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Witchhunters

Witchhunters

In 1484, Pope Innocent VIII (14321492) so deplored the spread of witchcraft in Germany that he issued the papal bull Summis Desiderantes Affectibus and authorized two trusted Dominican inquistors, Henrich Institoris (Kramer) (c. 14301505) and Jacob Sprenger (c. 14361495), to squelch the power of Satan in the Rhineland. In 1486, Sprenger and Kramer published their Malleus Maleficarum, "A Hammer for Witches," which quickly became the "bible," the official handbook, of professional witch hunters. Malleus Maleficarum strongly refuted all those who claimed that the works of demons exist only in troubled human minds. The Bible clearly told the account of how certain angels fell from heaven and sought to bewitch and seduce humans, and Sprenger and Kramer issued a strict warning that to believe otherwise was to believe contrary to the true faith. Therefore, any persons who consorted with demons and became witches must recant their evil ways or be put to death.

In his Witchcraft (1960), Charles Williams wrote that if one were to judge Malleus Maleficarum as an intellectual achievement, the work of Sprenger and Kramer is almost of the first order. While one might suspect a book that detailed horrible tortures to be administered to unfortunate men and women to be the efforts of half-mad, sexually obsessed individuals, Williams said that "there is no sign that they were particularly interested in sex. They were interested in the Catholic faith and its perpetuation, and they were, also and therefore, interested in the great effort which it seemed to them was then in existence to destroy and eradicate the Catholic faith."

Williams believed that Sprenger and Kramer proceeded with great care in the Malleus Maleficarum to examine the nature of witchcraft and to analyze the best methods of operating against its menace. The two devout Dominican priests took extreme measures to correct error, to instruct against ignorance, and to direct cautious action.

The judges of the great tribunals examined, tried, and tortured female witches at a ratio of 101, 1001, or 10,0001, depending upon the authority cited. Only in the Scandinavian countries were men accused of being witches and sorcerers at an equal or larger percentage than women.

Once an accused woman found herself in prison through the testimony of someone who had allegedly seen her evil powers at work, she might well be as good as dead. At the height of the witchcraft mania in the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries, an accusation was equivalent to guilt in the eyes of many judges. Sadly, a neighbor woman jealous of the "witch's" youth and beauty, a suitor angered by her rejection, or a relative who sought her inheritance, may have brought the accusation of witchcraft. And no lawyer would dare defend such an accused witch for fear that he would himself be accused of heresy if he pled her case too well.

The common justice of the Inquisition demanded that a witch should not be condemned to death unless she convict herself by her own confession. Therefore, the judges would order her torture to force her to confess so that she might be put to death. In a vicious and most perplexing paradox of justice, the learned men held that even though the accusation of nearly anyone was enough to land a woman in prison as a witchand if she got as far as prison she was thereby considered guiltyall the testimony counted for naught unless the witch confessed her guilt. No one, under common justice, could be put to death for witchcraft on the evidence of another's testimony. What is more, the witch must confess without torture by the court. Therefore, in order to fully comply with the law, the judges turned the accused witches over to the black-hooded torturers so they, themselves, would not be the ones torturing the accused. Once the witch had confessed, she was now eligible to be reconciled to the church, absolved of sin, and burned at the stake. Confession or not, of course, the accused witch found her way to the flaming pyres. The difference, in the eyes of Mother Church, was whether the woman went as guilty but penitent or guilty and impenitent.

Although recent scholarship has argued that the oft-cited figure of nine million innocent women and men condemned to torture and death for witchcraft durng the Inquisition should be lowered more reasonably to a maximum of 40,000, that number is still frighteningly representative of a ghastly miscarriage of justice toward human beings who were persecuted and killed in the name of religion.

Sometime in the 1550s, a highly respected doctor, Johann Weyer (Weir) (15151588), who believed in the power of Satan to deceive Earth's mortals, became a critic of the Inquisition and its claims that mere humans could really attain such supernatural powers as those which the tribunals ascribed to witches. Perhaps, he argued, Satan had tricked these unfortunate individuals into believing that they could work such magic in order to cause them to worship the dark forces, rather than God. In 1563, against strong opposition, Weyer published De praestigus daemonum in which he presented his arguments that while Satan sought always to ensnare human souls, the supernatural powers attributed to witches existed only in their minds and imaginations.

In 1583 Reginald Scot (15381599) wrote The Discovery of Witchcraft, which serves as a kind of answer or rebuttal to Sprenger's and Kramer's "Hammer for Witches." He said if witches were really as all-powerful and malignant as the Inquisitors claimed, why had they not enslaved or exterminated the human race long ago?

