You know what’s disturbing about the Salem Witch Trials? Quite a lot! The Salem Witch Trials started in the spring of 1692 in Salem, Massachusetts. After two girls accused women of being witches, fear, paranoia, and hysteria snowballed into a societal nightmare. Many were brought before judges and sentenced to death with little to no evidence against them except for the baseless testimony of others. Needless to say, things got out of hand, destroying lives, breaking apart families, and thrusting their little village in disarray. From what caused the Salem Witch Trials to how they ended, here are 25 Disturbing Facts About The Salem Witch Trials.
With this test it was believed while the inflicted person was having a fit, if the witch touched them, the fit would stop. So, they’d have the accused touch those having fits to see if the fits would stop. As you might suspect, once the accused touched those inflicted, the fits would stop and they’d point to the accused and call them a witch.
These trials were mostly supported by a law passed by the United Kingdom’s parliament in 1542 called The Witchcraft Act, outlawing witchcraft and making it punishable by death. For hundreds of years, more witchcraft laws would be written.
Sadly, animals were not excused from the trials. Like we said before, dogs were suspect of potentially being linked with the devil or being the devil himself. In one case, a girl accused a neighbor’s dog of bewitching her. The villagers executed the dog with a firearm, but their priest, Cotton Mather, claimed the animal wasn’t the devil because the devil wouldn’t have died.
Pressed to Death
The way they executed people during the trials was quite unusual. In one case, highly successful farmer Giles Corey was accused by three women of witchcraft. When convicted, the villagers put him on his back, placed a wooden board on him, and then gradually placed heavy stones on top, crushing him to death. This form of execution is called “Pressing.” Corey’s last words were, “More weight.”
Torture to get a confession was also a common practice during the trials. Usually, it would lead to bizarre and fanatical confessions. In one case, while a slave named Tituba was being severely beaten, she cried out, “The devil came to me and bid me serve him!” Afterward, she talked about black dogs, red cats, and yellow birds, plus a white-haired man that made her sign the devil’s book.