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A witch hunt is a search for witches or evidence of witchcraft, often involving moral panic, mass hysteria and lynching, but in historical instances also legally sanctioned and involving official witchcraft trials.

The classical period of witchhunts in Europe falls into the Early Modern period or about 1480 to 1700, spanning the upheavals of the Reformation and the Thirty Years' War, resulting in an estimated 40,000 to 100,000 executions.

The term "witch-hunt" is often used by analogy to refer to panic-induced searches for perceived wrong-doers other than witches. The best known example is probably the McCarthyist search for communists during the Cold War, which was discredited partly through being compared to the Salem witch trials.


Punishment for sorcery and witchcraft is addressed in the earliest law codes preserved; both in ancient Egyptmarker and in Babylonia it played a conspicuous part. The Code of Hammurabi (18th century BCE short chronology) prescribes that
If a man has put a spell upon another man and it is not justified, he upon whom the spell is laid shall go to the holy river; into the holy river shall he plunge. If the holy river overcome him and he is drowned, the man who put the spell upon him shall take possession of his house. If the holy river declares him innocent and he remains unharmed the man who laid the spell shall be put to death. He that plunged into the river shall take possession of the house of him who laid the spell upon him.

The pre-Christian Twelve Tables of pagan Roman law has provisions against evil incantations and spells intended to damage cereal crops.

The Hebrew Bible condemns sorcery. Deuteronomy 18:11-12 calls it an "abomination" and Exodus 22:18 prescribes "thou shalt not suffer a witch to live"; tales like that of 1 Samuel 28, reporting how Saul "hath cut off those that have familiar spirits, and the wizards, out of the land" suggest that in practice sorcery could at least lead to exile.

In later Jewish history, Rabbi Simeon ben Shetach - Pharisee scholar and Nasi of the Sanhedrin in the 1st century BCE - is reported to have sentenced to death 80 women, who had been charged with witchcraft, on a single day in Ashkelonmarker. Later the women's relatives took revenge by bringing false witnesses against Simeon's son and causing him to be executed in turn.

The 6th century CE Getica of Jordanes records a mythical persecution and expulsion of witches among the Goths in an account of the origin of the Huns. The ancient fabled King Filimer is said to have
"found among his people certain witches, whom he called in his native tongue Haliurunnae. Suspecting these women, he expelled them from the midst of his race and compelled them to wander in solitary exile afar from his army. There the unclean spirits, who beheld them as they wandered through the wilderness, bestowed their embraces upon them and begat this savage race, which dwelt at first in the swamps, a stunted, foul and puny tribe, scarcely human, and having no language save one which bore but slight resemblance to human speech."

Middle Ages

During the Early Middle Ages, the Church did not itself conduct witch trials. However, witch trials were the direct result of Church doctrine.

Canon law, in Canon Episcopi, followed the views of the church father Augustine of Hippo (400 CE) that belief in the existence of witchcraft was heresy, since according to Augustine "a heretic is one who either devises or follows false and new opinions, for the sake of some temporal profit".

The Council of Paderborn in 785 explicitly outlawed the very belief in witches, and Charlemagne later confirmed the law. The Council of Frankfurt in 794, called by Charlemagne, was also very explicit in condemning "the persecution of alleged witches and wizards", calling the belief in witchcraft "superstitious", and ordering the death penalty for those who presume to burn witches.

Pope John XXII formalized the persecution of witchcraft in 1320 when he authorized the Inquisition to prosecute sorcerors. In 1484 Pope Innocent VIII issued Summis desiderantes affectibus, a Papal bull authorising two inquisitors, Kramer and Sprenger, to systemize the persecution of witches.

There were still secular laws against witchcraft, such as that promulgated by King Athelstan (924-999)
And we have ordained respecting witch-crafts, and lybacs, and morthdaeds: if any one should be thereby killed, and he could not deny it, that he be liable in his life. But if he will deny it, and at threefold ordeal shall be guilty; that he be 120 days in prison: and after that let kindred take him out, and give to the king 120 shillings, and pay the wer to his kindred, and enter into borh for him, that he evermore desist from the like.

It has been proposed that the witch-hunt developed in Europe after the Cathars and the Templar Knights were exterminated, and the Inquisition had to turn to persecution of witches to remain active. In the middle of 1970s, this hypothesis was independently disproved by two historians (Cohn 1975; Kieckhefer 1976). It was shown that the pursuit originated amongst common people in Switzerlandmarker and in Croatiamarker, who pressed the civil courts to support them. Inquisitorial courts became systematically involved in the witch-hunt only in the 15th century: in the case of the Madonna Oriente, the Inquisition of Milanmarker was not sure what to do with two women who in 1384 and in 1390 confessed to have participated in a type of white magic.

