No, witch hunts weren’t all in Salem, and they didn’t occur in the Dark Ages.
It’s not unusual to hear the term “witch hunt” in politics, but it has no greater devotee than President Trump, who uses it when complaining about the Mueller investigation. How does this modern meaning — which has to do with supposedly unjust harassment of an individual — map onto the historical phenomena that the term derives from? Perhaps we do not do the original victims of witch hunts justice when we carelessly compare contemporary events to their experiences, which remain clouded by myths. Here are five of the most common.
Thanks to works like “Witch Hill (The Salem Martyr),” an 1869 painting by Thomas Satterwhite Noble, many Americans may think that New England was home to most of history’s witch trials. But Europe had many more.