Where Did Witches Come From?

  It’s that time of year again! The time for pumpkin carving, telling spooky stories, going to haunted houses, and trick-or-treating. Witches are such a common costume idea and iconic in movies. Did you know that they started very negatively? Being accused as a witch could have gotten you hung or stoned to death and the only way out was to accuse someone else, pray, and ask for forgiveness. So how did we get here?

       In Salem Massachusetts, Christian’s and those of other religions believed that the devil could overpower a person into harming other people. It started with 2 cousins who had odd behavior. They believed this spread through the community. It “spread” to 3 other women in the community who were tried in front of the town. The three girls were told if they confessed they wouldn’t be punished but if they denied it they would be hung. Two of the girls denied it and one confessed but all three were put in jail. When someone was accused of witchcraft there was no investigation and people were sent to jail and hung. A lot of the people who were targeted for being a witch were mostly outsiders or people who looked different. The witch trials started in February 1692 and because the mayor’s wife was accused of being a witch, the mayor stopped the Salem witch trials in May of 1693. 

       Now, we know that these women weren’t witches. Theorists believed they might have breathed in some fungus that caused their behavior. People see witches now and don’t bat an eye (pun intended) but we remember the 14 women and 6 men who died for the witches to be the pop culture they are today. Happy Halloween!!