In response to watching the silly TV show Salem, I’ve been cursorily boning-up on the actual history of the Salem witch trials.
The first three accused people were:
1. a black slave,
2. a beggar woman, and
3. a woman who married her former indentured servant, possibly for financial reasons.
It’s almost too perfect.
A proto-capitalist, patriarchal, colonial society. What do they fear? Women who make independent sexual choices, or why try to control money. The breaching of class boundaries. The poor and dispossessed. Black slaves.
The initial accusations were made by young women or girls who were thoroughly indoctrinated and submerged within the ideological thoughtworld of their high-status parents, and their society.
They went for suspects they knew would be believable to others. They went for the stigmatised and mistrusted.
What you have there is the refracted terror of the ruling class towards their own oppressed groups.