The Salem Witch Trials – A “Bewitching” Little Quiz

The history of the Salem Witch Trials is well-known in America. However, there’s a lot that went on “behind the scenes”. This quiz will test your knowledge of the trials and the people involved. It’s not a very difficult quiz if you think about your answers.

Also, be sure to read the answers when they are revealed. There are some interesting back stories there.

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In addition to humans, animals were also accused of witchcraft and executed.

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One particularly disturbing fact about the witch hunt in Salem is that animals could be found guilty of participating in witchcraft as well as humans, and they could be (and were) sentenced to death for it. It was believed that witches had animal helpers that could take almost any animal form and do their dirty work for them. This meant that dogs, cats, mice, and virtually any other kind of animal were at risk of becoming a suspect under the right circumstances. In fact, among the official list of victims of the Salem Witch Trials are two dogs, one of whom was found innocent shortly after he was shot. Regarding cats, two were accused of being witches when Tituba, a slave and the first to be accused of witchcraft, said she was being stalked by a black cat and a red cat. She told authorities that the cats threatened to hurt her if she didn't hurt the children.

Every person who admitted to being a witch during the Salem Witch Trials were spared.

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Perhaps the single most interesting fact of all regarding the Salem Witch Trials is that of all of the accused, every suspect who confessed was spared, and every suspect who refused to confess was executed.

How many people were hanged as witches as a result of the trials?

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In 1692, during the Salem Witch Trials, there was a total of 27 people put to death for the crime of witchcraft. 19 of them were hanged, which is pretty awful.

Giles Corey was found guilty of witchcraft but was not hanged. What was his method of execution?

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Giles Corey, was not so "lucky," for his death was much worse. He refused to plead either innocent or guilty, so according to the law at the time, he could not be tried if he would not plead either way and instead was stripped naked, and a heavy board was laid on top of his body. Then, boulders were laid on top of that. After two days of this torture and still refusing to plead guilty to witchcraft, the 81-year-old Corey would simply say, "More weight!" every time he was asked. It is said that the sheriff would even stand on top of him from time to time, adding more weight. One witness, Robert Calef, said, "In the pressing, Giles Corey's tongue was pressed out of his mouth; the Sheriff, with the cane, forced it in again." Corey suffered in silence for two days, and it's thought that he did so because then the government could not forfeit his estate upon his death. He died in full possession of his estate, which went to his sons-in-law.

One of the methods used to discover a witch in salem was a witch cake. It was made with rye flour and what?

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Such a cake was made with rye flour and the urine of the "inflicted," or one of the people suffering the symptoms that started the whole witch hunt in the first place. This cake was then fed to a dog, and if the dog then showed the same symptoms, witchcraft had taken place. In this case, the dog would then "point" to which witch had made him ill.

How many people died in prison during the Salem Witch Trials - either while awaiting execution or serving a sentance for being a witch?

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In 1692, during the Salem Witch Trials, there was a total of 27 people put to death for the crime of witchcraft. 19 of them were hanged, which is pretty awful. Seven died while in prison on charges of witchcraft, either awaiting execution or serving time.

Two girls began the witch hunts in Salem by having unusual outbursts and contortions. Who decided the girls had been "bewitched"?

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In January 1692, Salem village residents Abigail Williams, 11, and cousin Elizabeth Parris, 9, began having unusual outbursts of violent contortions and screaming spells. A local doctor diagnosed the girls with "bewitchment," an illness said to have affected other girls in the town during the same time. Three women were accused of casting the spells — Parris' Caribbean slave, Tituba as well community members Sarah Good and Sarah Osborn, History.com reports. (Wikimedia Commons)

A 1953 play was written about the Salem Witch Trials. What play was it?

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1953 play "The Crucible," created by American playwright Arthur Miller, dramatized the story of the Salem witch trials. The play was intended to be an allegory for anti-Communist propaganda during the era. The play premiered January 22, 1953 at the Martin Beck Theatre on Broadway and viewers' initial reviews were said to be hostile.

The State of Massachusetts issued an official apology for the trials in what year?

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A day was dedicated to prayer and fasting on January 15, 1697 as Judge Samuel Sewall in the trials asked for forgiveness from God and families affected by the killings. In 1957, the state of Massachusetts issued an official apology and later set up a Salem Witch Trials Memorial to honor the late victims, historyofmassachusetts.org reports.

The trials ended when...

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The trials ended when on October 12 1692 Governor Phips stopped the proceedings of the Salem Witchcraft Trials, fearful that innocent people were being executed. His wife had just been accused of the crime.

Salem Witch Trials - A Bewitching Quiz
A great start

While you didn't get a large number of the questions right, you did learn quite a bit about these trials. Knowledge is popwer.
Moving Foward

You managed to get about half of the questions right. Given the complexity of the Salem Witch Trials, that's not a bad effort.
A Witchy Wonder

Not too bad! You did a great job in getting several answers right! Not perfect, but a great effort!
A Salem Town Historian

Wow! You really know your history. You were succesful in your efforts to reveal some amazing facts about this dark period in American history. Congratulations!

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3 Comments

  1. Keri Runion says

    Very cool! I learned quite a bit about the trails taking this quiz.

  2. Rafaellle Beckwith says

    I loved this quiz!

  3. Gaynor Pabon says

    Actually, this was a great quiz – not as easy as I thought it would be. Thank you.

Comments are closed.