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The history of Witches


Witch :
"Someone who causes harm to others by mystical means"
(Rodney Needman, anthropologist of religion, 1978)

Witchcraft :
1- "A generic term for all kinds of evil magic and sorcery, as perceived by contemporaries"
(Wolgang Bahringer, historian, 2004)
2- "Any person whouses magic [...]; the practitioner of a particular kind of naturebased Pagan religion; [...] a symbol of independant female authority and resistance to male domination"
(Ronald Hutton, 2017)


Witches are 80% women and come mainly from European countries. They are French, English, German, Italian or Spanish.
The most famous are :
- Witches of Triora, Italy,1587-1588
- Witches of Pendle, Scotland, 1590
- Witches of Samlesbury, England, 1612
- Witches of North Berwick, England, 1612
- Marie Navart, France, 1656
- Marguerite Tiste, Spanish Netherland, 1671
- Witches of Salem, USA, 1692
- Anna, Goldin, Swiss, 1782


Witches of Salem

The McCarthyism

SArah Good

Sarah Osborne


Samuel Sewall

Ann Putnam

Abigail Williams



Judge john hathorne

Sarah Osborne :

Sarah Osborne was born in 1943 in Watertown of Massachusetts. She later married a prominant man, Robert Prince, who was the brother-in-law and neighbor of Captaine John Putman. John Putman was the father of Robert Putman who were involved in the Salem Witch Trials and were partially responsible for the execution of those convicted of Witchcraft.

In 1692, Sarah Osborne became one of the first accused of witchcraft, when Betty Parris became ill with an unknow sickness. Both girls claimed that Sarah Osborne, along with Sarah Good and Tituba, had been afflicting them.

The warrent for Sarah Osborne's arrest was written for March, 1692.

Examination and Mittimus of Sarah Osborne, as Reorded by John Hathorne :

Tituba :

Tituba was born

Tituba was part of a group of 3 women, with Sarah Good and Sarah Osborne, who were the first to be arrested, on february 29 of 1692, under the accusation that spectres were afflicting the young girles in Parris' household. The 3 women were questionned separately. Sarah Good was the first interrogated by the jugde John Hathorne. Tituba was interrogated last and was the only of the three women to offer a full and elaborate confession against herself and pointing the finger of blame at the other two women: "Sarah Good and Osbourne would have me hurt the children."

HALE: Abigail, it may be your cousin is dying—Did you call the Devil last night?

ABIGAIL: I never called him! Tituba called him!

PARRIS: She called the Devil!

HALE: I should like to speak with Tituba.

PARRIS: (Takes Ann to door, and returns as she goes out.) Goody Ann, will you bring her up ?

HALE: How did she call him ?

ABIGAIL: I know not—she spoke Barbados.

HALE: Did you feel any strangeness when she called him? A sudden cold wind, perhaps ? A trembling below the ground ?

ABIGAIL: I didn‘t see no Devil!—(To Betty, frantically.) Betty, wake up, Betty! Betty !

HALE: You cannot evade me, Abigail.—Did your cousin drink any of the brew in that kettle ?

ABIGAIL: She never drank it !

HALE: Did you drink it ?

ABIGAIL: No, sir!

HALE: Did Tituba ask you to drink it ?

ABIGAIL: She tried but I refused.

HALE: Why are you concealing ? Have you sold yourself to Lucifer ?

ABIGAIL: I never sold myself! I‘m a good girl—I—(Ann enters with Tituba.) I did drink of the kettle !—She made me do it! She made Betty do it !

TITUBA: Abby !

ABIGAIL: She makes me drink blood!

PARRIS: Blood !!

ANN: My baby‘s blood?

TITUBA: No—no, chicken blood, I give she chicken blood !

HALE: Woman, have you enlisted these children for the devil ?

TITUBA: No-no, sir, I don‘t truck with the devil.

HALE: Why can she not wake? Are you silencing this child ?

TITUBA: I love me Betty !

HALE: You have sent your spirit out upon this child, have you not ? Are you gathering souls for the Devil ?

ABIGAIL: She send her spirit on me in church, she make me laugh at prayer !

PARRIS: She have often laughed at prayer!

ABIGAIL: She comes to me every night to go and drink blood !

TITUBA: You beg me to conjure, Abby! She beg me make charm.

ABIGAIL: I‘ll tell you something. She comes to me while I sleep; she‘s always making me dream corruptions !

