A few days ago, I watched a late 1990s History Channel production, In Search of History: the Salem Witch
I must confess that my knowledge of the Salem witch trials previously was only the basics, the things that any schoolchild would know (theoretically speaking). I was never the expert on the topic my older brother was and remains.
I was always aware that a grievous injustice was done to those convicted, but I was terribly surprised to see and hear the specifics of how they were convicted. The very idea of so many people being tried and found guilty of witchcraft and so many people dying based on the hysterics of young girls is incredible.
The Puritan mindset must have been so accustomed to their women, children, and, in particular their female children being seen and not heard that the fact that these girls spoke and conveyed with authority made them believe every word.
Further craziness: The last guilty verdicts were only removed in the latter half of the 20th century.