Hair-Raising Facts About The Salem Witch Trials

Some people believe that the Salem witch trials killed hundreds of women by burning them at the stake, which is untrue. For over 300 years, Americans have viewed the Salem witch trials as a shameful year of mass hysteria. Because of that, several misconceptions have overshadowed the facts about the event.

In 1692 alone, hundreds of people were convicted of witchcraft. This stemmed from family feuds, political upheaval, and mob mentality. Some of the victims weren’t pardoned until 2001. Read on to learn the stunning facts about how one alleged instance of possession turned into a stain on American history.

It Wasn’t Just Women, And There Was No Burning

George Burroughs reciting the Lord's Prayer before his execution at Witches Hill, Salem, Massachusetts
Universal History Archive/Universal Images Group via Getty Images
Universal History Archive/Universal Images Group via Getty Images

According to the popular notion of the Salem witch trials, hundreds of women were accused of witchcraft and burned at the stake. This is all untrue. Although over 200 people were convicted, only 19 were found guilty. Fourteen women and five men were condemned to death. Because “witch” is a gender-neutral term, anyone could be accused.

Convicted people were also not burned at the stake. They were hanged. One man, Giles Corey, was crushed to death after refusing to plead. At least five people died in jail, including two babies.