The Salem witch trials are one of the about meaning examples of mass hysteria in history, but there are a lot of tall tales surrounding the bodily trials. Over fourth dimension, many of those myths have been accepted every bit facts and accept even been taught in schools.
While some of those myths are unbelievable, the actual facts about what happened are fifty-fifty more bizarre. Grab a broom and some potion; we’re revealing some bewitching facts virtually the Salem witch trials and dispelling some of the most common myths.
Nobody Was Burned at the Stake
Many people believe that those who were accused and bedevilled of witchcraft during the Salem witch trials were burned at the stake. While this did happen in Europe, it did non happen during the Salem trials. This is one of the more pop myths surrounding the events, merely it’s a huge misconception.
Those who were accused and convicted were more often than not sent to the gallows where they were hanged. Some perished in jail, and one of the accused was “pressed” to expiry, significant a board was placed on peak of him before stones were used to crush his body.
Another mutual myth is that every person accused of witchcraft during this fourth dimension was tried for their crimes. This isn’t truthful. Giles Corey, the homo who was pressed to death, didn’t even acknowledge the accusations against him. He didn’t merits that he was innocent or guilty, but he was killed anyway.
Sadly, during this time period, police force and guild didn’t concur the same importance they do now. Fifty-fifty those in power had petty problem taking the constabulary into their own hands. Some of those accused were put to expiry without whatever due process.
Even Dogs Were Defendant of Witchcraft
Many don’t realize that it wasn’t but people who were accused of witchcraft during the trials — even dogs were targeted. At least ii dogs were accused of witchcraft and were killed because of these accusations.
Some children had stated the dogs had used witchcraft to ship them into convulsions. People of the time besides believed there were links between dogs and the devil. In reality, nobody was condom from being named a witch, even man’s best friend.
Men Were Also Accused of Witchcraft
Information technology’s a myth that
women were accused of witchcraft during the Salem witch trials. There were also at least five men who were accused and subsequently killed. Other men were likewise defendant but managed to avoid decease sentences.
Fifty-fifty though near of the accused were women, men weren’t completely prophylactic during the late 1600s. Anybody, regardless of who they were, could have been defendant of existence a witch. Virtually of the allegations were accepted every bit truth, then nearly anybody could have go a victim. The trials targeted many people.
Not Everyone Who Was Accused Was Killed
There were a lot of accusations at the time — and in that location were expiry sentences for many of the accused. Even so, it’southward a common myth that
every single person accused was put to death. This isn’t truthful. Many were actually pardoned. Lots of them had to look out the hysteria in jail cells, but they did manage to live.
It was a tragic fourth dimension, but despite the hysteria, hundreds of people survived. Sometimes, community members came out in droves to speak against accusations. This resulted in the defendant being pardoned. In some cases, prison house guards were also bribed to let the accused escape.
Smallpox Added to the Hysteria
While the trials were a fourth dimension of hysteria, certain factors merely increased that hysteria and likely exacerbated anybody’s stress and panic. Right before the trials began, there was a smallpox outbreak in the boondocks of Salem.
Some believed that the illness was brought on by the use of witchcraft coming from certain people living in Salem. Other factors led to trials, just the smallpox outbreak certainly didn’t calm everyone down. It likely caused things to escalate, bringing about more than accusations and wild stories passed off as fact.
It Wasn’t Simply About Organized religion
Religion played a major function in the Salem witch trials. However, it wasn’t the simply force that caused this mass hysteria to have place, contrary to popular conventionalities. The residents of Salem were under the stress of living in a new colony; conflict with indigenous groups, family rivalries and illnesses faced by the residents also played major roles in what happened.
There are a lot of theories out there about the contributing factors that compounded to cause the atrocities that resulted. But a perfect storm of various factors played a office, not just religion alone.
Two Girls Started It All
The Salem witch trials began because of ii girls who were very immature at the fourth dimension. The girls started having fits and and then began claiming they could see invisible spirits. It’s unclear what prompted the girls to get-go citing the supernatural as a reason for their beliefs, but children exercise strange things.
The girls’ claims initially sparked the hysteria, and the adults of Salem perpetuated it until information technology grew out of proportion. The children began pointing fingers, and the adults listened. Information technology’due south hard to believe that this atrocity started on the word of 2 small children without much questioning from adults.
Dogs Ate Block to “Diagnose” Witchcraft
As mentioned, at that place was believed to be a link betwixt dogs and the devil. The people of Salem put so much faith into this that one of the tests to spot a witch involved an odd practice. People baked cakes using rye flour and the accused person’s urine.
They then fed that cake to a domestic dog. If the dog showed “symptoms,” it was considered proof that the defendant was, in fact, a witch. There are even reports the dogs were able to sniff out the witches during this odd ritual.
The “Water Test” Did Happen
There were more tests administered to those accused of witchcraft, merely few are equally well-known equally the “water test.” However, in that location are some misconceptions about how this test was actually performed. The accused had to have a finger tied to a toe on the opposite side of their body, and then they were lowered into h2o.