Unfortunately for many decades, the voices of Weyer and Scot were those of only a few sane men, desperately crying out in the wilderness of the incredible sexual mania that provided the fuel for the witchcraft persecutions. The reign of terror conducted by the witchhunters in Europe and Great Britain continued until the early part of the seventeenth century.


Delving Deeper

Lea, Henry Charles. The Inquisition of the Middle Ages. New York: Citadel Press, 1963.

O'Keefe, Daniel Lawrence. Stolen Lightning: The Social Theory of Magic. New York: Vintage Books, 1983.

Russell, Jeffrey Burton. Witchcraft in the Middle Ages. Ithaca, N.Y.: Cornell University Press, 1972.

Seligmann, Kurt. The History of Magic. New York: Pantheon Books, 1948.

Trevor-Roper, H. R. The European Witch-Craze. New York: Harper & Row, 1967.

Williams, Charles. Witchcraft. New York: Meridian Books, 1960.

Jean Bodin (c. 1529/301596)

Before he became obsessed with ridding the world of the evils of witchcraft, the brilliant Jean Bodin (Baudin or Bodinus) had been hailed as the Aristotle of the sixteenth century. When he was but a youth, Bodin was noticed by academics as rising young intellectual, and soon he was known throughout Europe as a formidable scholar of history, political theory, and the philosophy of law. Bodin became a celebrated jurisconsult and a leading member of the Parliament of Paris. In 1576, he wroteThe Six Books of the Republic, a work that remains studied in the twenty-first century. Bodin portrayed a kind of ideal society in which humankind was governed by natural laws, a moral code given through conscience and God. In general, Bodin idealized the potential of humankind as becoming steadily noble and less beastlike. Scholars ponder what became of the utopian politician when Bodin sat down to write Demonomanie des Sorciers and became one of the men most responsible for keeping the fires of the Inquisition burning brightly.

The Demonomanie was first published in Paris in 1581 and again in 1616, 20 years after Bodin's death, as Fleau des demons et des Sorciers. In the first and second volumes of this monumental work, Bodin offered his proofs that spirits communicate with humankind, and he itemized the various means by which the righteous might distinguish the good spirits from their evil counterparts. Those men and women who seek to enter pacts with Satan in order to achieve diabolical prophecy, the ability to fly through the air, and the power to shapeshift into animal forms are dealing with evil spirits. Bodin acknowledged that he was well aware of spells by which one might summon incubi or succubi for carnal pleasure.

The third volume details methods by which the work of sorcerers and witches might be destroyed, and the fourth volume lists the characteristics by which witches, shapeshifters, and other servants of Satan might be identified. The massive work concludes with a refutation of Johann Weyer (15151588), a medical doctor and author of De praestigiis daemonum (1563), who, Bodin determined was in grave danger of committing heresy by arguing that those men and women who claimed to be witches and shapeshifters were merely people with unsound minds.

Delving Deeper

Lea, Henry Charles. The Inquisition of the Middle Ages. New York: Citadel Press, 1963.

Netanyahu, B. The Origins of the Inquisition. New York: Random House, 1995.

Russell, Jeffrey Burton. Witchcraft in the Middle Ages. Ithaca, N.Y.: Cornell University Press, 1972.

Seligmann, Kurt. The History of Magic. New York: Pantheon Books, 1948.

Trevor-Roper, H. R. The European Witch-Craze. New York: Harper & Row, 1967.


Henri Boguet (15501619)

When he presided at witchcraft trials, Henri Boguet, an eminent judge of Saint-Claude in the Jura Mountains, was known for his cruelty, especially toward children. He had no doubt that Satan gifted witches with the ability to change shape into a variety of animal forms, especially the wolf, so that they might devour humans, and the cat, so they might better prowl by night. The craze of witch-hunting may have been first formulated by the clergy, but by 1600 such jurists as Boguet, Jean Bodin, and Pierre de Lancre had eagerly assumed the mantles of determined inquisitors.

In his book Discours des Sorciers (1610), Boguet recounted his official investigation of a family of werewolves and his observation of them while they were in prison in 1584. According to his testimony, the members of the Gandillon family walked on all fours and howled like wolves. Their eyes turned red and gleaming; their hair sprouted; their teeth became long and sharp; their fingernails turned horny and clawlike. In another case recounted in his book, Boguet told of eight-year-old Louise Maillat, who in the summer of 1598 was possessed by five demons, who identified themselves as Wolf, Cat, Dog, Jolly, and Griffon. In addition, the little girl was accused of shapeshifting into the form of a wolf.

