Epi 13: Salem Witch Trials

WTF Moments:

  • Salem was not the first town to accuse people of witchcraft, in fact, a “witchcraft craze” rippled through Europe from the 1300’s to the end of the 1600’s.
  • A “witchcraft act” was passed in 1562 in England, and stated that any behavior or practice even remotely associated with witchcraft was deemed illegal. By 1644, the English government actually created an official position called the Witchfinder General – what a title!
  • Fourteen women and five men were hanged after being accused of practicing witchcraft. Two dogs were even hung, for supposedly giving people the evil eye – I’m sorry, I don’t see how puppy eyes can look evil?  A cat mayyybe…
  • Torture to get a confession was also a common practice during the trials. Usually, it would lead to bizarre and fanatical confessions.  The court’s favorite torture techniques included: bound submersion, pressing and dunking/waterboarding – they loved it.
  • During the trials, pretty much no one was immune to the accusations of witchcraft, even ministers. This became especially true for George Burroughs, the first and only minister during the trials to be accused of witchcraft. He was sentenced to death, and because of the heat wave, was buried quickly in a shallow grave with his chin and foot still sticking out of the ground.
  • The governor of Salem let the trials continue for a full year until he caught wind that his own wife was accused of being a witch. After that, he put a swift end to the trials – pretty fucked up, eh governor?
  • ALL of the accusers were women ages 9-20.
  • Witches were not allowed to be buried, because they were considered too unholy. Instead, their bodies were dumped into a crevice next to Gallows Hill, known as a witch pit.
  • All of the women who confessed to witchcraft in Salem lived, and all of the women who denied the witchcraft charges were hanged.

What we’re drinking tonight: “Witches Brew”




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