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PRI's Environmental News Magazine

Were the Witch Trials a Result of Climate Change?

Published: February 6, 2018

By Bobby Bascomb

The Salem witch trials and European witch trials both coincided with the little ice age.

(stream/download) as an MP3 file

Researchers believe frigid temperatures in the late 1600's made it difficult to grow crops, and some farmers blamed their problems on witchcraft.

Were the Witch Trials a Result of Climate Change? Maybe. The little ice age in Europe happened at exactly the same time as the witch trials. Emily Oster, professor of economics at the University of Chicago, tells LOE's Bobby Bascomb that crop failures had farmers and others looking for a scapegoat.

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