Halloween brings about all things spooky, not least of all, witches. Thousands of tourists flock to Salem each October, thanks in part to the fascination that still surrounds the Salem witch trials from 1692. Salem’s popularity increases each year, with a record 1 million people paying a trip to downtown Salem last October.
“The reason (the Salem witch trials) is so exciting to people is it fits in with that true crime thing,” said Laurie Nardone, a Northeastern University teaching professor in English who did a study on the representation of the trials in literature. “We’re not sure what happened.”
But many of the witchy offerings Salem has today are different from the witchcraft over 100 people were accused of in 1692. In fact, the real-life trials played out a little differently than you might expect. Here are five of the biggest misconceptions about the Salem witch trials according to Northeastern University experts.