About the Salem Witch Trials

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The Salem Witch Trials From June through September of 1692, nineteen people convicted of practicing witchcraft were hung on Gallows Hill. One elderly man was pressed to death when he refused to attend his own trial. Rumors that certain people were witches spread like wildfire and hundreds were accused, many wasting away in jail for months, waiting nervously for their trial. This is the story of the infamous Salem Witch Trials of the Massachusetts Bay Colony. The Salem Witch Trials took place only in America, but the idea of witches has existed in many parts of the world. In Europe witches were believed to be anti-Christian, and to have sold his or her soul to the devil in order to obtain magical abilities, usually to harm others. However, witches in Africa and the West Indies involved concepts other than the devil. From the 1400’s to the 1700’s, the annihilation of witches and witchcraft in England, France, Germany, Italy, Scotland, and Spain was promoted by church officials. Between 1484 and 1782, around 300,000 women were accused of practicing witchcraft, and were put to death. *** People who practiced “white magic” were hardly punished at all, because it only consisted of luck charms and love potions. Only the people who practiced “black magic” – witchcraft that was intended to injure or kill other civilians – were executed. Hysterical fear of witchcraft spread through Europe like wild fire between the 1600’s and 1700’s. When English colonists began the new American colonies, they brought the fear of witchcraft with them across the sea. Before the American colonies had even begun, England experienced a similar witch hunting phase. In 1484, Pope Innocent VIII issued a papal bull called the "Summis desiderantes" which openly called for hunting down, torturing and finally executing Satan worshipers, otherwise known as witches. Even when this

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