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No Women Were Burned At The Salem Witch Trials And I For Suuuuure Thought They Were

History was never my strong suit.

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Whenever you hear "Salem," there's probably a 99.9% chance you immediately think of the infamous Salem witch trials, yes?

Kean Collection / Getty

And, to the best of your knowledge, it probably ended with a bunch of mean dudes in tall, funny, 17th century hats shouting, "BUUUUURN HER AT THE STAKE!" Right?

MPI / Getty

Well, it turns out ~witches~ were never actually burned at the Salem witch trials.

Disney / Via amaleia-rose.tumblr.com

And if you already knew that, congratulations! You are better than me.

Now, no one is 100% sure how this myth really started, although it may be the result of a little ~confusion~ with other historical events.

The inspiration for this popular myth could have come from Europe, where execution by fire was fairly common for people who were thought to be witches. It happened in areas like Germany, Italy, Scotland, France, and Scandinavia. And, according to The Washington Post, a 19th century magazine in the Southern United States said (after Lincoln won the election), "The North...having begun with burning witches, will end by burning us!" This could've easily help start the Salem myth.
Gaumont

The inspiration for this popular myth could have come from Europe, where execution by fire was fairly common for people who were thought to be witches. It happened in areas like Germany, Italy, Scotland, France, and Scandinavia. And, according to The Washington Post, a 19th century magazine in the Southern United States said (after Lincoln won the election), "The North...having begun with burning witches, will end by burning us!" This could've easily help start the Salem myth.

In more recent pop culture history, the myth of witches being burned at the stake in 17th century America has been popularized by shows like The Simpsons, too.

Fox

Principal Skinner's mother in the middle of it all, too! LOL.

So, what actually happened to the accused "witches" in Salem?

A24

They were hanged. (Yes, Hocus Pocus got it right!)

Disney

Although, there was one exception — a man named Giles Corey, also accused of being a witch, was actually crushed to death with stones over a period of several days.

So, there you have it folks. No witches were burned at the Salem witch trials.

Warner Bros. / Via michaelam1978.tumblr.com

But please feel free to burn my lack of historically accurate knowledge in the comments below.

  1. Did you know women were never burned at the stake at the Salem witch trials?

    Did you know women were never burned at the stake at the Salem witch trials?
    Correct
    Incorrect
    I did not, and I'm pretty surprised TBH.
    Correct
    Incorrect
    DUH. Where have you been?
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