So if they sank, they were innocent and if they floated, they were found guilty and hung. Either way, an accused witch would die (Ellwood n.p.). Increase Mather, a well known Puritan tells how to the English, this water test was not very popular; instead witches were tried for guilt or innocence and often burned at the stake (294)...
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The idea of witchcraft being an evil practice began early on mostly due to a misunderstanding of witchesâ beliefs. From that time on, those feelings snowballed, creating such works as The Malleus Maleficarum and the inescapable water test.
When the Puritans came from Europe, they brought the same views of witchcraft that most Europeans held...