Top 5 Interesting Historical Facts

Historical events have always shaped modern life. Even as a college history student, you might not get all the facts about specific events. If you’re a history buff and want some interesting historical facts, we’ve got some great information. Learn 5 facts about the Salem Witch Trials that you may have never known!

Many believe that this period of history was dedicated to the persecution of witches and their death. However, some details have been omitted. With hundreds of books and many movies made about the witch trials, there are still several facts that some people don’t know. Enhance your education by learning more about these controversial essays.

no one was burned

An interesting fact is that not a single person was burned during the trial. Many believe what is presented in modern witch movies and films. In Salem, witches were not burned when accused. Instead, they were hanged. All those sentenced to death were all killed by hanging. The only exception was one person, Giles Corey. He was stoned to death for refusing to plead in court.

The myth that witches were burned was inspired by the witch trials in Europe. Here, execution by fire was common. Law codes stated that all witchcraft was to be punished by fire and that burnings were supervised by church leaders. While burns were a leading cause of death, thousands of people were beheaded or hanged first. Their bodies were then cremated. This was done to protect against any possibility of witchcraft after death. Some condemned witches in Europe were even alive when they were burned and died of severe burns and smoke inhalation.

Racial discrimination was present

Anyone who took history lessons in school will recognize the importance of racial discrimination. It is something that has played a role in many historical events. There are hundreds of sample essays on witch trials as well as other events involving race. With a certain Salem Witch Trials Essays for Students, you can understand how obvious the racial injustice was. In fact, the first person who confessed to being a witch was a slave from the Caribbean. Tituba was a slave woman of Samuel Paris.

Using an essay, students can examine how the race of confessed witches set the stage for many future events through the trials. Many women of color have been charged simply because of their race and social status. Tituba was accused along with two others of having low status within their society. None of these women went to church. The other two did not confess, but Tituba admitted to being a witch. His confession is now believed to have been due to torture. Instead of being hanged like the others, she pleaded. She then assisted in the identification of other witches.

Witch tests were designed by the courts

If you have seen a modern television series on this subject, you may be familiar with some tests that have been issued to people. These were designed by the courts to determine who was a witch. Unfortunately, they were designed in such a way as to guarantee failure. If one test was successful, another would simply be used until the person failed.

These witch tests were originally used in Europe and consisted of 8 different tests:

  • spell – It required a verbal command for the devil to leave any afflicted victim. If it worked, the defendant was a witch.
  • Pray – You had to recite the Lord’s Prayer or a chosen scripture. Those who couldn’t be considered wizards.
  • prick – The witches were stung until they bled. When they did, if any victims felt physical relief, witchcraft was proven.
  • The skin – Any appearance of freckles, moles, birthmarks or other skin marks was considered proof that one was in contact with the devil.
  • Swim – Accused witches would be tied up and thrown into the water. If they floated, they were guilty of practicing witchcraft. If they sank, they weren’t to blame, but most drowned anyway.
  • To touch – If an accused touched another and caused pain, he was considered a witch.
  • Weight “Witches were supposed to be light. Courts have compared their weight to that of the Bible. If the accused witches weighed more than the book, another test was used.
  • witch cake – If a witch created a cake using her urine and gave it to a dog, that dog would have adverse reactions.

Spectral evidence has been accepted

As the trials unfolded, different forms of evidence were allowed. William Stoughton, the Chief Justice of Massachusetts, allowed the accusers to include these spectral events as evidence. It can be dreams or apparitions. Some strongly opposed it. They saw it as a way for the devil to use one image to afflict another and believed it was not under anyone’s control. The courts then argued that if the devil was using your image, you had given your permission. It meant you were a witch. Later in the trials, this type of evidence was rejected. However, this decision came after dozens of people had already been killed.

Trials stopped by Governor

A new name governor entered Massachusetts during hysteria. The city was currently operating without a charter, and news was brought by Governor Phips. He created special tribunals which were used strictly to try accused witches. When a witch appeared in court at the time, she was presumed guilty by law.

Phips allowed the courts to continue trying the women of Salem and many innocent people died. When his wife, Lady Mary Phips, was accused, he quickly worked to eliminate any use of spectral evidence. A few weeks later, all trials were ordered to end and anyone awaiting trial or execution was released or pardoned.

These trials didn’t stop because everyone stopped believing in witches. Instead, they quit because no trial did an effective job of identifying who the witches were.

Conclusion

The witch trials in Salem took place at the same time as the trials in Spain for witchcraft. In Spain, the Catholic Church was seeking punishment and one of the most famous historical events, the Inquisition, was in full swing. The Spanish Inquisition was an effort by a Catholic Church and the courts to prosecute anyone who did not follow its teachings.

In Salem, the inquisition was not so intense. Most of the defendants were women. What happened in Salem was nonetheless legal, but is a reminder that many stories and books about the Salem witch hunt leave out details that would help understand the society of the time. Religious intolerance was a main factor in the trials. Today, the same thoughts are in place, with many churches and religious groups seeking to create a cohesive society. Those who think differently are still shunned, but not hanged as a result.