Early Modern Europe

The witch trials in Early Modern Europe came in waves and then subsided. There were trials in the 15th and early 16th centuries, but then the witch scare went into decline, before becoming a big issue again and peaking in the 17th century. Some scholars argue that a fear of witchcraft started among intellectuals who believed in maleficium: that is, harm committed by magic. What had previously been a belief that some people possessed supernatural abilities (which were sometimes used to protect the people) now became a sign of a pact between the people with supernatural abilities and the devil. To justify the killings Christianity and its proxy secular institutions deemed witchcraft as being associated to wild Satanic ritual parties in which there was much naked dancing, orgy sex, and cannibalistic infanticide.

Witch-hunts were seen across early modern Europe, but the most significant area of witch-hunting in modern Europe is often considered to be southwestern Germany. Germany was a late starter in terms of the numbers of trials, compared to other regions of Europe. Witch-hunts first appeared in large numbers in southern France and Switzerland during the 14th and 15th centuries. The peak years of witch-hunts in southwest Germany were from 1561 to 1670. The first major persecution in Europe, when witches were caught, tried, convicted, and burned in the imperial lordship of Wiesensteig in southwestern Germany, is recorded in 1563 in a pamphlet called "True and Horrifying Deeds of 63 Witches".

In Denmarkmarker, the burning of witches increased following the reformation of 1536. Christian IV of Denmark, in particular, encouraged this practice, and hundreds of people were convicted of witchcraft and burnt. In the North Berwick witch trials in Scotlandmarker, over 70 people were accused of witchcraft on account of bad weather when James VI of Scotland, who shared the Danish king's interest in witch trials, sailed to Denmark in 1590 to meet his betrothed Anne of Denmark.

Current scholarly estimates of the number of people executed for witchcraft vary between about 40,000 and 100,000. The total number of witch trials in Europe which are known for certain to have ended in executions is around 12,000.

During early 18th century, the practice subsided. The last executions for witchcraft in England had taken place in 1682, when Temperance Lloyd, Mary Trembles, and Susanna Edwards were executed at Exeter. Jane Wenham was among the last subjects of a typical witch trial in England in 1712, but was pardoned after her conviction and set free. Janet Horne was executed for witchcraft in Scotland in 1727. The Witchcraft Act of 1735 saw the end of witchcraft itself as a legal offence in Britain: those accused under the new Act were restricted to people who falsely pretended to be able to procure spirits, generally being the most dubious professional fortune tellers and mediums, and punishment was light. In Switzerlandmarker Anna Göldi was executed in 1782. Polandmarker saw the burning of two women in 1793. Helena Curtens and Agnes Olmanns were the last women to be executed as witches in Germanymarker, in 1738 and Barbara Zdunk in Rößel (West Prussia) in 1811 .

Contemporary critics of witch hunts included Friedrich von Spee, Gianfrancesco Ponzinibio, Cornelius Loos, Reginald Scot, Johann Mayfurth and Alonzo Salazar de Frias.

The Salem witch trials in Britain's Massachusetts Colony were an example of European witch hysteria in the Americas.

Modern witch-hunts

Although far less frequently than in the past, witch-hunts still occur today, especially in Africa. Witch-hunts against children were reported by the BBC in 1999 in the Congo and in Tanzania, where the government responded to attacks on women accused of being witches for having red eyes. A lawsuit was launched in 2001 in Ghana, where witch-hunts are also common, by a woman accused of being a witch. Witch-hunts in Africa are often led by relatives seeking the property of the accused victim.

Other instances of moral panic in the modern West have some similarities to the earlier witch-hunts. Notably, the hysteria surrounding Satanic ritual abuse, prominent in the United Statesmarker, Canadamarker, the United Kingdommarker, and elsewhere during the 1980s, employed much of the same occult and conspiratorial imagery.

The last witch trial was initiated by Martha Minnen in the year 1950, because her abutters Victor and Maria Deckx riped up Mrs.Minnen back and called her witch in the village of Witgoor in the Kempen region of Flanders.

Saudi Arabia

On February 16, 2008 a Saudi woman, Fawza Falih, was arrested and convicted of witchcraft and now faces imminent beheading for sorcery unless the King issues a rare pardon.

