THE SALEM WITCHCRAFT TRIALS OF 1692. WITCHCRAFT HYSTERIA. In 1692, the Massachusetts colony fell victim to the fear of witches. Over 170 people were arrested and accused of being witches.
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The “sink test” involved tying rocks to the accused and placing them in water. If they sank, they were proclaimed innocent. If they floated, they were pronounced a witch, and were then hanged.
The Satan's mark test involved a body search for a “black mark of Satan.” They would look for an odd black mark on the accused witch's body. If found, the black mark was often poked with needles to see if the person felt pain or bled. If they did not, they were pronounced a witch.
The scales test involved weighing the accused against a metal bound Bible. If they were lighter than the Bible, they were found guilty of witchcraft. If they outweighed the Bible on the scales, they were innocent.
The prayer test was another common test . The accused was asked to recite the Lord's Prayer. If they recited it flawlessly without problem, they were proclaimed innocent.
If the accused stumbled over words, made a mistake or shrieked during their recitation, they were considered guilty of witchcraft.