Search Site
Menu

Salem Witch Trials: Would You Survive?

In 1641, the General Court of the Massachusetts Bay Colony proclaimed the following “If any man or woman be a witch, that is, hath or consulteth with a familiar spirit, they shall be put to death. Exod. 22. 188; Deut. 13. 6, 10; Deut. 17. 2, 6.” If you were found to be a witch in layman’s terms, you are immediately sentenced to death. However, being accused of witchcraft was not common until the Salem Witch Trials of 1692.

So, what did it take to be convicted of witchcraft in Salem, Massachusetts, during the Seventeenth Century? Well, if you were accused of being a witch and the Court hears the matter, you are already off to a bad start. The Court of Oyer and Terminer was created in 1692 to deal with the increase in witchcraft accusations. Unlike our modern legal system of innocent until proven guilty, you were presumed to be a witch, and your trial started from there.

Three kinds of evidence were commonly accepted by the Court: confessions, eyewitness testimony of witchcraft, or spectral evidence. The Court could grant individuals accused of witchcraft leniency if they confessed their sins and revealed other witches hiding in disguise in the colony. As you might think, this led to a snowball effect with an increase in the number of witchcraft accusations. People accused of witchcraft would confess and then accuse others of witchcraft to gain favor with the Court in an attempt to escape death.

But the Court was not too lenient if you were pardoned because you were fined the cost of room and board for your time spent locked up. In total, there were approximately twenty people sentenced to death during the Salem Witch Trials, along with two dogs who were also presumed to be possessed by the devil. Contrary to popular belief, no one was burned at the stake but instead hung.

What the heck were they thinking? Many scholars are leaning towards a combination of extreme puritan views and psychedelics… that’s right, psychedelics.

Psychologists and biologists hypothesize that the “witches” and the accusers’ abnormal behavior was caused by an ergot fungus, which contaminates wheat. Toxicologists say that eating ergot contaminated foods can lead to muscle spasms, vomiting, and hallucinations.

This type of fungus thrives in warm, damp climates—like Salem, Massachusetts. The theory is that Salem’s wheat supply in 1692 was contaminated by this ergot fungus, depending on how much is consumed and how often, can lead to delusional and irrational behavior. This also explains why the Salem Witch Trials only lasted during that 1692 harvest, where the last “witch” was put to death in 1693. In 1711, the Colony of Salem finally pardoned everyone executed for witchcraft and paid reparations to their heirs.

So be careful the next time you eat moldy bread!!!

 

Our Attorneys
Client Reviews
  • google
    5.0/5.0

    Working with Curio Law firm especially with Justin was the most stress-free experience one can have working with attorneys. Justin was very knowledgeable and gave us advice commensurate with the best outcomes for us vs. the law firm. Curio Law is a v...

    Read more

    MNM Investments

  • google
    5.0/5.0

    Rakin Hamad has been such a blessing to work with. His patience and empathy for his clients is 100% amazing. I am very happy with this practice and their attention to my case. On my way to justice being served. Thank you Rakin (Curcio Law)

    Read more

    Sheila Bell-Cregg

  • google
    5.0/5.0

    Tom and his team are fantastic! He helped me settle a case for far more than I was able to negotiate on my own, and he will be the first person I call if anything happens in the future. He set reasonable expectationsand worked quickly which is exac...

    Read more

    Paul Lascko

  • google
    5.0/5.0

    I was represented by Justin Curcio, Esq . of Curcio Law for a personal injury claim. My experience with Curcio Law has been nothing but outstanding. I was kept apprised of the entire legal process, which was handled in a most professional, informati...

    Read more

    Richard Albano

  • google
    5.0/5.0

    After suffering a horrific motor vehicle accident, I contacted the Curcio Law firm. I was represented by Justin Curcio, Esq. I couldn't have been in more capable hands. Mr. Curcio handled every aspect of my case and kept me informed of each step a...

    Read more

    maria albano

See all reviews
Awards & Memberships
Settlements & Verdicts
  • "$213,000.00 Jury Verdict, Auto Accident, Hand injury"

  • "$1,500,000.00, Auto Accident, Wrongful Death"

  • "$100,000.00, Auto Accident, Broken Leg"

  • "$493,000.00, Auto Accident, Brain injury, broken rib, facial lacerations"

  • "$190,000.00, Auto Accident, Brain injury"

Contact us

Quick Contact Form