United Kingdom

Occasional prosecutions under the Witchcraft Act continued in 19th and 20th century Britain. A well-publicised recent case was that of the medium Helen Duncan in 1944. Supposedly the authorities feared that by her alleged clairvoyant powers she could betray details of the D-Day preparations, but the accusations in court centered round defrauding the public. She spent nine months in prison. The last conviction under the Act was that of Jane Rebecca Yorke. The Act was repealed in 1951 and replaced with the Fraudulent Mediums Act 1951. This act prohibited a person from claiming to be a psychic, medium, or other spiritualist while attempting to deceive and to make money from the deception (other than solely for the purpose of entertainment).


In many African societies the fear of witches drives periodic witch-hunts during which specialist witch-finders identify suspects, even today, with death by mob often the result. Audrey I. Richards, in the journal Africa, relates in 1935 an instance when a new wave of witchfinders, the Bamucapi, appeared in the villages of the Bemba people. They dressed in European clothing, and would summon the headman to prepare a ritual meal for the village. When the villagers arrived they would view them all in a mirror, and claimed they could identify witches with this method. These witches would then have to "yield up his horns"; i.e. give over the horn containers for curses and evil potions to the witch-finders. The bamucapi then made all drink a potion called kucapa which would cause a witch to die and swell up if he ever tried such things again. The villagers related that the witch-finders were always right because the witches they found were always the people whom the village had feared all along. The bamucapi utilised a mixture of Christian and native religious traditions to account for their powers and said that God (not specifying which God) helped them to prepare their medicine. In addition, all witches who did not attend the meal to be identified would be called to account later on by their master, who had risen from the dead, and who would force the witches by means of drums to go to the graveyard, where they would die. Richards noted that the bamucapi created the sense of danger in the villages by rounding up all the horns in the village, whether they were used for anti-witchcraft charms, potions, snuff or were indeed receptacles of black magic.

The Bemba people believed misfortunes such as wartings hauntings and famines to be just actions sanctioned by the High-God Lesa. The only agency which caused unjust harm was a witch, who had enormous powers and was hard to detect. After white rule of Africa beliefs in sorcery and witchcraft grew, possibly because of the social strain caused by new ideas, customs and laws, and also because the courts no longer allowed witches to be tried.

Amongst the Bantu tribes of Southern Africa, the witch smellers were responsible for detecting witches. In parts of Southern Africa several hundred people have been killed in witch hunts since 1990.

Several African states, Cameroonmarker, Togomarker for example, have reestablished witchcraft-accusations in courts. A person can be imprisoned or fined for the account of a witch-doctor.

It was reported on 21 May 2008 that in Kenyamarker a mob had burnt to death at least 11 people accused of witchcraft.

In March 2009 Amnesty International reported that up to 1,000 people in the Gambiamarker had been abducted by government-sponsored "witch doctors" on charges of witchcraft, and taken to detention centers where they were forced to drink poisonous concoctions. On May 21, 2009, The New York Times reported that the alleged witch-hunting campaign had been sparked by the Gambia's President Yahya Jammeh.

In Sierra Leonemarker, the witch-hunt is an occasion for a sermon by the kɛmamɔi (native Mende witch-finder) on social ethics : "Witchcraft ... takes hold in people’s lives when people are less than fully open-hearted. All wickedness is ultimately because people hate each other or are jealous or suspicious or afraid. These emotions and motivations cause people to act antisocially". The response by the populace to the kɛmamɔi is that "they valued his work and would learn the lessons he came to teach them, about social responsibility and cooperation."

Papua New Guinea

Though the practice of "white" magic (such as faith healing) is legal in Papua, the 1976 Sorcery Act imposes a penalty of up to 2 years in prison for the practise of "black" magic. In 2009, the government reports that extrajudicial torture and murder of alleged witches - usually lone women - is spreading from the Highland areas to cities as villagers migrate to urban areas.

Causes and sociology of witch-hunts

"The Witch, No.
3", c.1892 by Joseph Baker.
One theory for the number of Early Modern witchcraft trials connects the counter-reformation to witchcraft. In south-western Germany between 1561 and 1670 there were 480 witch trials. Of the 480 trials that took place in southwestern Germany, 317 occurred in Catholic areas, while Protestant territories accounted for 163 of them. During the period from 1561 to 1670, at least 3,229 persons were executed for witchcraft in the German Southwest. Of this number 702 were tried and executed in Protestant territories, while 2,527 were tried and executed in Catholic territories. Nineteenth-century historians today dispute the comparative severity of witch hunting in Protestant and Catholic territories. “Protestants blamed the witch trials on the methods of the Catholic Inquisition and the theology of Catholic scholasticism, while Catholic scholars indignantly retorted that Lutheran preachers drew more witchcraft theory from Luther and the Bible than from medieval Catholic thinkers.”

