One of the darkest moments in the history of Colonial America, causing millions of fiction novels and films inspired after the historical account, the infamous Salem Witch Trials were set ablaze after a group of young girls in the Salem Village, Massachusetts, were accused of being possessed by the devil. As the ravenous hysteria made its way around, more and more innocent lives were being convicted as being a witch. Over 200 innocents were accused over a span of several months
Though the horrid trials were finally put to an end after a governor tried to fight for his wife’s innocence when she was caused of being witch herself, the town remained too roughed up and bitter to forget. And now for something you soon won’t forget, either. Here are 10 wicked facts about the Salem witch trials!
Fact 1: There is actually an allegorical play inspired by the Salem Witch Trials! It’s best known for being the most accurate depiction of the hunt for communists, the cause led by a man named John McCarthy, who was the senator at that time. Entitled “The Crucible”, it made its debut back in 1953 and was written by Arthur Miller.
Fact 2: Just how many people were accused of practicing witchcraft? An estimated 200, including two loyal hounds who were wrongfully put to death because they were believed to have been loyal dogs owned and bid to do evil by their supernatural masters.
Fact 3: Back in the day, if you were accused of being a witch, you also had your land taken away by the state. Could it get any worse? We believe it can. Because during that time, if being sentenced to death after being wrongfully accused and having your land taken away wasn’t bad enough, Ergot poisoning, mass hysteria, as well as cases of persuasion were rampant during the era. Oh, and Smallpox too. Neat-o.
Fact 4: Sarah Good was one of the first women to be taken to trial under accusations of being a practitioner of witchcraft and the like. Up until her death, she denied the accusations. She had a daughter, aged 4, named Dorothy, who was also presumed to have been an evil wench like her mother. Because they were both so fearful during the questioning, they were both immediately branded as witches.
Fact 5: Bad news for those who have more than their fair share of moles and beauty marks: it was believed that in order to figure out if a person was a witch or not, she mustn’t have a single blemish, mole, or freckle marring her skin. It was believed that moles served as the spot where their animal familiars would feed from them, and so it was believed that if you were accused, and have the moles to match, you were in big trouble.
Fact 6: Salem wasn’t all that bad. Maybe just 99 percent out of 100, because finally, on the 13th of January 1697, Salem held a day of prayer, fasting, and seeking for forgiveness for the murder of so many innocent lives.
Fact 7: The small town of Salem had sent for constables to arrest their former minister George Burroughs, who was also believed to have been a wizard.
Fact 8: Either you were sentenced to die by beheading, hanging, drowning, or stoning. All of the above are pretty nasty. About 19 deaths were sentences to death, while 20 of them were deaths by stoning. The rest that made up the 200 count for being accused for witchcraft and waiting for trial? They wasted away in the jail cells until they were finally set free when the trials were finally put an end to.
Fact 9: At long last, when then governor Phip’s wife was accused for being a witch, he finally took matters into his own hands and worked alongside the minister in order to bring a stop to the madness of the Salem Witch Trials.
Fact 10: Brace yourself for this scary tid bit that got the hairs on our arms standing! When Reverend Noyes accused Sarah Good of being a witch, she replied with “’I am no more a witch than you are a wizard, and if you take away my life God will give you blood to drink”. True enough, years later as the reverend lay dying in his bed, he choked on his own blood! Eeep!