Saturday, September 5, 2009
The Salem Effect
The theory of a hallucinogenic substence in the colonist's food as well, as the common assumption that it was simply the result of mass hysteria, was produced, discussed, and dismissed.
Eventually the conversation turned to a debate of whether witchcraft actually exists. It was a commonly accepted "no" for the most part, though we agreed that it wouldn't have been strange for the colonists to have belived in its existence since magic is referenced to in the Bible as an evil. At that point, our professor proceeded to tell us some of the strange stories he's heard about voodoo and hexes, and though most of us wrote them off as nonsense or lucky coincidences, one jumpy, nervous girl in the back suddenly burst out in a squeaky confession that she's pagan.
She proceeded to talk about the existence of witches and ceremonies that she's taken part in. The room went dead silent. Jaws dropped. Hardly anyone spoke for the rest of class. Our professor looked completely befuddled. As soon as we were dismissed everyone bolted for the door, skirting around her as if she had the plague.
On the way to my next class, I couldn't help but feel astounded. Had we not all been professing our ardent belief that witchcraft was nothing more than fiction? Even I had said that, yet here I was, half afraid of something for no better reason than that it isn't "normal."
In that moment the reason for the events of Salem, MA, became unquestionable. In the space of an hour we'd created our own little mini witch-trial, found her guilty, and sentenced her to estrangement. Why? Fear of what we do not understand. It's not something to be proud of, but it is an experience to learn from.
Before I hadn't thought myself capable of such a hasty and unfair reaction. Now that is obviously not true, but knowing it is a possibility allows me to gaurd myself against it happening again.
Ranting topics include but are not limited to: sometimes humans disappoint me