micro hw 1.docx - Sandhaya Dahal Article 1 – Bacteria influencing society Linnda Caporael may have solved one of the biggest mysteries of early

micro hw 1.docx - Sandhaya Dahal Article 1 – Bacteria...

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Sandhaya Dahal Article 1 – Bacteria influencing society Linnda Caporael may have solved one of the biggest mysteries of early American history — the cause of the Salem Witch Trials — but she stumbled onto the case quite by accident. "I actually started this project as a senior in college," recalls Caporael, now a behavioral scientist and full professor at Photo of Linnda Caporael Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in Troy, New York. The trouble in Salem began during the cold dark Massachusetts winter, January, 1692. Eight young girls began to take ill. But theirs was a strange sickness: the girls suffered from delirium, violent convulsions, incomprehensible speech, trance-like states, and odd skin sensations. The worried villagers searched desperately for an explanation. Their conclusion: the girls were under a spell, bewitched — and, worse yet, by members of their own pious community. Ultimately, more than 150 "witches" were taken into custody; by late September 1692, 20 men and women had been put to death, and five more accused had died in jail. Caporael noticed a link between the strange symptoms reported by Salem's accusers, chiefly eight young women, and the hallucinogenic effects of drugs like LSD. An hallucinogenic compound, similar to that of LSD, can be produced by a fungus, called Ergot or Claviceps purpurea that grows on improperly stored Rye grains. Ergot is a fungus blight that forms hallucinogenic drugs in bread. The victims of ergot might suffer paranoia and hallucinations, twitches and spasms, cardiovascular trouble, and stillborn children. Ergot also seriously weakens the immune system.
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