If they floated, it was believed they were a witch. If they sank, they weren’t. The accused person risked drowning during this odd practice. Many people were convicted based on this “testify.”
There Were Accusations Galore
As you tin imagine, accusations of witchcraft ran wild in Salem. Those looking to settle a score needed only to bespeak their finger at somebody they had an event with, and their enemy would soon find themselves on trial. There was a lot of this blazon of petty, revenge-seeking finger-pointing that took place.
Official records show that in that location were at least 200 people accused of witchcraft during this fourth dimension flow. Out of those 200, near 150 were arrested due to the accusations. Rivalries were very unsafe in Salem during the trials, equally it was easy to become back at anybody who wronged you.
The “Impact Examination” Too Resulted in Convictions
Some other bizarre test administered during the trials was known equally the “touch test.” Again, this exam did really take place, merely in that location are some fallacies out there about how people really performed information technology.
In reality, if a person who was thought to be afflicted by witchcraft was having a fit, the witch could touch them and end the fit. Sounds user-friendly for that whole rivalry matter, huh? So, a person is having a fit and one of the defendant is prompted to touch them. They could cease their fake fit and “prove” that the defendant was really a witch.
Land Was Seized
In add-on to being jailed, possibly tortured and possibly put to death, in that location was another injustice that happened that people oft don’t discuss when talking almost the Salem witch trials. Many of those who found themselves accused of witchcraft owned land.
In some cases in which the accused wasn’t put to death, their state was forcefully taken from them. In those days, many people’s land was the basis of their livelihood. Without their lands, some found themselves in poverty fifty-fifty though they survived the trials. Many had no means to survive the conditions that poverty later on brought.
Some People Were Probable Poisoned
In that location have been many theories about why the trials became as bad as they did. One of those theories deals with poisoning, only it isn’t the type of poisoning yous might accept idea it was. The poisoning that this theory references actually has to exercise with ergot.
Ergot, a fungus that tin can affect rye grain, was mutual in Salem. All those fits, hallucinations and vomiting that occurred are symptoms of ergot poisoning. Even so, many historians attribute what happened in Salem to mass hysteria more than anything else.
“Witch Hunters” Exacerbated the Problems
There are a lot of myths out there nigh “witch hunters” playing a vital role in the trials. While this is truthful to an extent, it wasn’t similar annihilation yous’ve seen in the movies. The witch hunters simply went door to door.
Essentially, these people were prompting citizens to point the finger at their neighbors to avoid facing accusations themselves. The tactics used by these so-called witch hunters likely involved threats, although no such behavior was ever documented officially. Still, historians have speculated about the methods that were used.
“The Devil’s Marker” Was a Form of Show
If y’all’ve researched the trials, you may accept heard about the devil’southward marker. Most of the time, these were probably birthmarks or some sort of lesions resulting from a disease. Either manner, these marks were a common form of prove used to convict accused witches.
The people of Salem believed that witches made pacts with the devil. Afterward, it was believed that he would leave his mark on the newly ordained witches. This was used as bear witness in some of the trials.
Some People Did Speak Up…
It’due south a common belief that everybody but sat back during the trials and allow it all happen, grateful it was happening to someone else and not them. That isn’t true. Some people did question what was happening. Others even went every bit far every bit to spread the word that what was going on was wrong.
Information technology was, however, a very unlike fourth dimension with very dissimilar practices. And though there were those who saw what was happening and had the capacity to empathize that it was wrong, speaking upwards wasn’t in their all-time involvement. Despite this, some people did defend their friends and loved ones.
…And They Paid the Price for Doing So
One of the women who did accept the courage to speak up may have regretted it nearly instantly. As soon as she started spreading the word that what was happening was incorrect, she was accused of existence a witch herself. Many thought she was trying to halt the investigations.
The adult female was tried for beingness a witch, and her husband testified against her. It didn’t end well for the couple; her husband eventually was the i put to death. It’s unclear if everyone else spoke up after that. In that location’s a high likelihood that people were terrified of condign the adjacent victims.
The Governor Protected His Wife
Some believed that the trials concluded because people realized how ridiculous the situation was. That wasn’t the instance at all. The Salem witch trials ended for a reason very close to domicile for the governor of Salem.
After an unabridged year of madness, the governor of Salem heard whispers that his wife was the next in line to be accused of witchcraft. This scared him enough to put an end to the trials. If only he had been willing to see the truth sooner, many people could’ve been saved.
Nobody Knows Exactly Where the Bodies Are Cached
There are quite a few memorials for the victims of the Salem witch trials. Despite that, nobody knows the exact locations of the bodies of all those who met their ends at the gallows. Some are cached at a spot known as Proctor’s Ledge, but many more are unaccounted for.
