Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Bewitchment: The Healing Touch In Salem

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When we are feeling bad and someone offers a comforting touch that makes us feel better, we often thank them, not condemn them to death.  Yet, those suspected of witchcraft were brought before those that were ill and in the middle of fits, in order to be made to lay hands on them while blindfolded.  This, of course, in any humane manner, would be done in hopes of making the ailing feel better, as it would be impossible not to want such a thing if you are a good person.  Thus, when this concept was inevitably proved true, it was propagandized so that it would appear that the opposite had happened.  Thus, those that offered the most calming effect were insisted to be witches.  Reverend John Hale explained the nature of the slander:

"The Witch by the cast of her eye sends forth a Malefick Venome into the Bewitched to cast him into a fit, and therefore the touch of the hand doth by sympathy cause that venome to return into the Body of the Witch again (John Hale, A Modest Enquiry into the Nature of Witchcraft, 1696. p. 59. See:Virginia.edu)."

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