Chadwick Hansen’s “Witchcraft at Salem” provides an interesting
account of the infamous Salem Witch Trials that took place in Salem
Massachusetts in 1692.Hansen provides and account of the accused persons
who were tried and eventually hanged for witchcraft.Through the
utilization of contemporary accounts and the trial documents, Hansen
relates the usual details of the rise and fall of the terrible dealings
that took place that year in Salem Village. There has been a great deal of
work produced about this popular subject, with the majority of it focusing
on the theories of the origins and causes of the witch craze society.
Chapter one provides an introduction into the early years of
witchcraft in Salem and provides the reader with a brief historical profile
of witchcraft.Hensen begins by attempting to provide the reader with a
useful definition of witchcraft and how it applies to Western society and
the establishment of New England.Historical milestones in the evolution
of witchcraft and the contributions of “learned men” such as Locke and
Hobbes to that development are discussed.For example, Hensen describes
how Locke recognized witchcraft in his writings and thereby recognizing an
In Chapter 2 the reader is given a history of four significant
witchcraft examples that occurred in 1692 in New England prior to the
trials in Salem.The circumstances surrounding the cases of Anne Hibbins
from Boston, Rebecca Greensmith and her husband Nathan from Hartford and
Anne Cole’s role in Greensmith’s trial, Elizabeth Knapp from Groton,
Massachusetts, and John Goodwin’s four children from Boston are profiled.
In each case, Hensen provides details of the “hysteria” symptoms displayed
by the individuals and the outcome of their case.These examples are
significant because they provide evidence to the strength of the accusation
of witchcraft without any proof for a trial….

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