The wicked witch of the web strikes again | india | Hindustan Times
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The wicked witch of the web strikes again

I must confess I am not given to witchcraft but recently I came across a fascinating website which talks about the famous Salem witch trials.

india Updated: Nov 22, 2003 01:27 IST

I must confess I am not given to witchcraft but recently I came across a fascinating website which talks about the famous Salem witch trials. In 1692, Salem, Massachusetts was rocked by a series of bizarre incidents related to witchcraft.

From February 1692 till April 1693, about 25 people died: 19 were executed by hanging, one was tortured to death and at least five died in jail. Over 160 people were accused of witchcraft and most were incarcerated.

Most accused came from the town of Salem and Salem Village (now Danvers), and over 50 people confessed to witchcraft. Their neighbours, relatives, jurors, ministers and magistrates were caught up in the legal proceedings. Interestingly, after the Salem trials no one was convicted of witchcraft in New England.

So, why talk about it now? In 2002, Benjamin Ray, Professor of Religious Studies at the University of Virginia created the Salem witch trials website and since then, interest in the place has heightened.

Log on to www.salemwitchtrials.org and discover a site that tells about the intriguing events of 1692. The site also has details of key people who played important roles in the trials.

Why did this tragedy happen? Nothing about it was inevitable. Only an awkward combination of war, economic conditions, teenage boredom and personal jealousies can account for the spiralling accusations, trials, and executions.

The website is still evolving and Ray is planning digital video clips and sound recordings.

In a Wired interview, Ray says: "Technology allows us to pull together the pieces of our past in amazing ways, juxtaposing images, text and maps that help us make sense of the best and worst of the human story."

And the best piece of technology that is fast changing the way we live is powering the Internet. What do you say?

Carry on surfing!