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If you're on this page, then either two things have happened; first, you're already a fan of the show and have come for new episodes, information, or to contact me. If so, welcome back! Scroll down to find episodes of the History of Witchcraft, or look to the top of the page for information to contact me.

The second reason you might be here is that you've stumbled across a link in a recommendation and are wondering what on earth this is all about. Simply put, this is the history podcast on all things magical, where we examine notable beliefs in witchcraft or the supernatural, and how these beliefs sometimes let to bloodshed. Fun stuff! If you want to know more, click 'About' at the top of the page!

May 23, 2017

The witch trials of the 16th and 17th centuries are, by far, the reason for many of the stereotypes of witchcraft. The belief in witch cults was rife throughout the educated classes of Christendom, and when combined with the desperate anger of starving peasants and townsfolk these beliefs spread fire and destruction on an unprecedented scale. This is the Century of Fire, when innumerable men, women, and children were burnt at the stake, bishops celebrated their newly-enforced orthodoxy, and executioners profited.

This episode will explain the background of these events, and covers what I have found to be the most convincing explanations for why these trials happened.


This episode primarily made use of the following texts, among others:

Constitutio Criminalis Carolina (1530)

Del Rio, Martin, Disquisitiones Magicae, (1599)

Weyer, Johann, De Praestigiis Daemonum (1563)

Spee, Friedrich, Cautio Criminalis (1531)

Remy, Nicholas, Demonolatry (1595)

Oldridge, Darren, (ed.) The Witchcraft Reader, London, 2002

Midelfort, H. C. Erik, Witch Hunting in South-Western Germany, 1972

Barry, Jonathan and Davies, Owen, Palgrave Advances in Witchcraft Historiography, 2007