Witchcraft or Mycotoxin? The Salem Witch Trials

@article{Woolf2000WitchcraftOM,
  title={Witchcraft or Mycotoxin? The Salem Witch Trials},
  author={Alan David Woolf},
  journal={Journal of Toxicology: Clinical Toxicology},
  year={2000},
  volume={38},
  pages={457 - 460}
}
  • A. Woolf
  • Published 1 January 2000
  • History
  • Journal of Toxicology: Clinical Toxicology
Background: The Salem witchcraft trials of 1692 have been studied by many historians looking for the complex social, political, and psychological determinants behind the community-wide hysteria that led to a travesty of justice and the deaths of 20 innocent Puritans. Recently, ergot poisoning has been put forth by some as a previously unsuspected cause of the bizarre behaviors of the young adolescent girls who accused the townsfolk of witchcraft. In this essay the circumstances behind the ergot… 
Salem witchcraft and lessons for contemporary forensic psychiatry.
  • S. Friedman, A. Howie
  • Psychology
    The journal of the American Academy of Psychiatry and the Law
  • 2013
In 1692 and 1693, in Salem, Massachusetts, more than 150 colonists were accused of witchcraft, resulting in 19 being hanged and one man being crushed to death. Contributions to these events included:
Witchcraft or Mental Illness
TLDR
Looking at historical documents dating back to the 15th century, Dr Quintanilla was able to match the symptoms of people condemned as witches with associated neurological and psychiatric disorders, such as epilepsy and hysteria.
“The Salem Witch Mania”: Recent Scholarship and American History Textbooks
A critical presentation of recent research on the Salem witch trials, this essay contrasts new scholarly findings with outdated accounts in current American history textbooks. The article draws
Ergotism in Norway. Part 1: The symptoms and their interpretation from the late Iron Age to the seventeenth century
Ergotism is a horrendous disease with grotesque symptoms caused by ingesting specific ergot alkaloids. Mass poisoning episodes are attributable to consumption of grain – usually rye – infected with
The witch trials of finnmark, Northern Norway, during the 17th century: Evidence for ergotism as a contributing factor
  • T. Alm
  • History
    Economic Botany
  • 2008
TLDR
Medical symptoms compatible with ergotism were recorded in numerous trials, including gangrene, convulsions, and hallucinations; the latter often explicitly stated to occur after consumption of foodstuffs or drink.
Parasites or Cohabitants: Cruel Omnipresent Usurpers or Creative “Éminences Grises”?
This paper presents many types of interplays between parasites and the host, showing the history of parasites, the effects of parasites on the outcome of wars, invasions, migrations, and on the
A Psychological Analysis of the Arthur Miller’s Abigail Williams to Her Historical Person
Arthur Miller’s The Crucible was written encompassing the events and people of the Salem Witch trials. In many analyses written by literary critics, his writing has been compared to facts from
Why the Quakers Quaked: The Influence of Climatic Change on Quaker Health, 1647-1659
TLDR
Religious enthusiasm rose to a peak in England in the middle of the seventeenth century, and among the religious enthusiasts of the 1650s were the Quakers, so-called by outsiders because of their tendency to tremble when "the power" moved them.
Salem Trials (1692) in History and in Miller’s The Crucible: Investigating truth claims in historical narratives and drama
  • Aamir Aziz
  • History
    Baltic Journal of English Language, Literature and Culture
  • 2022
Arthur Miller’s The Crucible is, in the first instance, a literary reconstruction of a historical event: the Salem trials that took place in the village of Salem in Essex County, New England (today
The entheogenic origins of Mormonism: A working hypothesis
Historical documents relating to early Mormonism suggest that Joseph Smith (1805–1844) employed entheogen-infused sacraments to fulfill his promise that every Mormon convert would experience visions
...
...

References

SHOWING 1-10 OF 16 REFERENCES
Ergotism and the Salem witch panic: a critical analysis and an alternative conceptualization.
  • N. Spanos
  • Psychology
    Journal of the history of the behavioral sciences
  • 1983
TLDR
This perspective views the Salem crisis as a sociopolitical drama played out in terms of the worldview shared by seventeenth-century Puritans, and the events purportedly explained by the ergot hypothesis are accounted for within a social psychological framework.
Ergotism: the satan loosed in Salem?
TLDR
The evidence suggests that convulsive ergotism, a disorder resulting from the ingestion of grain contaminated with ergot, may have initiated the witchcraft delusion in Salem.
Report on an Outbreak of Alleged Ergot Poisoning by Rye Bread in Manchester
TLDR
The clinical characters of the outbreak, so far as they have been recorded, strongly support the view that ergot was responsible; all the necessary factors and conditions for the production of illness were present and it is not surprising that it occurred.
Occurrence of peptide and clavine ergot alkaloids in tall fescue grass.
TLDR
The results indicate that ergot alkaloids are probably responsible for the toxicity to cattle of this common pasture and lawn grass and that Ergotism-like toxicoses may be caused by clavicipitaceous fungi other than Claviceps.
Mycotoxins: toxicity, carcinogenicity, and the influence of various nutritional conditions*
  • P. Newberne
  • Medicine
    Environmental health perspectives
  • 1974
TLDR
Alimentary toxic aleukia, which has caused enormous suffering in Russian human and animal populations, is better understood as a result of relatively recent experimental investigations, and Japanese studies have clearly revealed the hepatotoxicity of certain metabolites of Penicillium molds.
Ergotamine absorption and toxicity.
TLDR
Plasma and urinary ergotamine was measured by radio-immunoassay and pharmacokinetic data derived from the study are presented and their relevance to the therapeutic use of ergotamines are discussed.
Ergot induced myocardial ischaemia in a patient without vasospastic disorder.
TLDR
The hazards of non-therapeutic anabolic-androgenic steroid administration and their trivial usage should be made clear to all those using such substances to enhance athletic success and physique.
Acute Myocardial Infarction Secondary to Ergot Therapy
TLDR
The patient described below had received ergotamine tartrate for many years, had no known contraindications to its continued use and had received what is considered to be an obvious overdosage.
Ergot and the Salem witchcraft affair.
...
...