Witch Hunts and Popular Culture


The textbook: Brian Levack, Witch-Hunting in Scotland: Law, Politics, and Religion (Routledge; 2008).
You don’t need the text book to answer questions , but just to give you an idea about witches
What do you picture when you think of a witch? Where do you suppose this idea comes from?
What do you think might have been the difference between a regular person and a witch, in early modern belief;
in other words, how did communities identify witches in their midst?
What kinds of powers do you think people attributed to witches? In other words, what could witches do?
Belief in witches and/or magical practice is a worldwide phenomenon, not exclusive to Europe or the early
modern period. Witch-hunting likewise has happened at different points in different places, but is not necessarily
a consequence of belief in witches. In other words, although witch belief is a prerequisite for witch-hunting to
take place, belief in witches and witchcraft does not necessarily result in the hunting or prosecution of suspected
witches. So why do you think the European witch-hunts might have taken place? What might have spurred
people to start accusing and executing their neighbours on suspicion of witchcraft during this period?
Why do you think people might have stopped hunting witches?



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