quando la realtà supera la fantasia – i processi di Salem

 From June through September of 1692,hundreds of men and women were accused of witchcraft and sent to prison in Salem,  Massachusetts, North America. 

 Many remained in jail (= galera) for months without trials (= processi).  Nineteen were hanged (= impiccati) at Gallows Hill, a slope(= una rupe)  near SalemVillage.  An old man was pressed under heavy stones (= soffocato sotto pesanti massi di pietra) because he refused this trial.

Then, this collective  hysteria stopped…

The reason of the “unjust” way of making justice was due to (= fu dovuta a ) a combination of difficult living and economic conditions in unknown territories, frontier wars, personal conflicts and jealousies.

In 1688, John Putnam, influential elder (= anziano) of SalemVillage, invited Samuel Parris, a farmer and merchant in the Barbados, to preach (= predicare) in the Village church.  A year later, Parris accepted the job as Village minister (= prete) and moved to Salem e with his wife, his six-year-old daughter, Betty, his niece Abigail and his Indian slave, Tituba.

In that period the area was changing and becoming a place for merchants, but  families were fighting for the power and there was a debate about the independence of the agricultural SalemVillagefrom the sea centred Salem

During an exceptionally cold winter of 1692, young Betty Parris became strangely ill. At that time – after the publication of Cotton Mather’s book about the suspected witchcraft (= stregoneria) of an Irish washerwoman (= lavandaia) in Boston– it was easy to believe that the girl was possessed by the devil. When other Betty’s mates (=compagni)  started suffering from the same symptoms was called doctor William Griggs. Unfortunately he  could not  cure them, and so he declared that the girls’ problems might had a supernatural origin.

Besides,  the slave Tituba was already suspected as she told the girls tales (= racconti) of omens (= auspici), voodoo, and witchcraft from her native folklore. On  February 29, three arrest warrants (= mandati di arresto)  were issued (= stipulati) against Tituba and two other women. And Tituba was so afraid that she confessed she had been approached (= avvicinata) by a tall man in Boston, probably Satan in the flesh (= in carne ed ossa). From that moment on, the witch chase (= caccia alle streghe) started with a new zeal (= zelo) and the persecution went on…..