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The Witch Hunts of Early Modern Europe

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University of Toronto St. George
Nicholas Terpstra

thThe Witch Hunts of Early Modern Europe Thurs Nov 24 2011 The witch her neighbours and the lawth Matthew Hopkins 17 century Englishman became deeply concerned in regards to the presence of witches in his community Started to search for witches to rid his community of them36 women tried for witchcraft half of them executedDeclared himself Witch Finder General 16451647 Of EnglandHopkinsassociate began crusade that saw nearly 300 women in England executed for witchcraft Saw fewer than 500 executions for witchcraft Took up 60 of all those executed in years of witchcraft prosecutionMore ppl prosecuted for witchcraft than any other witch finderWho Where Why and How of Witch HuntsAccusations rumors and reputation Judicial proceedings and regional differences Hunting for witches small medium and large huntsHow did one get accused of being a witchHunts were organized hunt by authorities to hunt witches who posed a deadly threat to Christian societyWitch hunting needs to be separated from the belief in witches or magicThose beliefs were commonplaceuniversal in modern EuropeWitches conspirators huge threat distinguishing feature of early modern witch huntSuspicion of someone for witchcraft go to neighbour another neighbour this was enough to accuse someone of witchcraft and bring to authoritiesWhy Accuse your NeighbourFailed crops Death of an infant or childImpotenceDiseaseoften one without any known causeSuspicious behaviourWomen seen as more susceptible to devils influenceWomen who are old widowed or singlepoor more susceptible to these attacksAuthorities would have been familiar with demonological discourses Based on books knew what they were looking for what witches were supposed to be like First made a pact with the devil sold soul in exchange for vengance power etcOnce one sold their soul to Satan they gave up their baptism new alliance with Satan fixed alliance with him Devil implanted his mark on your body Devils mark witches Finding and Pricking the Devils MarkMark could be a birth mark skin tag blemish mole various things Realized people had birthmarks moles blemishes distinguished was by calling people called prickers used tools in slide to prick the mark if it did not bleed to the extent that they felt it should that was evidence that it was a devils markAccusations became moreAccused of having sex with the devil attending Sabbaths where you ate infants baked infants and put them in pies etc After you had been accused of witchcraftProcessing A Witch and the Judicial Proceedings SLIDE Accusations of witchcraft dependent on local suspicion
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