TITUBA: Abby!"

Extract of the book, Crucible, Arthur Miller, 1953

Sarah Good :

Sarah Good was born in the 21th July 1953, in the Salem village, Province of Massachusett. The father of Sarah, John Solart, was an innkeeper but he committed suicide in 1962. She was died in the 29th July 1692, aged of 39 year. The Sarah’s family was poor and they are demanded of help for the accommodation, the food and the clothes.

She was one of the first women to be accused of witchcraft just like Sarah Osborne and Tituba.

The 25 February 1992, Sarah Good, with Sarah Osborn and Tituba, was named by Abigail Williams and Elizabeth Parris for hunting them during two months. A warrant for the arrest was filed on February 29 by Thomas Putnam, Edward Putnam and Thomas Preston of the Village of Salem against Sarah Good.

Official warrant for the Apprehension of Sarah Good and Officer’s Return :

Ann Putman :

Ann Putman was born on October 18, 1879. She is the eldest of 9 children in the Putnam family. She is one of the main witnesses in the affair of the witches in Salem in 1692. She accused several people of being sick or of having practiced witchcraft.

" PARRIS: But, Thomas, you cannot…

PUTNAM: Ann! Tell Mister Parris what you have done.

ANN: Reverend Parris, I have laid seven babies unbaptized in the earth. Believe me, Sir, you never saw more hearty babies born. And yet, each would wither in my arms the very night of their birth. And now, this year, my Ruth, my only-I see her turning strange. A secret child she has become this year, and shrivels like a sucking mouth were pullin‘ on her life, too. And so I thought to send her to your Tituba

PARRIS: To Tituba! What may Tituba….?

ANN: Tituba knows how to speak to the dead, Mister Parris.

PARRIS: Goody Ann, it is a formidable sin to conjure up the dead!

ANN: I take it on my soul, but who else may surely tell us who murdered my babies.

PARRIS: Woman!

ANN: They were murdered, Mister Parris! And mark this proof!"

Extract of the book, Crucible, Arthur Miller, 1953

In 1706, Ann apologized for her participation inthe Salem Witch Trials. She died at the age of 37.

Abigail Williams :

Abigail Williams was born in 1681. She was an 11 or 12 years-old, along with 9 years-old Betty Parris, was among the first of the children to falsely their neighbors of witchcraft in 1692.

In early 1692, Abigail Williams was living with her realtive, Betty Parris' father, the village pastor Samuel Parris, along with his two slaves Tituba and John Indian.She accused Tituba, Sarah Good and Sarah Osborne of hurting acquired children.

Puritanism - 17th century New Englang

Strict rules of the community

Morals Values


,- Public shame

- humiliation
- death
- burnt
- drowned
- inprisonment

- No fashionable accessories

- No colorful clothes
- No dancing
- No pact with the devil
- No holiday celebration
- No adultery
- No witchcraft

- suit moral code

- concept of predestination
- forest = place of devil
- unbreakable marriage
- marriage is highly recommended

Current representation of Witches

Wiccan protection for witches


Description of witchcarft's symbols


Le sabbat des sorcières Goya- 1798

Saturno devorando a su hijo
Goya (1819-1823)

Le vol des sorcières Goya - 1797

The Lancashire Witches,
William Harrison Ainsworth
(1848 - 1849)

Les Trois Sorciers,
Johann Heinrich Füssli

The publication of “Malleus Maleficarum”, written by two well-respected German Dominicans in 1486, likely spurred witch mania to go viral.
The book, translated as “The Hammer of Witches,” was a guide on how to identify, hunt and interrogate witches.
"Malleus Maleficarum" labeled witchcraft as heresy, and quickly became the authority for Protestants and Catholics trying to flush out witches living among them. For more than 100 years, the book sold more copies of any other book in Europe except the Bible.

Witch hysteria really took hold in Europe during the mid-1400s, when many accused witches confessed, often under torture, to a variety of wicked behaviors. Within a century, witch hunts were common and most of the accused were executed by burning at the stake or hanging. Single women, widows and other women on the margins of society were especially targeted.
Between the years 1500 and 1660, up to 80,000 suspected witches were put to death in Europe. Around 80 percent of them were women thought to be in cahoots with the Devil and filled with lust. Germany had the highest witchcraft execution rate, while Ireland had the lowest.

