A DELUSION OF SATAN – The Full Story of the Salem Witch Trials by Frances Hill

In this incredible narration of the real story behind the legend of the Salem Witch Hunts, Frances Hill takes us inside the beliefs, lives and superstitions of late 1790’s Puritans. I found myself getting fascinated by the insights the author gives us into the English immigrants and their religious beliefs.

This is in fact so scary that it is still a modern tale of fanaticism similar and reminiscent of some world factions of our so-called more evolved 21st century. In reading this book, I had the sensation that humans have not changed that much. They are in fact very similar to 18th century New England inhabitants.

The Puritans are a people brought up in an extremely strict religious way where God is a punitive and rather brutal God. There is only good and evil (no shades of gray among the Puritan society much like the Muslim extremists of our modern age or the Bible belt groups of modern America). In Puritan society, you are either a saint or a sinner. God forbid that you should display any kind of guilty behavior to elude to anyone some of your sins or you might end up being branded a witch. And it seemed to happen a lot then. Witchcraft was even considered a legal crime in England and thus was imported with the English immigrants to the new world and became even more cruel.

Puritans believed in the supernatural in a very gullible and frightening way and would take testimonies of people pretending to be harassed by witches totally seriously. Many people were condemned to death because of the « spectral evidence » given by « afflicted » girls who started accusing one person after another (and, strangely, the ones they envied, hated or represented a personal threat) with a zeal that would make bigots everywhere proud.

This account of the Salem events is precise, detailed and entertaining as well as extremely frightening, sad and too… reminiscent of our modern time and its cruelties. I highly recommend its reading.

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