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Marcia Mayo

History Just for Kids is a place to share ideas for helping children understand that history is about real people in real places and it not only happened in the past, it's also happening right now. If you have a site you love or an idea you'd like to share, let me know and I'll include it.

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Wednesday, August 8, 2012

10 Historical Misconceptions # 7 (Hint: This one might be scary!)


7. Witches Were Burned at the Stake in Salem

Although there really were witch trials in Salem, Massachusetts, in 1692, and 20 people were put to death, none of the accused were burned at the stake. Hanging was the method of execution, although one victim was crushed to death under heavy stones.
Moreover, there's no evidence these people were practicing witchcraft or were possessed by the devil. Historians now believe that they, along with the townspeople who persecuted them, were suffering from mass hysteria. Others believe the accusers were afflicted with a physical illness, possibly even hallucinating after eating tainted rye bread.

Taken from How Stuff Works

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