Boguet devoted a chapter in his Discours des Sorciers to the carnal connection of demons with witches and sorcerers and expressed his conviction that the devil could become either a man or a woman to deceive people into his fold. Under his interrogations, Pierre and his son George, of the Gandillon family of werewolves, also confessed to having sexual liaisons with the devil. Boguet was also fascinated by the accounts that witches gave under torture concerning the festivals of the Black Sabbats and condemned them as mocking the high Christian festivals. In his records, Boguet noted that such Sabbats most often occurred on Thursday nights at the stroke of midnight and lasted until cock-crow. He also managed to wring confessions out of witches that they did, indeed, fly to such Sabbats astride sticks and brooms. He also got witches to confess that the Sabbats began always with the adoration of Satan, who appeared sometimes in the shape of a tall, dark man and at other times in the form of a goat.

The eminent jurisconsult, judge of the province of Burgundy and president of the Tribunal of St. Claude, was dreaded by all those who might one day find themselves standing before his judgment. He was fanatical, cruel, and implacable in his sessions of interrogation, and his Discours des Sorciers ran into 11 editions and became for a time the authoritative text for French bailiwicks. Boguet pronounced or ratified about 600 death sentences against witches. And while this learned man's wisdom was relied upon to determine the remarkable powers of witches and sorcerers, the level of his scientific acumen in other matters might be evaluated by his understanding that rotten sticks eventually turned into snakes.


Delving Deeper

Lea, Henry Charles. The Inquisition of the Middle Ages. New York: Citadel Press, 1963.

Russell, Jeffrey Burton. Witchcraft in the Middle Ages. Ithaca, N.Y.: Cornell University Press, 1972.

Seligmann, Kurt. The History of Magic. New York: Pantheon Books, 1948.

Trevor-Roper, H. R. The European Witch-Craze. New York: Harper & Row, 1967.


Matthew Hopkins (16??1647)

It was once suggested that Matthew Hopkins, the witch-finder general, had become infallible in his ability to track down witches because he himself had employed a bit of sorcery and managed to steal one of Satan's address books so that he might copy down the names of the devil's disciples. Although Hopkins served England in the self-appointed capacity of "witch-finder" for a period of only two years, his name remains synonymous with the overzealous persecution of those men and women suspected of witchcraft. From 1645 to 1647, Hopkins and his two eager assistants, John Sterne and Mary Phillips, scoured the counties of eastern England searching for those who had Satan's mark upon them.

Little is known of the early life of Hopkins until he appeared on the scene as one who received payment for finding witches on behalf of various villages whose townspeople suspected evidence of Satan's disciples in their community. He was the son of James Hopkins, a minister of Wenham in Suffolk, and there are records to indicate that he became an unsuccessful lawyer in Ipswich. After moving to Manningtree circa 1644, he apparently appointed himself to the position of a witch finder and added the title "general" for its prestige value. Records suggest that Hopkins may have owned or been shown associated with the Thorn Inn in the adjacent parish of Mistley, and it is here in the inn that he began holding his first witchcraft trials. With his knowledge of English law and his earnest belief in the power of witchcraft to work evil on the simple and unsuspecting Christian villagers, Hopkins undoubtedly felt that he had all the qualifications necessary to become a professional witch-hunter. It is known that both Hopkins and his assistant Stearne were Puritans, and those who knew them stated that they were men of deep religious convictions.

Hopkins seemed to have a general knowledge of some of the European literature on witchcraftenough, at least, to have become convinced that all witches received a familiar, an imp often disguised as a cat or some other animal, after they had signed a pact with Satan. Hopkins believed the familiar sustained itself by feeding upon the witch's blood, and if such an act of unholy nourishment could be observed, it would immediately prove the guilt of a suspected witch.

Because torture as an aid to interrogation was forbidden in England, Hopkins devised a system of watching, searching, and swimming to test those individuals who had been accused of practicing witchcraft. The suspect would be stripped naked, covered with a loose-fitting gown, and forced to sit on a chair in the middle of a bare room. Then witnesses would watch the accused witch for hours, day and night, for several days if necessary. All this time, the alleged witch must be kept awake, sitting on the stool, forbidden to lie down, so the witnesses could detect a familiar if it should creep up to feed on its host. If the accused should begin to slump forward in sleep, he or she was immediately pushed erect and walked around the room to force him or her to remain awake. Since this process would often be continued for days, the suspect's feet might become bloody and bruised from the walking. While such an exhaustive and cruel regimen might not technically have been considered torture, its brutal effects produced the same results from its hapless victims.

