a lark dabbling in fortunetelling to ward off boredom It took on a life of its own Interestingly Hill does not believe the children were faking their hysterical fits Few would doubt that repressed feelings may give rise to physical symptoms When an individual’s emotions desires and will are subjugated almost completely to the demands of society those symptoms can assume the severity of paralysis and fitsThis subjugation to society was even profound for women and girls both denied “self expression and power” to a far greater degree than men at least the free white men Like much in this book Hill’s belief is speculation But it’s speculation that is warranted explained and based on logical inferences from the evidence Indeed Hill’s analyses and suppositions are among the best parts of the book Despite occurring so long ago there is a lot of primary documentation about the Witch Trials Cotton and Increase Mather wrote books The Puritans – being litigious minded – kept trial records These primary sources however are of a very particular type that does not give us great psychological insights Hill provides that and in doing so makes the story much richer and humane A Delusion of Satan does not set out to be a complete day by day look at the Witch Trials Hill tends to follow certain narrative strands and personalities while eliding others There are times when I had to refer to the chronology at the back of the book to see where things were on the timeline I was fine with that Trading absolute thoroughness and minutiae for evocative focus makes for a entertaining book And this is an entertaining lively book By the time you’ve finished – and seen the Puritan witch hunters looking for “preternatural teats” on the bodies of women – you will have hearty dislike for a distinct group of people that passed from the stage three centuries ago If you’ve only consumed the Salem Witch Trials through Arthur Miller’s prism you take from the Trials a lesson in the dangers of paranoia and groundless fear and mass panic But hunting “real” witches in Salem and metaphorical witches Communists in the United States are two entirely different events The actual historical event of the Witch Trials has a somewhat different lesson from the Red Scare Of course as Miller obviously realized there is a lot of overlap especially in the way the “hunters” managed to benefit from finding their “witches” Both Joseph McCarthy and Samuel Parris gained power by tilting at these windmills The real story of Salem is how religion can be used to coerce to control and to advantage those at the top of the hierarchy Perhaps unsurprisingly the powerful men of Massachusetts were able to brush aside accusations of witchcraft against them The accusers were treated with absolute respect up until the time they started pointing fingers at the powerbrokers At that point they became silly girls Those accused of being witches lost everything Their lands and homes and livestock were seized and sold Not coincidentally those lands and homes and livestock went to those people who supported the witch hunts The Mather brood – father Increase son Cotton – did their best to facilitate the belief in witches because in doing so they forced people to be dependent on God Dependence on God manifested itself in a dependence on the physical church – that is a dependence and obeisance to the church leaders Men like the Mathers A Delusion of Satan works so well because it understands what underlies the Witch Trials – greed coercion repression false fear – and what finally ended them logic rationality skepticism and uestioning of authority

  2. Jon Jon says:

    As an academically minded graduate student in Literature and Theology I could not get through this book While it does fulfill the promise of providing a broad overview of the events that did occur each narrative is flooded with Hill's personal beliefs beliefs that consistently ignore the contextual and contemporary perspectives Many phrases like one can easily imagine attempt to make the reader believe that Hill's explanation usually one about a fradulent fear mongering Puritan society that doesn't actually believe its beliefs seem like the only possible one Sentences like Never was the principle of the leading uestion eliciting the expected information graphically illustrated and repeating use of leading uestions in the midst of what is supposed to be an account of the most accurately recorded according to Hill's commentary interrogation are hardly academic and barely allow a reader that did not have an opinion before beginning a book to come to any thought other than Hill's Hill begins judging Puritan society and belief in the first pages Karen Armstrong's Introduction sums up accurately Hill's apparent starting belief that They Puritans also brought from Europe an inadeuate concept of religion ixI was able to read through the end of the fourth chapter but when the fifth chapter began Charles Upham writing in the mid ninteenth century believed that Parris and Thomas Putnam had told Tituba in advance what to say when she confessed such a preposterous idea that does not fit at all what we know about Puritan society and yet is presented here as the best of all research conducted I knew then that I was doomed and would not find in this book the good historical overview that pays attention to actual contextual historical realitiesThis is the book for you only if you are looking for an easy simple excuse to be made for the terribly tragic and incredibly influential events of late 17th century Salem

  3. Annie Annie says:

    Excellent account of the Salem witch trials Gives a fantastic feel for teh political climate that gave rise to the circumstances Although I have to genuinely disagree with the author who thinks the girls for the most part kind of believed what they were saying Nonsense Mary Warren tried to leave the “afflicted girls” group because they were lying and it was weighing on her conscience she said as much I think that makes it pretty clear nobody except maybe the youngest actually believed any of it Like I’ll agree little Betty Parris who started it probably had no idea what she was doing and became convinced there were witches everywhere but seventeen year olds? Essentially adult women? They knew exactly what they were doing it wasn’t an unconscious bias that made them pick their families’ political adversaries come on now They’re out there biting themselves and visibly sticking pins in themselves Ann Putnam begged forgiveness years later for her prominent role in the trials would you apologize if you had genuinely believed what you were saying? This wasn’t hysteria this was murder Am doing a readthrough of Salem witch trial nonfiction novels plays etc since I’m working there at the moment and it’s fun to wander around Salem and Danvers and see the places discussed I walk past the house of Jonathan Corwin one of the judges twice a day on my way to the commuter rail More to come xx

