Witch hunts The events in Salem in were but one chapter in a long story of witch hunts that began in Europe between and and ended in the late 18th century with the last known execution for witchcraft taking place in Switzerland in
Medieval Inquisition While the witch trials only really began in the 15th century, with the start of the early modern periodmany of their causes[ citation needed ] had been developing during the previous centuries, with the prosecution of heresy by the Medieval Inquisition during the late twelfth and the thirteenth centuries, and during the Late Medieval periodduring which the idea of witchcraft or sorcery gradually changed and adapted.
The inquisition had the office of protecting Christians against the "internal" threat of heresy as opposed to "external" military threats such as those of the Vikingsthe Mongolsand the Saracens or Turks.
Witches by Hans Baldung Grien Woodcut, During the High Middle Agesa number of heretical Christian groups, such as the Cathars and the Knights Templar had been accused of performing such anti-Christian activities as Satanism, sodomy and malevolent sorcery in France.
While the nucleus of the early modern "witch craze" would turn out to be popular superstition in the Western Alpsreinforced by theological rationale developed at or following the Council of Basel of the s, what has been called "the first real witch trial in Europe,"  the accusation of Alice Kyteler inoccurred in 14th-century Irelandduring the turmoils associated with the decline of Norman control.
The catalog of typical charges that would later be leveled at witches, of spreading diseases, committing orgies sometimes incestuouscannibalizing childrenand following Satanismemerged during the 14th century as crimes attributed to heretics and Jews. Witchcraft had not been considered a heresy during the High Medieval period.
Indeed, since the Council of Paderborn ofthe belief in the possibility of witchcraft itself was considered heretical. While The witch trials only became common afteran important legal step that would make this development possible occurred inwhen Pope John XXII authorized the inquisition to prosecute witchcraft as a type of heresy.
This Church Council, which had been attended by such anti-witchcraft figures as Johann Nider and Martin Le Franchelped to standardize the stereotype of the Satanic witch that would be propagated throughout the rest of the trials.
Inthe North Berwick witch trials occurred in Scotland, and were of particular note as the king, James VIbecame involved himself.
James had developed a fear that witches planned to kill him after he suffered from storms whilst traveling to Denmark in order to claim his bride, Anneearlier that year.
Returning to Scotland, the king heard of trials that were occurring in North Berwick and ordered the suspects to be brought to him—he subsequently believed that a nobleman, Francis Stewart, 5th Earl of Bothwellwas a witch, and after the latter fled in fear of his life, he was outlawed as a traitor.
The king subsequently set up royal commissions to hunt down witches in his realm, recommending torture in dealing with suspects, and in he wrote a book about the menace that witches posed to society entitled Daemonologie.
The Geneva Bible which precedes the King James version by 51 years includes the term "witch" in Exodus Protests against early modern witch trials Even throughout the 16th century, there had been isolated expressions of scepticism regarding the trial, increasing throughout the 17th century.
Inthe Roman Inquisition acknowledged that it had "found scarcely one trial conducted legally". In the Nordic countries, the late 17th century saw the peak of the trials in a number of areas: The Salem witch trials were a brief outburst of witch hysteria in the New World while the practice was waning in Europe.
In the s Winifred King Benham and her daughter Winifred were thrice tried for witchcraft in Wallingford, Connecticutthe last of such trials in New England. Jane Wenham was among the last subjects of a typical witch trial in England inbut was pardoned after her conviction and set free.
The last execution for witchcraft in England took place inwhen Mary Hicks and her daughter Elizabeth were hanged.
Janet Horne was executed for witchcraft in Scotland in The Witchcraft Act put an end of the traditional form of witchcraft as a legal offense in Britain. Those accused under the new act were restricted to those that pretended to be able to conjure spirits generally being the most dubious professional fortune tellers and mediumsand punishment was light.
The last person in Germany to be executed for witchcraft was fifteen-year-old Veronika Zeritschinwho was beheaded and then burned on April 2, in Landshut. In the later 18th century, witchcraft had ceased to be considered a criminal offense throughout Europe, but there are a number of cases which were not technically witch trials but are suspected to have involved belief in witches at least behind the scenes.
In France, there was sporadic violence and even murder in the s, with one woman reportedly burnt in a village square in Nord. The case against the supposed witch was dismissed upon the failure of the alleged victim, who had sworn out a warrant against him, to appear for the trial.
However, some of his other accusers were convicted on criminal charges for their part in the matter, and various libel actions were brought. The persecution of those believed to perform malevolent sorcery against their neighbors continued into the 20th century.
In two Russian farmers killed a woman and injured five other members of her family after believing that they had used folk magic against them. Matteson There were extensive efforts to root out the supposed influence of Satan by various measures aimed at the people who were accused of being servants of Satan.
To a lesser degree, animals were also targeted for prosecution see animal trial. People suspected of being " possessed by Satan " were put on trial.The Salem Witch Museum is a museum in Salem, MA about the Witch Trials of The museum is based on the actual documents of the trials.
Plan a visit to check out the scenes, and listen to the accurate narration from the history of the Salem Witch Hunt. Enjoy the self-guided tours in one of the most historic places of New England.
Salem witch trials: Salem witch trials, in American history, investigations and trials of accused witches in Salem Village, Massachusetts Bay Colony, in – Salem Witch Trials Weekly, produced by the Salem Witch Museum Bewitchment in Salem, produced by the Salem Witch Museum in conjunction with SATV The Salem Witch Trials: A Day-by-Day Chronicle of a Community Under Siege by Marilynne K.
Roach (Jul 22, ). The Salem Witch Trials of were a dark time in American history. More than people were accused of practicing witchcraft and 20 were killed during the hysteria. Ever since those dark days ended, the trials have become synonymous with mass hysteria and scapegoating.
The following are some facts about the Salem Witch Trials: What Were the Salem Witch Trials? Historical truths emerge only with time, after which they are ours, particularly on Halloween, to mangle.
Early on, the Salem witch trials disappeared from the record; a hush descended over Mar 18, · From barbaric tortures and occult dessert dishes to unwinnable trials by ordeal, find out more about seven unusual tests once used as evidence .