From The Art and Popular Culture Encyclopedia

Jump to: navigation, search

"Vicious, tireless, Matthew Hopkins the Witchfinder General, scourge of the ungodly, flayer of the demented, burst into 1645 like a black-winged merciless Attila, leaving behind him a trail of gibbet-hung corpses and vermin-infested gaols filled with beaten, terrified women – like bloody footprints across the length of Suffolk."--Witchfinder General (1966) by Ronald Bassett, page 139

Related e



A witch-hunt, or a witch purge, is a search for people who have been labeled witches or a search for evidence of witchcraft. The classical period of witch-hunts in Early Modern Europe and Colonial America took place in the Early Modern period or about 1450 to 1750, spanning the upheavals of the Reformation and the Thirty Years' War, resulting in an estimated 35,000 to 100,000 executions. The last executions of people convicted as witches in Europe took place in the 18th century. In other regions, like Africa and Asia, contemporary witch-hunts have been reported from sub-Saharan Africa and Papua New Guinea, and official legislation against witchcraft is still found in Saudi Arabia and Cameroon today.

In current language, "witch-hunt" metaphorically means an investigation that is usually conducted with much publicity, supposedly to uncover subversive activity, disloyalty, and so on, but with the real purpose of intimidating political opponents. It can also involve elements of moral panic or mass hysteria.

List of witch trials

See also

Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Witch-hunt" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on research by Jahsonic. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

Personal tools