Facts about witches in 1600
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.
Ugly History: Witch Hunts - Brian A. Pavlac
Witches in Britain
A witch is a person who practices witchcraft. The stereotypical witches are commonly portrayed as wicked old women who have wrinkled skin, pimples, and pointy hats. They wear clothes that are black or purple. They also have warts on their noses and sometimes long claw-like fingernails. The belief in witchcraft is in many cultures worldwide.
Witchcraft was not made a capital offence in Britain until although it was deemed heresy and was denounced as such by Pope Innocent VIII in From until around some , witches were tortured, burnt or hanged in Western Europe. Most supposed witches were usually old women, and invariably poor. Many unfortunate women were condemned on this sort of evidence and hanged after undergoing appalling torture. Witch fever gripped East Anglia for 14 terrible months between — The people of these eastern counties were solidly Puritan and rabid anti-Catholics and easily swayed by bigoted preachers whose mission was to seek out the slightest whiff of heresy. A man called Matthew Hopkins, an unsuccessful lawyer, came to help!
2. Hardly any 'witch' was ever burnt at a stake.
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The practice of witchcraft is deeply rooted in history, and has—excuse the joke—conjured up some very interesting myths. Here are a few facts. During the Salem Witch Trials, no one was burned to death; all of the accused that pled their cases and were found guilty during the Trials in were hanged. In fact, no one found guilty of witchcraft was ever executed by burning in the American colonies—immolation wasn't permissible by English law. But one person was pressed to death by large stones: Giles Corey, a man who refused to plead guilty or not guilty for charges of witchcraft during the Trials.