Witch-Hunt: Mysteries of the Salem Witch Trials by Marc AronsonSalem, Massachusetts, 1692. In a plain meetinghouse a woman stands before her judges. The accusers, girls and young women, are fervent and overexcited. The accused is a poor, unpopular woman who had her first child before she was married. As the trial proceeds the girls begin to wail, tear their clothing, and scream that the woman is hurting them. Some of them expose wounds to the horrified onlookers, holding out the pins that have stabbed them -- pins that appeared as if by magic. Are they acting or are they really tormented by an unseen evil? Whatever the cause, the nightmare has begun: The witch trials will eventually claim twenty-five lives, shatter the community, and forever shape the American social conscience.
42 Wicked Facts About the Salem Witch Trials
Add in the numerous films and television series that reference Salem, and things get even more distorted. Being burned at the stake was an occasionally used method of execution in Europe, when one was convicted of witchcraft, but was generally reserved for those who refused to repent of their sins. No one in America has ever been put to death this way. Instead, in , hanging was the preferred form of punishment. Twenty people were put to death in Salem for the crime of witchcraft. Nineteen were hanged, and one—elderly Giles Corey—pressed to death.
Here are 42 wicked facts about the Salem witch trials. Just when did the Salem witch trials take place in the timeline of American history? They began in , a full 73 years before the start of the American Revolution and some 40 years before George Washington was even born. When all was said and done, 25 people lost their lives because of the trials. Two of the casualties were babies. Which, yes, is a little ironic. Because of the similarity in time period, location, and story, people often mix up the Puritans with the Pilgrims, the group of Dutch settlers who created what we now know as the holiday of Thanksgiving.
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