About National Freethought Day
This day is observed by freethinking, rationalists and secularists. It takes place on October 12th each year, as it was on this date in 1692, that the Salem Witch Trials effectively came to an end.
The Salem witch trials were a series of hearings and prosecutions of people accused of witchcraft in colonial Massachusetts between February 1692 and May 1693. More than 200 people were accused. Thirty people were found guilty, 19 of whom were executed by hanging (14 women and five men).
Much, but not all, of the evidence used against the accused was spectral evidence, or the testimony of the afflicted who claimed to see the apparition or the shape of the person who was allegedly afflicting them.
On October 12th 1692, then Massachusetts Governor William Phips, wrote to the Privy Council of the British monarchs, William and Mary. In this correspondence he outlined the quagmire that the trials had degenerated into, in part by a reliance on "evidence" of a non-objective nature and especially "spectral evidence".