In The Discovery of Witches, a pamphlet Hopkins published in 1647, he wrote that on one occasion he and Stearne witnessed six imps attempting to sneak into the room where a witch was being watched. One was a whitish thing, not quite as large as a cat; another was something like a dog with sandy spots; and a third resembled a greyhound with long legs. It seemed the other three got away before the two witch-hunters got a good look at them. On this particular occasion, six townspeople whom Hopkins had gathered as volunteers in the watching part of the ordeal swore that they, too, had seen the imps approaching the witch, and their testimony was often used by Hopkins to silence those skeptics who might doubt the reality of demonic familiars.

The "swimming" part of Hopkins's three-part test was a foolproof method of determining the guilt or innocence of a witch. Hopkins would have the witches bound in a painful position with their right thumb to their left big toe and their left thumb to their right big toe, then he would order them thrown into a river or a deep pond. If the witches sunk and drowned, they were innocent. It was clear that they possessed no supernatural powers, after all. If they somehow managed to stay afloat, however, they were judged guilty of witchcraft and men with long poles would push them under the water until they drowned. Either guilty or innocent, of course, the accused witch was eliminated as a real or a potential emissary of Satan on Earth.

Hopkins died on August 12, 1647. John Stearne attempted to carry on in the witch finder's footsteps for about another year, but the witchcraft craze was dying out in England.


Delving Deeper

"Matthew HopkinsThe Witchfinder General." [Online] http://www.rci.rutgers.edu/~jup/witches/bunn/matthew_hopkins.html.

Notestein, Wallace. A History of Witchcraft in England. New York: Thomas Y. Crowell, 1968.

Seligmann, Kurt. The History of Magic. New York: Pantheon Books, 1948.

Trevor-Roper, H. R. The European Witch-Craze. New York: Harper & Row, 1967.

Pope Innocent III (1160 or 11611216)

Alarmed with the growing perceived influence of Satan in the Europe of the Middle Ages, Pope Innocent III actively began to chastise heretics as soon as he ascended to the papacy in 1198. The first burnings for heresy may have taken place in about the year 1000 in Ravenna, but the first actual recorded burning occurred at Orleans in 1022, followed by others at Monforte in 1028. Such executions for heresy by burning at the stake were sporadic and few until 1197 when Pedro II of Aragon (c. 11841213) ordered the burning of heretics who had relapsed in their promises to repent of their sins of doubt and questioning. In 1198, Pope Innocent declared such individuals as traitors against Christ and condemned them to death by burning.

In 1208, the Cathar sectalso known as the Albigensianshad become so popular among the people in Europe that Pope Innocent III considered them a greater threat to Christianity than the Islamic warriors who were pummeling the Christian knights on the Crusades. To satisfy his concern, he ordered the only crusade ever launched against fellow Christians by attacking the Cathars who resided in the Albi region of southern France.

In the opinion of Pope Innocent III and many of the church hierarchy, the Cathars were teaching the rudiments of witchcraft. Although the Cathars centered their faith in Christ, they perceived him as pure spirit that had descended from heaven on the instructions of the God of Good to liberate humankind from the world of matter. According to the Cathars, because Christ was pure spirit, he did not die on the cross and the teachings of the church were false. The Cathars rejected all the Catholic sacraments, and they taught that the God of the Old Testament was the lord of matter, the prince of this worldall terms which the Catholic Church reserved for Satan. Not only did the Cathars believe that the God revered as the Creator by the Church was really the devil, the Cathars instructed their followers that most of the patriarchs and prophets mentioned in the Old Testament were really demons.

The Cathars somehow managed to hold out against the armies massed against them until Montsegur, their final stronghold, fell in 1246. Hundreds of the remaining Cathars were burned at the stakemen, women, and childrenbut Innocent III did not live to see his triumph over the heretics, for he died in 1216. Before he died, however, Innocent III enacted a papal bull that allowed a judge to try a suspected witch or heretic even when there was no accuser and granted the judge the power to be both judge and prosecutor.

Delving Deeper

Lea, Henry Charles. The Inquisition of the Middle Ages. New York: Citadel Press, 1963.

Russell, Jeffrey Burton. Witchcraft in the Middle Ages. Ithaca, N.Y.: Cornell University Press, 1972.

Summers, Montague. The History of Witchcraft. New York: University Books, 1956.