  4. Samantha Penrose Samantha Penrose says:

    This book is amazing it should be reuired reading for high school history classesThis book provides an incredibly detailed up close and personal look at the unbelievable events and people surrounding the witch hunt and trials that took place in Salem The book or perhaps just history itself is absolutely mind blowing and the book is for the most part very well writtenCourt documents and personal diaries are used to reconstruct the events and emotions from just before the witch hunt to many years afterAs in a novel you come to know the characters involved which makes it very easy to follow events without feeling overwhelmed or lost If you should happen to become confused in the back of the book you will find a summarydescription of 29 key people involved both witches and accusers a chronology of events from 1689 through 1706 a list of dates and names of those hanged and those who died in the dungeons as well as chapter by chapter notes on sources separate from the bibliography You will also find a family tree for the key family involved in the accusations which is very helpful at first due to the unoriginal use of the same names generation after generationThere is also a map for what its worth of Salem village and the surrounding areasThis is a fantastic book I highly recommend itto anyoneto everyone You just cant put it down

  5. Kara Kara says:

    Honestly I am not one for Colonial America I grew up in Boston so I've had the Revolution crammed into me However I found this book extremely intriguing It takes a very different approach to the Salem Witch Trials We always see these trials as a simple witch hysteria but it was so much than that Hill does an excellent job at showing all aspects of what really happened in Salem and presents it in an interesting way It really kept my interest straight through It's one of the few books I've really enjoyed reading in a class

  6. Hannah Hannah says:

    Fully fleshed out account of the Salem Witch Trials of the 1690's Author Frances Hill showcases the factors leading up to during and following the hysteria and provides some interesting speculations on why and how it all came to pass This isn't the definitive book on the trials but it's a darn good place to start for those readers who know little about this part of American history or those who want a fuller account No dry academic reading here

  7. Julie Julie says:

    This non fiction book not only describes the events during the period of the Salem witch trials but it also looks at the various possible social psychological political and religious reasons that the whole thing happened Although it was a tad repetative in the descriptions of what the accusers claimed each witch did to them there is a lot of really interesting information in this book There is a list of people which could have been thorough and a timeline at the end of the book for reference I didn't notice that until I was several chapters in

  8. April Spaugh April Spaugh says:

    This book could have been very good but it's so one sided and full of speculation that it's not worth reading in my opinion Comparing 21st century thinking and living to 17th century Salem just doesn't hold up The author also has very feminist views which definitely come through and I found to be a turn off

  9. Bárbara Bárbara says:

    A Delusion of Satan was one of the best books I have read so far on the Salem Witch trials Hill delivers a haunting analysis of the events of 1692 as well as an in depth study on the background of each important character of the witch trials; the magistrates the towns people the afflicted girls and the accused We also get a detailed overview of the political economical and cultural landscape of the Massachussets the tension resulted from the native american wars and how the Puritan mentality of the time impacted today's american culture

  10. Katherine Addison Katherine Addison says:

    I recommend strongly that you skip the introduction by Karen Armstrong which includes such unexamined sentences as What Frances Hill's book shows so clearly is that bad religion can be as destructive as the most virulent atheism As her subtitle shows Hill is telling the story of the trials from the first fits of Elizabeth Parris and Abigail Williams to the anticlimactic struggles of accused and exonerated witches to get released from prison since in Puritan New England prisoners had to pay for their food clothing and manacles and since being accused of witchcraft and thrown in jail for months while your property was seized by the sheriff had a deeply deleterious effect on your solvency the prison seems to have been kind of like a pitcher plant And Hill is partisan favoring the accused witches as a matter of course but scathing about Samuel Parris and Thomas Putnam in particular whom she sees as semi deliberate masterminds behind the explosion of accusations She is also trying to give as fully rounded a picture as possible meaning that she speculates freely about various persons' psychological states and motivationsA Delusion of Satan also has a polemical agenda Hill is trying to draw a line from witchcraft to the clinical hysteria of the nineteenth century to the modern bogeyman never proven of Satanic ritual abuse and to the phenomenon of recovered memories Hill's uotes referring to the adult patients of psychotherapists who are led by their therapists to believe that they remember being sexually abused as children I think the parallel between the afflicted girls of Salem and the hysterics studied by Charcot and his colleagues is a valid one particularly the point Hill makes about the performances of hysteria Charcot's hysterics could and did perform on cue but that doesn't mean they were shamming The connection with recovered memories is much tenuous and she doesn't really explain why we should believe there to be a connection at allHer psychological model is not sophisticated leaning mostly on the popular filtering of Freud through feminism Repression is the key word here And I think ultimately she ascribes to malice Thomas Putnam and Samuel Parris's mostly what needs to be at least partly understood as a radically different worldview She tends as other writers on the subject I've read have tended to treat the people of Salem as if they can't really have believed in this witchcraft nonsense But they did It's easy 400 years later to say Putnam and Parris acted out of greed and wounded pride and psychological imbalance just as it's easy to say that the twelve year old girls who sent 20 people to their deaths were or less insane as a result of the hard repressed and oppressive lives they led But we don't believe in witches the way the Puritans didI agree actually that the accusations of witchcraft were directed at particular people for reasons that were based on economics and class and parochialism But I also think it's much complicated than that The people involved in the accusations sincerely believed in their own rightness That shows very clearly in Hill's descriptions of the ministers and magistrates particularly William Stoughton and of course Cotton Mather They believed fully that what they were doing was right And that may look disingenuous or false to an impartial observer but the point is that these men I'm not excluding the women but it's the men whose responses Hill provides except for Ann Putnam's public and pathetic confession in 1706 were not impartialIt is possible that self righteousness is the most dangerous human emotion

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