Other theories have pointed that the massive changes in law allowed for the outbreak in witch trials. Such laws pointed out heretical nature, and punished all aspects. Another theory is that rising number of devil literature popularized witchcraft trials, in which the German market saw nearly 100,000 devil-books during the 1560’s. Another assumption is that climate-induced crop failure and harsh weather was a direct link to witch-hunts. This theory follows the idea that witchcraft in Europe was traditionally associated with weather-making. Scholars also imply that a connection between witchcraft trials and the Thirty Years’ War may also have a direct correlation.

While the previously mentioned theories mainly rely on micro level psychological interpretations, another theory has been put forward that provides an alternative macroeconomic explanation. According to this theory, the witches, who often had highly developed midwifery skills, were prosecuted in order to extinguish knowledge about birth control in an effort to repopulate Europe after the population catastrophe triggered by the plague pandemic of the 14th century (also known as the Black Death). Citing Jean Bodin's "On Witchcraft", this view holds that the witch hunts were not only promoted by the church but also by prominent secular thinkers to repopulate the European continent. By these authors, the witch hunts are seen as an attempt to eliminate female midwifery skills and as a historical explanation why modern gynecology - surprisingly enough - came to be practiced almost exclusively by males in state run hospitals. In this view, the witch hunts began a process of criminalization of birth control that eventually lead to an enormous increase in birth rates that are described as the "population explosion" of early modern Europe. This population explosion produced an enormous youth bulge which supplied the extra manpower that would enable Europe's nations, during the period of colonialism and imperialism, to conquer and colonize 90% of the world. While historians specializing in the history of the witch hunts have generally remained critical of this macroeconomic approach and continue to favor micro level perspectives and explanations, prominent historian of birth control John M. Riddle has expressed agreement.

As this theory has an alternative macroeconomic explanation some scholars oppose it. Diane Purkiss argues "that there is no evidence that the majority of those accused were healers and midwives; in England and also some parts of the Continent, midwives were more than likely to be found helping witch-hunters. Also the fact remains that most women used herbal medicines as part of their household skills, and a large part of witches were accused by women.

Some sociologists have attributed the occurrence of witchhunts to the prevalent human tendency to blame unexplainable occurrences on someone or something familiar. For example, Europe relied heavily upon agriculture during the period of the witch hunts; if there were large scale crop failures, the consequences would very likely be disastrous. Crop failures often correlated with the occurrence of witchhunts, leading some sociologists to suggest that communities often took out their anger about a lack of food on community members (witches) who were unpopular. This can be paralleled in more recent examples such as the Nazi use of anti-semitism to apportion blame for economic problems. A perception of moral righteousness, by the community, is a necessary element that enables rationalization. This, however, is only one element in a complex tapestry of factors leading to the events in question.

The modern notion of a "witch hunt" has little to do with gender, the historical notion often did. In general, supposed "witches" were female. Saith noted Judge Nicholas Rémy (c.1595), "[It is] not unreasonable that this scum of humanity, [witches], should be drawn chiefly from the feminine sex." Concurred another judge, "The Devil uses them so, because he knows that women love carnal pleasures, and he means to bind them to his allegiance by such agreeable provocations."

'Witch-hunt' has become a generic term, referring to any situation in which a 'guilty party' is, essentially, tried and convicted in absentia, without any 'firm' evidence—indeed, in a typical witch-hunt, guilt is presumed from the outset, and the focus of the hunt actually becomes getting the accused to admit his guilt. Often, these so-called 'confessions' are brought about by way of verbal trickery, or by questioning the loyalty or past conduct of the accused.

Political usage

In modern terminology 'witch-hunt' has acquired usage referring to the act of seeking and persecuting any perceived enemy, particularly when the search is conducted using extreme measures and with little regard to actual guilt or innocence. It is used whether or not it is sanctioned by the government, or merely occurs within the "court of public opinion".

Homage to Catalonia

The Oxford English Dictionary describes the first recorded use of the term in its metaphorical sense in George Orwell's Homage to Catalonia (1938). The term is used by Orwell to describe how, in the Spanish Civil War, political persecutions became a regular occurrence.


