Witchcraft of Salem Village by Shirley Jackson


In 1692, Salem Village was a small community of Puritans located near Salem, Massachusetts.

A group of adolescent girls decided to form a club.  They enjoyed listening to Tituba, a slave from West India, talk about her childhood and the pagan worship practices of her family.

The girls accused Tituba of witchcraft.  They would throw themselves on the ground, roll around, and scream.  They claimed they were being tormented by the witch.  Tituba was convicted of witchcraft based on the girl’s performance.  Immediately after that, the girls started accusing other residents.  They even accused a five year old girl, who was then convicted of witchcraft.

A little over a year later, hundreds of people had been accused and convicted.  Most of them were in prison; however, nineteen had already been executed and an unknown number of victims died in prison.

The witch trials were starting to have a negative impact on the whole community.  Farms were left abandoned and food was becoming scarce.  Slowly, people stopped believing the girls and ignored their antics.

Years later, the judges admitted they convicted innocent people based solely on the girl’s claims of being tormented by witches.

I wonder what became of those girls.  They are responsible for sending people to their death.  The only thing they had to gain was fame and entertainment.  Did they feel guilty for their role in this tragedy?  Was the ring leader a sociopath?

Sinners Wanted (Matthew 9:9-13)

Matthew was a corrupt tax collector and  Jesus called Matthew to follow him.  Matthew agreed, so they went to Matthew’s house.  Matthew invited other tax collectors and sinners to join him and Jesus for a meal.

When the Pharisees saw Jesus at Matthew’s house, they asked the disciples, “Why does your teacher eat with tax collectors and sinners?”  (ESV)

Jesus answered their question by saying, “Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick.  Go and learn what this means.  I desire mercy and not sacrifice.  For I come not to call the righteous, but sinners.” (ESV)


Jesus was not impressed with the self-righteous attitude of the Pharisees.  He also had no desire to help them justify their feelings of superiority.

According to Jesus, he came to heal the sick and to save sinners.  I find a lot of comfort in this passage.  At times, I feel guilty for sins I committed.  However, I know Jesus will not forsake me.  Actually, I am the type of person he came to save.

Distorted Thinking – Self Blaming

A form of distorted thinking, known as self blaming, involves holding yourself responsible for an outcome that was not completely under your control.

A common is example of self blaming includes children blaming themselves for their parents divorce.

Guilt will only weigh you down and cause you to feel miserable.  It will not solve any problems.