Smallpox, an Epidemic
Approximately two to three years before the Salem Witch Trials took place, smallpox took hold of the area. If contracted, mainly the very young and very old, the rate of survival was extremely low. Even the healthy were not immune as it stretched its contagious tentacles over the area.
Ideas have been studied regarding how this smallpox epidemic kickstarted the Salem Witch Trials. Fear of the unknown that surrounded it left many people fearful and looking for someone to blame. Who better than the Devil and witches?