The Invisible World
Wonders of the Invisible World, written by Cotton Mather's, looks at the use of otherworldly evidence during the Salem witch trials and evaluate if it was permissible in 1692 with their standards. This paper examines the use of spiritual evidence used that was considered unearthly based in Mather's guidelines. However, these guidelines were slim, making those accused of being a witch, causing convictions to be deemed inequitable. Therefore, spiritual accusations were admissible despite the unfair judgement effect.
Mather's invisible world, the book known as the start of the Salem witchcraft trials of 1692, sparked an even greater effect in Colonial America. Established for the trials, Mather's book was used as legal guidelines to examine and identify spectral evidence used in courtrooms for legal procedure. However, in the time, judge and juries came into play after numerous accusations, mainly involving young girls in Salem Village, Massachusetts.
Various forms of evidence used to accordingly point out spectral behavior's, such as strange clothing, strange marks on their bodies, being widowed, flirting with other men, especially not living by puritan values, thus creates a threat to men and other women in society. Some accusers claimed to see activity during examinations, even in trials that could even lead outside the courtroom and cause harm, such as being bewitched, stabbed or even bruised, causing physical harm with no evidence. Those usually being accused of the crime of witchcraft were viewed as female misfits in their society. However, Mathers indicators to identify a witch as that the "Devil has Often Transformed into Angel of Light, it is very certain that the devils have sometimes represented the shapes of persons not only innocent, but also very virtuous".
When you look at early American colonial legal system, and compare it to the current American legal system, we see a drastic change from the colonial times. Innocent until proven guilty became American law in 1895, still relatively new. If the Salem Witch trials were to take place in current times, those trials will not look nor be near to be one or the same. There was no law protecting its citizens, even when there was no proof against them, and for those who admitted to being a witch, some saw it as an opportunity to live in a cell rather than having a death sentence.
In conclusion, the lack of specific laws and rules of evidence, according to Salem 1692 laws had multiple effects. Judges and juries would consider the evidence with little to no direction on what would be legal and illegal. Their law sources would be in the long legal text that was not yet clearly simplified evidential rules. Despite all this, the accuser was able to convince authority's that the devil could impersonate the pure hearted innocent victims, which alone effected the victims to unjust prosecutions of Salem.
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