“Shouts and cries tear through the midnight skies as a large mob rushes through the streets screaming ‘monster, monster!’ Carrying torches, pitch forks, and any other sort of ominous weapon they attack the doors to destroy the creature inside”. No this was not the latest strike against Sad am, or another crazed cult attack; it is mass hysteria and it grips the world with an iron fist. This concept is not a recent new age thing either; it has been around sense the dawn of time. The madness that condemned the town of Salem still broods inside the hearts of people to this day in the form of stolen planes and suicide bombers. It is the lack of knowledge that brings about paranoia and panic.

When people do not understand something they fear it”; ‘I’d [Mr. Putnam] not call it sick; the Devil’s touch is heavier then sick. It is death y’know, its death drivn’ into them, forked and hoofed”. No one could explain her sickness so it was automatically blamed on supernatural forces. This stirred up suspicions among the town of who was really loyal and who was not, even though it was a hoax. When Abigail started to pretend that Mary Warren was sending out her spirit to attack her Danforth cried out ” ‘Mary Warren, do you witch her? I say to you, do you send your spirit out?’ ” It was the first explanation for what was going on in the court room and Danforth jumped on it like it was treasure for the taking.

Even though these girls were obviously pretending, it was unheard of that someone would falsify information to get there way in an already Devil corrupted world the Puritans were living in. The lack of knowledge during a suspenseful moment causes many ideas to brood in someone’s head so they feel in control. When others start standing up or during some extreme cases related to people who are being oppressed they are automatically painted with the same stain as the others. During the witch trials John Proctor attempts to clear his wife’s name, “I have made a bell of my honor! I have rung the doom of my good name-you will believe me, Mr. Danforth! My wife is innocent…

“, John tries to protect is wife by throw his name in the dirt but the court not only disregards his statements but labels him a wizard as well. Just like when fathers and mothers or sons and daughters defended each other if one of them was a Communist in the 50’s. John Proctor is sentenced by Danforth to ” [hanged] high over the town!” because he defended. Due to the categorizing of the court John Proctor was hanged for his supposed pact with the Devil to kill Puritans. There were many Arab men who where beaten some even killed because they believed in a non-Christian god, Ala.

It is odd how so many people actually believe that a family member or race’s views can some how be transferred on to others through blood, nationality, or religious stand point. Sadly though the biggest part of mass hysteria is the gossip from others about people they think they know. In Salem, twelve women were accused and many of them condemned by the allegations created by Abigail and Betty. Sense these two girls were so attention craved they decided to condemn twelve innocent women to death. It makes you think how many families were torn apart by an unruly neighbor’s anonymous phone call to the authorities. In fear of Abigail’s wrath Mary Warren cries out ” ‘Your’ the Devil’s man!’ ” at John Proctor to get back on Abigail’s good graces.

John Proctor is immediately charged with witchcraft and is ultimately hanged for the accusations of wizardry. Racism kindled in the hearts of thousands of Americans after 9/11 because of what they heard on C.N.N. about Arabians and gossip about there local Muslims. With xenophobia brewing in the minds of a nation it is no wonder why so many groups, including the United Nations, do not want to support our actions. Mass hysteria is a disease created by unawareness.

In 1692 everybody in Salem knew that all unexplainable events were witchcraft; and in the 50’s everybody knew that Communism was a threat to the American way of life. Right now everybody knows that terrorism is going to destroy the world because Sud am Hussein and Oss am Bin Laden are still alive. The world is filled with this fear that consumes the lives of billions of people creating disgust that drives them to work, feeds their children, and pays there bills. Its hatred that steals lives from people; because hatred is the still born child of ignorance and boredom.

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