1. Bound Submersion
In this “test,” the supposed witch would be bound by her hands and feet with heavy rocks attached to her body, then thrown into a body of water. A witch’s body would presumably float, and an innocent woman would sink to the bottom. It was pretty much a lose-lose situation.
2. The Lord’s Prayer Test
If the accused could not recite the Lord’s Prayer without any errors, she was most certainly a witch.
3. The Witch’s Teat Test
In this test, the accused would be pricked in any type of mole or blemish they may happen to have on their body. If it didn’t bleed, she was definitely a witch.
4. Making a Witch Cake
Sounds tasty, right? Eh, not so much. This cake was made with rye and the supposed victim’s urine. They would feed it to a dog, and if the accused felt pain, she was a witch. Think of it as a confectionary voodoo doll.
This was another way to torture the accused into admitting she was a witch. The problem was that the victim couldn’t really speak under the weight of the heavy stones, so that didn’t work out too well.
A famous constable in Salem once said jokingly and out of frustration, “Hang them all, they’re all witches.” Unfortunately, nobody else shared his sense of sarcasm.
7. Bad Hearing
In the case of Salem’s 71-year-old Rebecca Nurse, her hearing was the death of her. When asked to respond to allegations of witchcraft, Nurse failed to respond, because she didn’t even hear the question. That’s all it took!
8. Talking to Yourself
Accusers assumed this was the “witch” muttering spells.
9. Weighing Them Against a Stack of Bibles
If the suspected witch was heavier or lighter than the stack, she was presumed to be a witch. If she balanced the Bibles perfectly, she wasn’t. Totally sensical.
10. Owning a Lot of Pets
Animals and witches were, apparently, two peas in a pod. If a fly landed in the accused cell while she awaited trial, it would often be assumed that it was because of her witchcraft.
11. When All Else Fails, Burn Them at the Stake
The most famous “lose-lose” situation. RIP.
In Salem, there are witches here among us. Check out Salem, April 20 at 10/9c on WGN America!
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