Last Updated 06 Jul 2020

Critical Review

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Frances Hill’s book is not in a horror genre as what the first impression could be with regards to the title itself.  It is merely a collection of facts and stories untold, and an extension of a historical argument that is more terrifying than fictional horror stories.  Is the book A Delusion of Satan: The Full Story of the Salem Witch Trial still timely to discuss or not?

Witchcraft, sorcery and witch hunting; judicial perspective, extreme religious practices of good versus evil and social responsibility reflects on Frances Hill’s search for truth and justice by means of writing.  Being a professor in the school of law, she astutely provides the fascination to take charge the unending trials by publicity of the people generation to generation with the same subject Salem Witch Trial which created a deep impact on the history.

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The said mass hysteria in 1692 is one of the darkest parts in the history of America.  Although there are some who still patronizes such act of witchcraft, the tendency to repeat the mass hysteria is now impossible to happen.  We are now more scientific and democratic in all our moves while we are unfolding the history.

Thus, as long as we believe in scientific bases and act intelligently, the delusion of Satan in the witchcraft trial like what the Salem people in 1692 has experienced will never happen again.

It was clearly described in the book how the people during those days are immoral in their own ways, has poor understanding and explicitly drastic.  They tend to believe in superstitions and voodoo activities irregardless of their social status.  It was as if these people are all uncivilized, uneducated and not God-fearing people in the author’s study which stated as follows.

The Salem witch trial began and found suspects guilty as the judges allowed the supposed victims            to testify about being attacked by the suspects in their spectral or ghostly forms—      that is, forms   that no one other than the victims could see.[1]  The trial resulted to sufferings of more than a hundred residents of Salem.

They are tortured, beaten and starved in prisons.  Nineteen people     were hung and executed, and one pressed with heavy stones to death because of denying to the said accusations of witchcraft.  Others were made to stand without rest during interminable        sessions of questioning.[2]

Before the book ended, the author Frances Hill gave significant propositions why the girls of Salem Village behaved that way and why the judges and the people involved did not see their actions as fake, feigned and delirium.


To conclude this critical review of the book, I would like to stress out my own statements and conclusions being an educated and knowledgeable individual.  Firstly, I certainly do not agree to the evil and grotesque way of the Salem Witch Trial.  I believe in due process, fair trial and fair justice which modern people like us practice in our day to day living.  Secondly, I agree with the author’s battle against these evil activities by pinpointing facts from the history.

However, I believe that this topic of trial for suspected witches are no longer timely and helpful in accordance to our more mature and technologically advanced culture.  Authorities, judges and justices themselves do not rely now on supernatural things.

They evaluate the case based on scientific evidence, and sentence the accused in a more humanitarian way.  Hence, the author’s topic and the book itself are just merely opinions and story-telling combined with a touch of intelligently driven research.


Hill, Frances. “Chapter One Sowing the Dragon’s Teeth”. A Delusion of Satan: The Full Story of the Salem Witch Trial. p.1. Copyright 1997 Published by Da Capo Press Cambridge, MA Uniqueness of the Salem Witchcraft Trials.  Mar. 29, 2007.

[1] Uniqueness of the Salem Witchcraft Trials.
2 Hill, Frances. Chapter One Sowing the Dragon’s Teeth. A Delusion of Satan: The Full Story of the Salem Witch Trial. p.1 Copyright 1997 Published by Da Capo Press Cambridge, MA

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