In 1692 more than 150 people would be accused of witchcraft, and 25 would die in the Salem witch trials, the largest witchcraft outbreak in American history. In this illustrated talk, Emerson Baker explores the rich catalogue of explanations that have been put forward over the years to solve the mystery of what happened in 1692 but ultimately shows that there was no single factor. Rather, behind the events in Salem and surrounding towns was a unique convergence of conditions, including a new charter and government, a grim and bloody frontier war in Maine, and sectarian and political power-struggles.
Emerson "Tad" Baker is interim dean of graduate and professional studies as well as a professor of History at Salem State University. He is the award-winning author of many works on the history and archaeology of early New England and has served as an advisor for PBS-TV’s American Experience and Colonial House, and has been an on-camera expert for TLC’s Who Do You Think You Are?