On This Date in History: In late 1691 and early 1692, some girls in Salem, Massachusetts began to scream that devils were pinching them, convulsing and doing all sorts of twitching. They were fed what were called “witch cakes” and they subsequently began accusing a bunch of women of hanging out with Satan! The doctor was called and the diagnosis was an acute case of suffering from witchcraft. After hearing the diagnosis, the girls confirmed the diagnosis. On this date in 1692, the infamous Salem Witch Trials began. Sarah Goode, Sarah Osborne and the Indian slave Tituba were charged with practicing witchcraft. Later on that same day, Tituba confessed under probable coercion, though there is no record of anyone using rubber hoses. By the time it was over, nearly 150 people, mainly women, were accused of consulting with the Devil!! By the middle of the year, some 19 people had been hanged…well….18 were hanged…some poor man named Giles Corey was executed by pressing. By October 1692, Governor of the Massachusetts Colony William Phipps brought an end to the nonsense and all trials were halted, the accused released and there were no more hangings or pressings.
It all started in February 1692 when two girls, aged 9 and 11, began having odd maladies and fits. They were the daughter and niece of the local pastor. A doctor was called and his diagnosis was that the girls were suffering from the effects of witchcraft. I guess the girls wanted to go along to get along because they somehow acknowledged the good doctor’s conclusion. Adults in the community began encouraging the girls. Other girls decided to join the ranks with the afflicted and suddenly a bunch of juveniles began accusing mostly middle aged women of being witches. Several men also fell under the title of accused as well as a four year old child. In June, a special court was convened under Chief Justice William Stoughton who brought his judement. Bridget Bishop was up first, found guilty and hanged on June 10. The main evidence against the accused was the behaviour of the witnesses during the court proceedings. Many proceeded to hallucinate and have convulsive fits. The assumption was that the defendants were the reason for the odd behaviour.
Here is an interesting theory of what really happened. The girls had eaten grain contaminated with the fungus ergot. Ergot is largely made up of an alkaloid. That alkaloid is lysergic acid amide which has properties very similar to lysergic acid diethylamide which is best known today as LSD. Yes indeed, it is possible the Salem Witch Trials could have been caused by girls dropping acid.
Weather Bottom Line: A few days ago I warned you that the temperatures might be colder than what the guys and gals on TV were telling you. I also thought that perhaps the time of the cold streak, while relatively short, might be more extended than advertised by the tv foofs. Well, I can’t figure out how we get above freezing on Monday….look for teens to start the day and I think generally upper 20’s for the afternoon…maybe someone gets close to freezing. Sunday, probably low to mid 30’s. Tuesday, we warm up but not that quickly…maybe low 40’s. We get to the 50’s and perhaps low 60’s for the end of the week with rain chances increasing late in the week.
What is happening is what I had thought might develop. The low swinging around to our south really bombs out as it moves up the east coast. In doing so, there will be a good chance of some 8-12 inch snows up the eastern seaboard, particularly in the northeast. I’m sure you will hear about it on the national news this week since it will be going through the big media centers. The NAM advertises the low running close enough to the coast to do exactly that. As this low deepens, it helps to draw down the cold air. Once it clears out by midweek, then we get some long wave ridging and we warm up. The next front doesn’t show up until late in the week.