Salem "Witches" Weren't Burned At The Stake

Salem "Witches" Weren't Burned At The Stake

The story of the Salem witch trials of 1692-3 is often synonymous with the burning of accused witches at the stake. During the trials, it is estimated that 200 people were accused of practicing witchcraft, and 20 were executed. Hanging was the preferred method of execution, although one man accused of witchcraft was pressed to death by heavy stones. Eventually, the colony admitted the trials were a mistake and compensated the families of those convicted.

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Key Facts In This Video

  • 1

    Burning people alive was forbade by English law at the time of the Salem witch trials, so no "witches" actually burned at the stake. (0:10)

  • 2

    About 200 people were accused of witchcraft during the Salem witch trials, but only 20 were executed. (3:00)

  • 3

    Authorities commonly burned the remains of "witches" during the Salem witch trials after they died. (4:16)

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