Colonial America
Massachusetts
Salem Witch Trials

Did they burn the witches of the Salem witch trials?

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11/14/2012

No, they did not. Witches were only burned in England, not in North America.

During the Salem witch trials nineteen people were executed by hanging, one died in the interrogation.

^^^^This makes it sound like witches were burned a lot in England, when in fact this form of excution was extremely rare for witches and more reserved for Protestants, who where burned by Catholics. The more favored way of dealing with witches in England was beheading, drowning, and breaking on the wheel. Witches were rarely burned at the stake, buried alive, boiled alive, impaled, sawed in two, flayed, drawn and quartered, or disemboweled, as other contemporary criminals were. Other punishments inflicted on convicted witches included mutilating (cutting off of a hand or ear for example), branding, whipping, dunking, locking in the the stocks, jailing, fining, banishing, or selling into slavery.

To improve on this answer. The people that were executed were not witches at all. They were Puritans who had a case of ergot poisoning. Ergot is a fungus that attacks rye. Rye being one of the main crops of these people. The rye was used to make bread a staple of the Puritan diet of that time.

Ergot fungus is the very same fungus that the modern drug LSD comes from. People exposed to high levels of ergot fungus have the same symptoms as a person on LSD... dementia, hallucinations, etc.

Of course during those times, no one knew or had the means to know what was causing people within their community to act the way they were... the most "logical" answer was witchcraft.

To improve all these answers let me first correct them... ergot poising had nothing to do with this the people who were executed were not witches some had only agreed to admit that so that they would be let free. 19 people were hanged 18 were Innocent 1 man was killed during interrogation they were told to pile rocks on top of him he died 2 or 3 days later.

one woman named Lisa said with out being interrogated that she practiced witch craft.

No. Burning was the method of execution for witches on the Continent. In America and the England, witches were hanged.

This latest "answer" is not an improvement, as it is based on opinion and not proven historical fact. Correcting already correct answers.. It is a proven fact that ergot poisoning had everything to do with what people were experiencing in Salem, I actually live very close to Salem, have been there many times, and have heard the history countless times. The ergot was linked to the hallucinations and strange visions people were experiencing. Since they (at the time) had no clue about ergot and its effects on the neurological passages, they thought it was witchcraft and pointed blame at the one person that was "not like them".. but it later spread to blaming people throughout the colony. Ergot poisoning started it all, fear and lack of knowledge finished it with deaths of innocent people.