Trevor-Roper, H. R. The European Witch-Craze. New York: Harper & Row, 1967.


Pierre de Lancre (15531631)

By his own boast, witch trial judge Pierre de Lancre tortured and burned more than 600 men and women accused of consorting with demons. In his books Tableau de l'Inconstance des mauvais Anges (1613) and L'Incredulite et Mescreance du Sortilege (1622), de Lancre defended the belief in demons, black magic, and witchcraft. In his considered opinion, even to deny the possibility of witchcraft was heresy, for God himself in the Holy Bible had condemned magicians and sorcerers. De Lancre, however, was not a member of the clergy, and his concerns were social, rather than theological. He believed that sorcerers and witches were a well-organized anti-social force that sought to overthrow the established order.

It was customary for the judges of the witchcraft trials to denounce Jews as heretics and sorcerers. De Lancre was no exception, once stating that God had withdrawn his grace and promises from the Jewish people. He claimed also to have it on great authority that many Jews were powerful magicians who had the ability to shapeshift into wolves by night.

De Lancre, as so many of the trial judges, became rather fixated on the details that the witches provided of their carnal encounters with demons. The more questions he asked about these sexual matters and the more torture the witches suffered, the more lurid the accounts became. De Lancre decided that Incubi and Succubi, those demonic seducers of men and women, had as their mission the infliction of a double injury to their victims, attacking them in both their body and their soul.

When men or women accused of being sorcerers protested that the devil had not picked them up and flown them anywhere, Judge de Lancre decreed that those sorcerers who walked to the Sabbats held in the forests were just as guilty as those who were carried to such sites by Satan. De Lancre warned his fellow members of the tribunals to be wary of toads, for they could likely be familiars of the witches. One witch whom he tried and who confessed at length, described a number of toads that had attended a Sabbat in the Basses-Pyrenees region dressed in black and scarlet velvet with little bells attached to their coats and trousers.

In 1609, the Parliament of Bordeaux sent de Lancre to Labourd in the Bayonne district to administer punishment to the sorcerers who had infested the region. In short order, de Lancre deduced that Satan deceived a number of Roman Catholic priests into administering Black Masses to the witches in the area. Two priests, an elderly man of 70 and a young man of 27, were executed almost immediately upon de Lancre's arrival. The horrified bishop of Bayonne arranged for his five clergy members accused of sorcery to escape prison. He also interfered with the judge's orders of imprisonment for three other priests and arranged for them to escape and flee the countryside.

When he was not sentencing men and women to their horrible deaths, de Lancre was known to his Christian contemporaries as a sensitive and talented writer of idyllic pastoral accounts of country living. When he at last retired to his country estate, he turned all of his attention to writing and the construction of chapels, fountains, and grottos to beautify his lavish grounds.

Delving Deeper

Lea, Henry Charles. The Inquisition of the Middle Ages. New York: Citadel Press, 1963.

Russell, Jeffrey Burton. Witchcraft in the Middle Ages. Ithaca, N.Y.: Cornell University Press, 1972.

Trevor-Roper, H. R. The European Witch-Craze. New York: Harper & Row, 1967.

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Hopkins, Matthew (d. 1647)

Hopkins, Matthew (d. 1647)

The infamous English "witchfinder" who, with his accomplices, persecuted, imprisoned, tortured, or killed hundreds of unfortunate individuals he believed to be involved in the horrors of witchcraft. Given the amount of damage he accomplished, it is difficult to realize he operated for only 14 months. The English philosopher and writer William Godwin commented:

"Nothing can place the credulity of the English nation on the subject of witchcraft in a more striking point of view, than the history of Matthew Hopkins, who, in a pamphlet published in 1647 in his own vindication, assumes to himself the surname of the Witchfinder. He fell by accident, in his native county of Suffolk, into contact with one or two reputed witches, and, being a man of an observing turn and an ingenious invention, struck out for himself a trade, which brought him such moderate returns as sufficed to maintain him, and at the same time gratified his ambition by making him a terror to many, and the object of admiration and gratitude to more, who felt themselves indebted to him for ridding them of secret and intestine enemies, against whom, as long as they proceeded in ways that left no footsteps behind, they felt they had no possibility of guarding themselves."

Hopkins began to operate as a witchfinder in March 1645. He had as a text King James I's book Demonology. After two or three successful experiments, Hopkins engaged in a regular tour of the counties of Norfolk, Suffolk, Essex, and Hunting-donshire. One of his confederates was a man named John Stern. They visited every town in their route that invited them and were paid 20 shillings and their expenses, as well as whatever they received from the spontaneous gratitude of those who deemed themselves indebted to Hopkins and his gang.

