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As a little Halloween treat, the Smithsonian Magazine has an article available titled “A Brief History of the Salem Witch Trials: One town’s strange journey from paranoia to pardon“:

The Salem witch trials occurred in colonial Massachusetts between 1692 and 1693. More than 200 people were accused of practicing witchcraft—the Devil’s magic—and 20 were executed. Eventually, the colony admitted the trials were a mistake and compensated the families of those convicted. Since then, the story of the trials has become synonymous with paranoia and injustice, and it continues to beguile the popular imagination more than 300 years later.

A little piece of history that everyone should know about, not least as a lesson in the dangers of public hysteria. And what better time to read it…