Miller is, of course, not alone in his misconceptions about the history of this episode. He was using it to make sense of his own life and times. Popular understandings include many general inaccuracies - for instance, that the witches were burned to death. People condemned as witches in New England were not burned, but hanged, and in the aftermath of the events in Salem, it was generally agreed that none of them had actually been witches at all. Some modern versions also cast the story as having to do with intolerance of difference - a theme that was in the words of Nobel Laureate Elie Wiesel at the dedication of the Tercentenary Memorial in Salem in August 1992, for instance - that the accused were people on the fringes that the community tacitly approved of casting out. In fact, most of the people who were accused, convicted, and executed by the court in Salem were remarkable by their very adherence to community norms, many were even fully covenanted members of the church. Such impressions that vary from the historical facts are more likely to come from pressing concerns of the time of the writer.
Public support and belief in the trials began to wane for several reasons. Respected ministers started to believe that some innocent people were being accused and executed for witchcraft primarily on unreliable spectral evidence. As the Reverend Increase Mather stated, "It were better than ten suspected witches should escape than one innocent person should be condemned." Also, as the accusations mounted, persons from all walks of life--rich and poor, beggar and merchant--were being accused. Additionally, the accused that originally confessed to witchcraft requested to recant their former confessions. With public confidence in the trials slipping, the cries of the afflicted were steadily ignored, and the accusations eventually stopped. See the Salem Witchcraft essay for a detailed explanation of the events, causes and aftermath of the Salem witch trials.