Salem Witch Trial

Comparing Historical Events to Experiments

Summary of the Salem Witch Trial

The Salem Witch Trial started in January of 1692. It started when a small group girls, about ages 9-12) were playing in the forrest. Two of which were Reverend Samuel Parris of Salem Village's daughter and niece (http://www.salemwitchmuseum.com/education/). Later on, they started screaming and acting strange so a doctor examined them. When the doctors could't think of anything else, they declared them as bewitched. The girls accused multiple women as witches.


The town believed the girls because they were put under the impression that they were bewitched. Another reason why reason why it was easy to believe was because citizens of the town had, "a strong belief in the devil" and there were several "accusations of witchcraft" (http://www.salemwitchmuseum.com/education/). These said witches were kept away from people and frowned upon. They were kept in prisons and soon prisons were filled with over 150 men and women and 7 died (http://www.history.com/topics/salem-witch-trials).


Soon after that, people started to get death penalties. The first person who got hanged was, Bridget Bishop, and after her, several others followed. (http://www.smithsonianmag.com/history/a-brief-history-of-the-salem-witch-trials-175162489/?no-ist) A total of 19 people died by being hung, and 1 man was crushed to death. Many others lives were never the same. Multiple people's world changed because they were paranoid over the devil and witchcraft.

Milgram's Experiment

Milgram's Experiment tested the reaction of people due to the situation they were put in. There are two actors, and one regular person who thinks its an experiment for a new learning method. One actor pretends like he doesn't know what going on either. The normal person draws out of a hat to see if they get student or teacher. It is actually rigged so that they will always get teacher. They watch the paid actor get strapped into a chair and get cords and electric wires attached to them. Then, they are taken to a different room. In that room, there is a board of little levers and on top of each lever it has different watts that they think they will be zapping the actor. The second actors plays an authority figure and is dressed in a white lab coat. They stay in the room with the regular person. The regular person is told to ask the actor questions and if they get it wrong to switch the lever and shock them. To my surprise, more than half of the people went all the way to 450 watts. If they ask to stop, the authority figure will simply say, "The experiment requires that you must continue". This has been tested several times and each time the same thing happens.
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Stanford Prison Experiment

Stanford Prison Experiment started with an ad in the newspaper stating that they needed college students to volunteer for an experiment. Stanford examined the different volunteers and found the most simular ones. They randomly selected half to be guards and the other half to be prisoners. They made a prison at the Stanford campus with cells and everything that was necessary. They told the students to act like they were real prisoners or guards. Everything was running smoothly until the prisoners started to rebel. The guards were forced to use physical contact to keep them under control and after that things started becoming more like a real prison. The guards started using punishments and making the prisoners feel useless and embarrassed. Things got so bad that the experiment that was meant to last 2 weeks, was ended during the 6th day.
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Connections

Even though Salem Witch Trials, Milgram's Experiment and the Stanford Prison Experiment were three completely different things, they all kind of relate to each other. In the Stanford Prison Experiment the guards were acting like jerks to the prisoners because they were put under the impression that they were suppose to be punishing them because they did something wrong. Just like in the Salem Witch Trials. People punished the witches and were mean to them because other people said that they had done something wrong and they were told that they were good people. (http://www.eyewitnesstohistory.com/salem.htm)


Milgram's Experiment works because there was an authority figure telling them it is required. I think most people wouldn't have gone all the way to the end if no one was there to tell them not to. Just like in the Salem Witch Trials. Reverend Samuel Parris of Salem Village was the father and uncle of two of the girls (http://www.salemwitchmuseum.com/education/). Therefor, he was all for the fact that they were bewitched so it wouldn't be there fault or his. He was looked upon as a very mature good man so when he said that the witches were bad, people believed him and when he abused the "witches" rights, so did everyone else. (http://www.history.com/topics/salem-witch-trials)