Why are witches hunted so hard?

Economist Emily Oster said, according to historical records worldwide, witch hunts are more likely to occur during a cold climate.

Because when the weather is cold, it is difficult for people to get goats for sacrificial offerings due to poor harvests and economic difficulties. Through research, this is also true of the famous Salem witch disaster that occurred in 1692, with more than 200 people imprisoned and dozens of people killed for being considered witches. At that time the average temperature in Salem was in the coldest period of a small ice age.

One of the girls with collective hysteria was referred to as witch in Salem. (Photo: Livescience)

Previously, it was often explained that many girls in Salem were then accused of witchcraft due to the fact that in the winter of 1691-1692, the Reverend Samuel Parris’s daughter, Betty, died of witchcraft. . Many young girls who were said to be witches by the villagers at the time had a mental illness that was a mass hysteria.

However, according to the new theory, the hysteria may be due to catastrophic economic conditions. “Through studying witchcraft-related cases, even when considering psychological and cultural events and circumstances, a key motive for that phenomenon is closely related to completion. economic scene, ”Oster said.

However, the new theory shows that hysteria can emerge from catastrophic economic conditions. Lack of burning fuel can make houses become gloomy and make people feel like seeing witches. “Witch trials say that, even considering the facts and circumstances considered psychologically, culturally, the basic key motivation may be closely related to the economic situation,” Oster. .

The change in weather in Africa also caused allegations of witchcraft in many places where many murders of witchcraft still exist. According to the 2003 analysis of economist Edward Miguel Berkeley, extreme rainfall (too much or too little) here coincides with a significant increase in the number of witch killings in Tanzania. In particular, victims are often the oldest women in a household.

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