Salem Witch Trials

Mapping the Salem Witch Trials  Benjamin Ray, the director of the Salem Witch Trials Documentary Archive at the University of Virginia, wondered why witchcraft charges spread so rapidly and widely in 1692, affecting 156 people — 15 times more than in any other incident — across 25 communities in Essex County, Mass.  When he plotted the accusations on a digital map that showed their progression over time, it struck him that the way in which they spread mimicked that of a disease.  The image at right is a single screen shot taken from an interactive map that traces the sequence of accusations from February through November 1692. It shows the moment at which the accusations began to spread rapidly, when the Rev. George Burroughs was accused on April 20, 1692.

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