MASSOLIT: Witchcraft and Witch-Trials, c. 1450-1750 – The End of Witchcraft? (6)

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In this module, we think about why which-trials came to an end by the end of the eighteenth century, focusing in particular on: (i) the witch-trials that took place in Salem, Massachusetts in 1692/3; (ii) the extent to which witchcraft prosecutions were starting to try up in Europe at this point, and the last executions for witchcraft in England (Alice Molland, 1685) and Scotland (Janet Horne, 1722); (iii) the importance of stricter evidentiary requirements for proving witchcraft, and the consequent reduction in convictions for witchcraft; (iv) the impact of declining convictions on the plausibility of witchcraft as whole, and the consequent reduction in prosecutions; (v) the repeal and/or reform of witchcraft legislation in this period; (vi) the continued belief in witches, magic and the supernatural to the present day; and (vii) the prevalence of belief in witches and witch-hunts today.


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