June 21, 2013

From blog commenter Mike:

“I’d seen the ‘Frontline’ episodes long ago, before I moved to North Carolina. I was surprised to learn, when I recently revisited the case, that this travesty happened in a state I love.

“For historians who might want to get a taste of what it was like to live in Salem in the late 17th century (or, to invoke a less well-known era, Germany of the 15th century), this staggering case would serve them well…. The unrepentant prosecutors, ignorant ‘therapists’ and others who ruined the lives of the defendants must not be allowed to be forgotten.”

Mike’s reference to the infamous Malleus Maleficarum, published in 1484 by two German friars to squelch skepticism about the existence of witchcraft, is painfully apt. Just substitute “satanic ritual abuse” for “witchcraft,” and – poof! – up in smoke go five centuries of the ascent of man.