None of those who were put to decease during the trials were allowed to have Christian burials. Many of the bodies have never been located. This has left a big pigsty in the hearts of those related to the victims, even today.
Ridiculous Evidence Was Presented in Court
Forget touch tests and canis familiaris cakes for a moment — in that location was an even more ridiculous course of prove presented in court. Information technology was known as “spectral bear witness.” This reportedly involved witches appearing to accusers while in ghost or spirit form.
Some spectral show led to executions during the trials. George Jacobs was 1 person who was put to death based on cypher other than spectral evidence. Accusers claimed the man led them to h2o to drown them while he was in “spectral form.”
Prison Conditions Were Awful
Some of those accused of witchcraft spent long stretches of fourth dimension in jail. The weather in the prison were so horrible that some died while awaiting their trials. Jails filled upward apace due to the mass hysteria that had overtaken society at that point.
Many prisoners were kept in total isolation while pending their trials, and others were forced to work for their meals. The conditions were so terrible that many people’south bodies atrophied, which ultimately helped them get convicted of witchcraft because they looked so withered and gaunt.
In that location Were Actual Laws Regarding Witchcraft
The past is full of strange laws. All the same, many people don’t know that actual laws existed regarding witchcraft. The Puritans based their way of life, and government, entirely on religious beliefs; it’s not necessarily surprising that their laws reflected those beliefs.
The first capital offense was idolatry, and the 2d was witchcraft. This law read, “If any man or woman be a witch, that is, has or consults with a familiar spirit, they shall exist put to death.” People took this seriously — every bit the witch trials demonstrate.
1 of the Accused Was iv
Nobody — nobody — was safe from being defendant of witchcraft in Salem. Case in bespeak? Dorothy Good was only 4 years old when she was arrested. Because she was the daughter of one of the starting time people to exist defendant, Sarah Skillful, it didn’t have long for people to start targeting the petty daughter.
The child was put in the care of guardians for virtually eight months and was never put through a trial. That a 4-yr-old child was arrested for witchcraft is peradventure ane of the more disturbing facts related to the Salem witch trials.
A Minister Was Besides Accused and Executed
Information technology bears repeating that nobody was safe. A minister named George Burroughs was the only minister who was establish guilty of witchcraft and put to expiry. The people of Salem believed he was decision-making the witches in the village.
Many residents of Salem didn’t capeesh his unorthodox practices when information technology came to the church building. He was well-known for reciting the Lord’s Prayer during his execution, as it was believed that a witch could not do this. In previous trials, many were made to recite that prayer as proof of their innocence.
Other Countries Had Similar Witch Trials
The witchcraft panic didn’t outset with Salem. It didn’t fifty-fifty get-go in the United states of america at all. Switzerland, Deutschland, France and parts of central Europe saw trials like to the Salem witch trials first.
During the 15th and 16th centuries, witch trials took place all over those European nations. Mass hysteria due to fear of witches seemed to be everywhere during that fourth dimension, and in that location was never a good reason for these other panics, either. Information technology was a foreign and dangerous fourth dimension.
Boston Witch Trials Happened Offset
Boston is where the witch hysteria began in the United States; information technology didn’t start in Salem. Iv years earlier the Salem trials, a adult female named Ann Glover was the last person in Boston to be hanged for the crime of witchcraft.
People believed that Ann Glover was a witch because she failed to recite a prayer in English language, which wasn’t her offset language. She was hanged. The witch hysteria eventually spread to Salem. The influence of what happened in Boston probably played a office in what happened elsewhere.
Trials Were Very Different
Trials, as y’all can imagine, were very different in those times. For case, there were no lawyers present to defend those who were accused. Flimsy evidence, if any at all, was all it took to convict those who were accused. The defendants had only themselves to rely on during the trials.
Some of the accusers simply faked “fits” on the floor to further prove the guilt of the accused. Unfortunately, people took these displays seriously. Reality back and then differed greatly from what goes on in courtrooms today.
“Prickers” Were Deployed
“Prickers” administered yet some other grade of bizarre testing that took place during the Salem witch trials. The prickers were men who were paid but when they located a witch. The test they performed involved pricking people with needles.
If the person didn’t bleed, it meant they were a witch. These men were using devices that fabricated information technology look like the needles were going into flesh when they really weren’t. Lots of bribery took place surrounding these tests, which, like other tests, offered a skilful way to become rid of a rival — or sometimes salvage a loved ane.
The Existent Numbers Tell a Disturbing Story
At that place are a lot of numbers floating effectually out there regarding the bodily number of deaths that resulted from the Salem witch trials. Some are much higher than others. According to most estimates, 20 people were executed later the trials, and 19 were hanged at Gallows Hill.
Giles Corey was the only victim who was pressed to death. Four others died in prison. Hundreds were accused and pardoned. Some were found not guilty, some escaped jail and others were never indicted. Ultimately, the Salem witch trials were a tragedy brought on by mass hysteria that never should’ve happened.