Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Salem witchcraft and lessons for contemporary forensic psychiatry


Salem witchcraft and lessons for contemporary forensic psychiatry.


Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine, 11100 Euclid Avenue, Cleveland, OH 44106.


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: historical, religious and cultural belief systems; social and community concerns; economic, gender, and political factors; and local family grievances. Child witnessing, certainty of physician diagnosis, use of special evidence in the absence of scholarly and legal scrutiny, and tautological reasoning were important factors, as well. For forensic psychiatry, the events at Salem in 1692 still hold contemporary implications. These events of three centuries ago call to mind more recent daycare sexual abuse scandals.
[PubMed - in process]

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