Harry Potter

Written by J.K. Rowling

Read more


Cliff Richard - Devil Woman


Blood Blood Blood
No, not dead alive
Such, which poors, flows, bowls,
Such, which wouldn't kill, but create

in the heart, in the heart, in the heart
So that it would hear the Hertz
Intervals, semitones
Strength to give Newtones

Into the muscles, into the muscles, into the musles
And so they wake
And carry me further
Like invisible pedals

From night to night At night Every night
Not to close your eyes
Not to stop, not to stand
To live, to be and to fly !

My dead God was gringo
You don't know about my lingo
To live and fight is my Limbo
But in my soul the shining rainbow

Apash- Witch

Chilling Adventures of Sabrina | Straight to Hell

The phenomenon McCathyism

The modern witch hunt

What is McCarthysm ?

The context

00 The McCarthyism

In the United Sates, between 1930 and 1940, there was a small group of communists who supported the Soviet Union.

In the World War II, the USA and the URSS was allies against the Axes (Germany, Italy and Japan). But, at the end of the war, two powers are won: the USA and the URSS. So, a new war begins: it’s the Cold War.
So, after 1950, the communist is not acceptable in the USA by the high political. The politicians criticisms the oppression in the URSS, therefore the communist are rejected by the American society. J.Edgar of FBI, inspected politicians, journalists, business man, to know if they are communist. All people who don’t collaborate, was considered as a communist. Fear is therefore gradually sets in the American society.


The accusation

01 The McCarthyism

The communists are modern witches because they are persecuted. The victims come from various background: media, cinema and political. In addition, two very high people: Joseph McCarthy, a republican senator from Wisconsin and Richard Nixon. They are created of false proof for accused victims of McCarthyism phenomenon. House Un-American Activities Committee (HUAC) is a committee of the U.S. House of Representatives, established in 1938 under Martin Dies as chairman, that conducted investigations into alleged communist activities. Those investigated included many artists and entertainers. The committee's anti-communist investigations are often associated with McCarthyism, although Joseph McCarthy had no direct involvement with the House committee.


The Hollywood Ten

02 The McCarthyism

The Hollywood Ten are 10 people of the cinema in Hollywood who are been blacklisted to be considered as communists. The 10 were Alvah Bessie, Herbert Biberman, Lester Cole, Edward Dmytryk, Ring Lardner, John Howard Lawson, Albert Maltz, Samuel Ornitz, Adrian Scott, and Dalton Trumbo.


Lester Cole (Hollywood Ten)

03 The McCarthyism

Lester Cole was a American screenwriter born in 1904. Lester Cole began his career as an actor but soon turned to screenwriting. He joined with John Howard Lawson and Samuel Ornitz to establish the Writers Guild of America, and in 1934 joined the American communist party. Cole was one of the Hollywood Ten. It’s a group of screenwriters and directors.

In 1947, he became one of the Hollywood Ten, who refused to collaborate with the government about their Communist Party membership. Cole was convicted of Contempt of Congress, fined $1,000 and sentenced to twelve months' confinement at the Federal Correctionnel institutions at Danbury, Connecticut, of which he served ten months.

The Modern Witches Hunt in Africa

Cameroon, Africa, 2010-2020

Several African states, including Cameroon, have reestablished witchcraft-accusations in courts after their independence. From Cameroon, Robert Brain and Peter Geschiere delivered ethnographic accounts on a child-witchcraft scare that tended to remain largely peacefully. After confessions, the accused or self-accused children were rewarded with large amounts of meat to induce a purifying vomiting. In addition, witch doctors have been used as expert witnesses in trials, according to a 1998 study.


In 2014, in Cameroon, a 16 year-old girl was killed. Rumors indicate that she was accused of practicing witchcraft. So, a person assassinated her.

Violence continues to increase against supposed witches.


citizens are unhappy with the accusations against them, so they come forward


Cameroonian President Paul Biya urged citizens to use witchcraft against Boko Haram, the Islamic State-affiliated militants who have terrorized West Africa for years.

To fight against terrorism, Cameroon has tried everything: knives, firearms, bombs, grenades but it is a failure. So they allowed citizens to cast curses in 2017 despite the fact that witchcraft is forbidden in the laws of the country.


Insight TWI's Sorious Samura investigates witch trials in the Central African Republic for Al Jazeera English (2009).

Directed by Danny Bogado.

Central African Republic, Africa, 2009

The Modern Witches Hunt in Africa