By this expedient they won a favorable reception and a set of credulous persons who would listen to their dictates as if they were oracles. They were able to play the game into one another's hands and were sufficiently strong to overcome all timid and irresolute opposition. In every town they visited they inquired for reputed witches. Having taken them into custody the witchfinders could be sure of a certain number of zealous abettors and obtained a clear stage for their experiments.

They subdued their victims with a certain air of authority, as if they had received a commission from heaven for the discovery of misdeeds. They assailed them with a multitude of artfully constructed questions. They stripped them naked in search of the "devil's marks" on different parts of their bodies, which they ascertained by running pins into those parts, saying that if they were genuine marks the "witches" would feel no pain.

They threw their victims into rivers and ponds, declaring that, if the persons accused were true witches, the water (which was the symbol of admission into the Christian Church) would not receive them.

If the persons examined remained obstinate, Hopkins and his men seated them in constrained and uncomfortable positions, occasionally binding them with cords, and compelled them to remain so without food or sleep for 24 hours. They walked the person up and down a room, one taking him or her under each arm, till the accused dropped down with fatigue. They carefully swept the room in which the experiment was made so that they might keep away spiders and flies, which were supposed to be devils or their imps in disguise.

The inquisition of Hopkins and his confederates culminated in 1646. So many persons had been committed to prison on suspicion of witchcraft that the government was compelled to take the affair in hand. The rural magistrates before whom Hopkins and his confederates brought their victims were obliged, willingly or unwillingly, to commit those accused for trial. To defend himself, Hopkins published and wrote The Discovery of Witches, which detailed the symptoms of witchery and the techniques to find them.

A commission was granted to the earl of Warwick and others to hold a session of jail delivery against them. Lord Warwick was, at the time, the most popular nobleman in England. Dr. Calamy, the most eminent divine of the period of the Commonwealth, was sent with him to see (according to Richard Baxter) that no fraud was committed or wrong done to the parties accused.

Warwick sat on the bench with the judges and participated in their deliberations. As a result of this inquisition, 16 persons were hanged at Yarmouth in Norfolk, 15 at Chelmsford, and 60 at various places in the county of Suffolk. Bulstrode Whitelocke in his Memorials of English Affairs (1649) writes of many witches being apprehended around Newcastle on information from a person he calls "the Witch-finder"very likely Hopkins. In 1652 and 1653 the same author spoke of women in Scotland who were put to incredible torture to extort from them confessions of witchcraft.

The fate of Hopkins was such as might be expected. The multitude were at first horrified at the monstrous charges that were advanced against him. But, after a time, they began to reflect and saw that they had acted with too much haste. The man who they at first hailed as a public benefactor they came to regard as a cunning impostor, dealing in cold blood for personal gain and the lure of short-lived fame. The multitude rose up against Hopkins and resolved to subject him to one of his own tests, which were detailed in his own book, The Discovery of Witches. They dragged him to a pond and threw him into the water as a witch. It seems he floated on the surface, as a witch ought to do. They then pursued him and drove him into obscurity and disgrace. Whether this story is true or not, Hopkins retired to Manningtree, Essex, in 1646 and died of tuberculosis within a year.

Sources:

Kittredge, George Lyman. Witchcraft in Old and New England. New York: Atheneum, 1972.

Robbins, Russell Hope. The Encyclopedia of Witchcraft and Demonology. New York: Crown Publishers, 1959.

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witch-hunt

witch-hunt • n. hist. a search for and subsequent persecution of a supposed witch. ∎ inf. a campaign directed against a person or group holding unorthodox or unpopular views. DERIVATIVES: witch-hunt·ing n.

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witch-hunt

witch-huntaccount, amount, count, fount, miscount, mount, no-account, surmount •headcount • viscount • paramount •tantamount •don't, won't, wont •anoint, appoint, conjoint, joint, outpoint, point, point-to-point •standpoint •cashpoint, flashpoint •checkpoint • endpoint • breakpoint •needlepoint • midpoint • pinpoint •vantage point • knifepoint •strongpoint • viewpoint • gunpoint •counterpoint • punt •affront, blunt, brunt, bunt, confront, cunt, front, Granth, grunt, hunt, mahant, runt, shunt, stunt, up-front •exeunt • manhunt • headhunt •witch-hunt • seafront • beachfront •shopfront •forefront, storefront •waterfront

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