Black magic

RACHEL BASS

World of Knowledge (Australia) - - Letters -

I en­joyed your ar­ti­cle ‘The Psy­chol­ogy of a Witch Hunt’ (Au­gust). How­ever, while this was about the well- doc­u­mented Salem witch tri­als, we should re­mem­ber that those vic­tims num­bered just 20. In west­ern Europe, over 200,000 peo­ple were tor­tured, hanged and drowned as a re­sult of witch­craft ac­cu­sa­tions from 1484 to 1750. Matthew Hop­kins was re­spon­si­ble for over 300 ex­e­cu­tions and fear gripped Bri­tain’s East Anglia for 14 months. He was paid to in­vent ac­cu­sa­tions, carry out tor­ture and ex­tract con­fes­sions from in­no­cent peo­ple. Hop­kins had 68 peo­ple put to death in Bury St Ed­munds alone, 19 hanged in Chelms­ford in a sin­gle day, and then set off for Nor­folk and Suf­folk. The vic­tims were over­whelm­ingly fe­male and poor. Let us not for­get those who died here. Salem may be fa­mous, but it was the tip of the ice­berg.

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