In 1169, after the Bishop of Rouen had expelled several suspected witches by a public beating, one of the accused, a widow named Marie de Rouen, brought a bill to the King of France for the torture of “the most foul witches, sorcerers, and hags.” That same year, one of the most powerful wizards who had been accused of “sorcery” was found to have had the body of a human girl taken from the grave, put on a bed, and then hanged and burned. The name used in this was “Sorcerer’s Hat,” an appropriate, even apt term.
What was the Salem witch trials and why was it held?
The Salem witch trials, also called “The Trial of the Witches,” were the third and last of the witch hunts, which were launched and executed in English-speaking countries between 1692 and 1694. During the trials, people of all creeds were accused of having committed crimes that were said to have affected the lives of the living; such crimes included witchcraft, necromancy, ritual murder, and magic. Those accused were tried and hanged.
Why are there three witches in the American version?
The first two were said to be witches, but the third, the only one named “Witch,” is the one who is most often associated with the term. The American version doesn’t mention this third witch and uses a different version of the narrative.
What were the reasons to keep the witch trials secret throughout the country?
There are several reasons. The first, by the early 18th century, was that these trials were usually held in a small town like Salem, and that the “public” did not want to hear what was said in front of the judge and jury. More importantly, the public was terrified at the idea of a mob killing a few individuals over accusations of witchcraft.
How often have the witch trials were held in different locations around the country?
The earliest known witch trials in the United States occurred in Massachusetts, in 1692-93. More than 15 years later, in 1694, Salem, Massachusetts would host the first witch trial outside of Massachusetts.
Did these trials occur in a very open setting or behind closed doors?
No. The trials were held behind closed doors to protect the accused from witnesses who might reveal the secrets of the proceedings or who might try to discredit the accusers, the witnesses or the accused.
What were the
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