The term "witch-hunt" was widely popularized in a political context through Arthur Miller's play The Crucible, ostensibly about the Salem witch trials, but actually a criticism of the McCarthy hearings as well as the general atmosphere of paranoia and persecution that accompanied them. The hearings, held by anti-Communist committees, panels and "loyalty review boards" across the United Statesmarker, became the most famous 'witch-hunt' of the 20th century. Later deemed unconstitutional, they represented a major breakdown in civil liberties and civil discourse; those accused of being Communist sympathizers could find themselves 'blacklisted' by their chosen profession, effectively ending their careers.

See also


  1. Brian Levack (The Witch Hunt in Early Modern Europe) multiplied the number of known European witch trials by the average rate of conviction and execution, to arrive at a figure of around 60,000 deaths. Anne Lewellyn Barstow (Witchcraze) adjusted Levack's estimate to account for lost records, estimating 100,000 deaths. Ronald Hutton (Triumph of the Moon) argues that Levack's estimate had already been adjusted for these, and revises the figure to approximately 40,000.
  2. International Standard Bible Encyclopedia article on Witchcraft, last accessed 31 March 2006. There is some discrepancy between translations; compare with that given in the Catholic Encyclopedia article on Witchcraft (accessed 31 March 2006), and the L. W. King translation (accessed 31 March 2006)
  3. "witch" here translates the Hebrew , and is rendered in the Septuagint.
  4. "those that have familiar spirits": Hebrew , or "ventriloquist, soothsayer" in the Septuagint; "wizards": Hebrew or "diviner" in the Septuagint.
  5. , Aquinas citing Augustine's De Util. Credendi i
  6. [1]
  7. Jeffrey Burton Russell, A History of Medieval Christianity (173).
  8. Levack, The Witch-Hunt in Early Modern Europe, (49).
  9. Medieval Sourcebook: The Anglo-Saxon Dooms, 560-975
  10. The Dark Side of Christian History by Helen Ellerbe.
  11. H.C. Erik Midelfort, Witch Hunting in Southwestern Germany 1562-1684,1972,71
  12. Wolfgang Behringer, Witches and Witch-Hunts,2004,83
  13. Based on Ronald Hutton's essay Counting the Witch Hunt.
  14. [2]Montague Summers Geography of Witchcraft, 1927, p.153. Summers discusses and dismisses the evidence that Mary Hicks and her daughter Elizabeth were hanged in 1716.
  15. King Abdullah urged to spare Saudi ‘witchcraft’ woman’s life
  16. "Scotland's Last Witch"
  17. Mohammed A. Diwan: Conflict between state legal norms and norms underlying popular beliefs: witchcraft in africa as a case study; in: 14 Duke J. of Comp. & Int'l L. 351
  18. A Modern Movement of Witch Finders Audrey I Richards (Africa: Journal of the International Institute of African Languages and Cultures, Ed. Diedrich Westermann.) Vol VIII, 1935, published by Oxford University Press, London
  19. Christian responses to witchcraft and sorcery
  20. Witchcraft in Cameroon; Country of origin research - Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada
  21. Mob burns to death 11 Kenyan "witches"
  22. "The Gambia: Hundreds accused of “witchcraft” and poisoned in government campaign"
  23. "Witch-Hunt in Gambia"
  24. STUDIA INSTITUTI ANTHROPOS, Vol. 41 = Anthony J. Gittins : Mende Religion. Steyler Verlag, Nettetal, 1987. p. 197
  25. STUDIA INSTITUTI ANTHROPOS, Vol. 41 = Anthony J. Gittins : Mende Religion. Steyler Verlag, Nettetal, 1987. p. 201
  27. H.C. Erik Midelfort, Witch Hunting in Southwestern Germany 1562-1684,1972,31
  28. H.C. Erik Midelfort, Witch Hunting in Southwestern Germany 1562-1684,1972,31-32
  29. H.C. Erik Midelfort, Witch Hunting in Southwestern Germany 1562-1684,1972,69-0
  30. Wolfgang Behringer, Witches and Witch-Hunts,2004,88
  31. H.C. Erik Midelfort, Witch Hunting in Southwestern Germany 1562-1684,1972
  32. Gunnar Heinsohn/Otto Steiger: "Witchcraft, Population Catastrophe and Economic Crisis in Renaissance Europe: An Alternative Macroeconomic Explanation.", University of Bremen 2004 (download)
  33. Gunnar Heinsohn/Otto Steiger: The Elimination of Medieval Birth Control and the Witch Trials of Modern Times, International Journal of Women's Studies, 3, May 1982, 193-214
  34. Gunnar Heinsohn/Otto Steiger: "Birth Control: The Political-Economic Rationale Behind Jean Bodin's "Démonomanie"", in: History of Political Economy, 31, No. 3, 423-448
  35. Heinsohn, G.(2005): "Population, Conquest and Terror in the 21st Century." [3]
  36. Walter Rummel: 'Weise' Frauen und 'weise' Männer im Kampf gegen Hexerei. Die Widerlegung einer modernen Fabel. In: Christof Dipper, Lutz Klinkhammer und Alexander Nützenadel: Europäische Sozialgeschichte. Festschrift für Wolfgang Schieder (= Historische Forschungen 68), Berlin 2000, S. 353-375, [4]
  37. see John M. Riddle: "The Great Witch-Hunt and the Suppression of Birth Control: Heinsohn and Steiger's Theory from the Perspective of an Historian", Appendix to: Gunnar Heinsohn/Otto Steiger: "Witchcraft, Population Catastrophe and Economic Crisis in Renaissance Europe: An Alternative Macroeconomic Explanation.", University of Bremen 2004 (download); also see John M. Riddle: "Eve's Herbs: A History of Contraception and Abortion in the West", Princeton: Harvard University Press 1999, ISBN 0674270266, esp. Chapters 5-7
  38. Diane Purkiss, "A Holocaust of one's own," 8
  39. Diane Purkis, "A Holocaust of one's own," 8
  40. Klaits, Joseph — Servants of Satan: The Age of the Witch Hunts (1985) p.68
  41. Arthur Miller, 'Why I Wrote "The Crucible"', New Yorker, October 21 & October 28, 1996, p.158.

