For John, BLUF: People can lead themselves to believe many strange things. Nothing to see here; just move along.
The New Yorker, through the writings of Ms Stacy Schiff, talks to "The Witches of Salem: Diabolical doings in a Puritan village."
We get a good historical summary of the events of the late 17th Century here in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, but we don't get any scientific underlying reason for the events that locals took to be witchcraft. Was it PTSD from the wars with the local natives? Was it some sort of medical issue, like ergot poisoning, an idea put forward by Professor Linnda Caporael while still a college student. Here is a more popular view of that discovery, which is contested. Or is it based on the fact of evil from the supernatural realm? Or visits by the Borg or some other space traveling entity?
Regards — Cliff