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It was certainly a dark chapter in the age of enlightenment and for America itself since it was supposed to be the new world where hope and equality could exist. However, as the historical record shows us, the first individuals to be accused of practicing witchcraft were the socially and economically excluded classes of beggars, poor individuals and African American persons. Further, it seems that it was not a few people who engaged in the mass hysteria of witchcraft but the whole village of Salem, neighboring towns and even the larger cities around Salem were caught up in it (Linder, 2008).
Of course even at the time there were many who thought the trials to be a farce and could not condone the use of spectral evidence in court to sent individuals to their deaths. However, just because the people were afraid and because many of them had personal motivations to hurt the individuals accused of witchcraft. the process went on unchecked. Perhaps the ones who died were better off since many more had to suffer being put in prison as their families languished for months waiting for their release (Linder, 2008).
Over the years, the impact of the sense of shame, the sense of wonder and even a sense of dread associated with the trials has remained strong in American culture. While the trials have been lampooned and even used as the basis of satire by some artists, many have also taken a more serious look at them to understand what can happen when mass hysteria and fear takes over a group of people who have little or no understanding of such matters (Linder, 2008).
In fact, even today such problems remain present in society since today we have a new specter to deal with. The colonial Americans had witches, the Americans in the 50s had to deal with communists and we today have to deal with terrorists. Undoubtedly, terrorism and the safety of America are much more real in terms of security concerns as compared to witchcraft but we have to be careful when