Further reading

  • Behringer, Wolfgang. Witches and Witch Hunts: A Global History. Malden Massachusetts: Polity Press, 2004.
  • Briggs, Robin. 'Many reasons why': witchcraft and the problem of multiple explanation, in Witchcraft in Early Modern Europe. Studies in Culture and Belief, ed. Jonathan Barry, Marianne Hester, and Gareth Roberts, Cambridge University Press, 1996.
  • Cohn, Norman. Europe's Inner Demons: The Demonization of Christians in Medieval Christendom, Revised Edition. Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, 1993.
  • Klaits, Joseph. Servants of Satan: The Age of the Witch Hunts. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1985
  • Levack, Brian P. The Great Scottish Witch Hunt of 1661-1662, The Journal of British Studies, Vol.20, No, 1. (Autumn, 1980), pp. 90-108.
  • Levack, Brian P. The witch hunt in early modern Europe, Third Edition. London and New York: Longman, 2006.
  • Macfarlane, Alan. Witchcraft in Tudor and Stuart England: A regional and Comparative Study. New York and Evanston: Harper & Row Publishers, 1970.
  • Midlefort, Erick H.C. Witch Hunting in Southeastern Germany 1562-1684: The Social and Intellectual Foundation. California: Stanford University Press, 1972. ISBN 0804708053
  • Oberman, H. A., J. D. Tracy, Thomas A. Brady (eds.), Handbook of European History, 1400-1600: Visions, Programs, Outcomes (1995) ISBN 9004097619
  • Oldridge, Darren (ed.), The Witchcraft Reader (2002) ISBN 0415214920
  • Poole, Robert. The Lancashire Witches: Histories and Stories (2002) ISBN 0719062047
  • Purkiss, Diane. "A Holocaust of One's Own: The Myth of the Burning Times." Chapter in The Witch and History: Early Modern and Twentieth Century Representatives New York, NY: Routledge, 1996, pp. 7-29.
  • Robisheaux, Thomas. "The Last Witch of Langenburg: Murder in a German Village." (2009) ISBN 9780393065510
  • Sagan, Carl. The Demon-Haunted World, Random House, 1996. ISBN 039453512X
  • Thurston, Robert. The Witch Hunts: A History of the Witch Persecutions in Europe and North America. Pearson/Longman, 2007.
  • Purkiss, Diane. The Bottom of the Garden, Dark History of Fairies, Hobgoblins, and Other Troublesome Things. Chapter 3 Brith and Death: Fairies in Scottish Witch-trials New York, NY: New York University Press, 2000, pp. 85-115.
  • West, Robert H. Reginald Scot and Renaissance Writings. Boston: Twayne Publishers,1984.
  • Briggs, K.M. Pale Hecate’s Team, an Examination of the Beliefs on Witchcraft and Magic among Shakespeare’s Contemporaries and His Immediate Successors. New York: The Humanities Press, 1962.

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