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Title: Salem Revisited
Short title: Salem Revisited
First Author: Robert C. Kahlert
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Abstract. Many reasons have been given to explain the events surrounding Salem Village and the outbreak of the greatest Witch hunt in the new colonies: Socio-political and economic jealousies; the role of women in Puritan society; the aftermath and the effects of King Philips' Indian Wars; even speculations of the potential effects of neurotoxins on the participants. We present an interpretation of the Salem Witch trials that accepts many of these theories as partial answers for explaining the happenings, but distinguish the different groups of Salem society for which these explanations are applicable. Specifically, we will show that the initial outbreak of "supernatural" behavior of eleven year old Abigail Williams and her pre-teen playmates is attributable to Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, resulting from Abigail's experiences in the Indian War; that the second outbreak of the behaviors, primarily amongst seventeen-year old servant girls, is connected with their disempowered status in Puritan society; and how the selection of the victims reflects the waning fortunes of the Parris and Putnam families.