8th February
It was on this day...
1692 Witchcraft suspected in Salem

Salem, Massachusetts: Abigail Williams and Betty Parris are believed to be "under an evil hand."

To check if this was the case, it was suggested that a cake be made of the girl's urine and then fed to their dog. If the dog began acting strangely then it would confirm their worst fears...

Abigail and Betty reported seeing slaves familiar to them in their hallucinations.

Tituba and John Indian, two slaves from the Caribbean, who practiced their own methods of worship, owned by Betty's pastor father, Samuel, were immediately made suspects, especially so when other girls who visited Abigail and Betty began to have fits and convulsions.

By the end of the spring, Salem's jails were full of witches with more than half of them recent immigrants from England.

The witch trials began in the summer of 1692. Nineteen people were to be executed and more than 100 imprisoned for allegedly practicing witchcraft.

Just before being executed, one woman told her accuser, Nicholas Noyes,

"You are a liar. I am no more a witch than you are a wizard, and if you take away my life, God will give you blood to drink."

Legend has it that Noyes died years later bleeding from his mouth.

Eventually the credibility of the two accusers was called into question and those accused but not hanged were not prosecuted.

It was not until 1710 that this wicked sham was reversed, with convictions of all those who petitioned the court being reversed.

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1958 14 years and 10 month old Bobby Fischer becomes the youngest international Grand Master in the history of chess.

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