"A Delusion of Satan" Book Review by Suzannah

"A Delusion of Satan"
A comparison of the Salem Witch Trials of 1692 with present 'urban legends' and witch-hunts, focusing on Francis Hill's "A Delusion of Satan: The Full Story of the Salem Witch Trials."
# 97614 | 4,321 words | 14 sources | MLA | 2007 | FR

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This paper reviews Frances Hill's book, "A Delusion of Satan: The Full Story of the Salem Witch Trials." It addresses her claims concerning the apparent parallels between the Salem Witch Trials and the "witch-hunts" of more recent times. The paper begins by defining the social, religious and political conditions present within Salem Village and the ways in which these elements enabled and promoted the Salem tragedy. Then the paper discusses contemporary worldviews concerning religious beliefs and ideologies and how these factors contributed to modern witch-hunts throughout both Europe and the United States.

Table of Contents:
The Power of Religious Conviction
Demons in Contemporary Western Culture
Influencing Social and Cultural Factors
Urban Tales and Legends

From the Paper:

"Frances Hill, like most other academics, does not believe that the children depicting apparent signs of demon possession in Salem Village during 1692 were actually truly inflicted in this manner, and she also either partially or wholly disagrees on the various hypotheses that many other theorists have offered in explanation. Instead, Hill emphasizes that the strong presence of strict Purist worldviews - which "as their diaries, letters, and sermons leave [in] no doubt ..... [show that] they regarded all activities besides work and prayer as potentially sinful distractions and believed they should be wary of impulses that led to fun or amusement" (Hill, 1997, p.5) - along with their Pastor's obsession with the devil and sinfulness, created an ambiance that was conducive to public and mass hysteria (Hill, 1997)."

Sample of Sources Used:

  • Boyer, Paul S. and Stephen Nissenbaum, 1976. Salem Possessed: The Social Origins of Witchcraft. Cambridge, MA. Harvard University Press.
  • Christine Leigh Heyrman, Department of History, University of Delaware. Online Article, Religion, Women, and the Family in Early America, 2007. Information retrieved 06/19/2007. < http://www.nhc.rtp.nc.us/tserve/eighteen/ekeyinfo/erelwom.htm>
  • Cornerstone.mag, Online Article, The Cornerstone Series on Mike Warnke; an investigation into his temtimony, with feedback and rebuttal, 1992. Information retrieved 06/19/2007.<http://www.cornerstonemag.com/features/iss098/warnke_index.htm>
  • Discord. org. Online Document, The Jet Report, 1990. Information retrieved 06/20/2007.<http://www.discord.org/~lippard/jetrep.html
  • Frances Hill,1997. A Delusion of Satan: The Full Story of the Salem Witch Trials. Da Capo Press.

Cite this Book Review:

APA Format

"A Delusion of Satan" (2007, August 28) Retrieved May 27, 2023, from https://www.academon.com/book-review/a-delusion-of-satan-97614/

MLA Format

""A Delusion of Satan"" 28 August 2007. Web. 27 May. 2023. <https://www.academon.com/book-review/a-delusion-of-satan-97614/>