A History of Witch-HuntsPlay
We have fun with witches. Tonight, for Halloween, hordes of little trick-or-treat witches will be ringing doorbells for candy. Harry Potter made Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry a bestselling playground of childhood imagination.
But human history is also a history of no-joke witch-hunting. Of outcasts and eccentrics and unlucky neighbors hounded down and dunked and burned and boiled.
From ancient Rome, to feudal Europe, to the Salem witch trials — and much more recently.
This hour, On Point: America’s top witchcraft historian on the dark history of witch-hunting.
You can join the conversation. Do you know how deep this story goes? Are we done obsessing with black magic and sorcery? Or still ready — one way or another — to hunt witches?Guests:
John Demos, professor of history at Yale University. His new book is "The Enemy Within: 2,000 Years of Witch-Hunting in the Western World." He is also the author of "Entertaining Satan: Witchcraft and the Culture of Early New England."
Read an excerpt from "The Enemy Within."
This program aired on October 31, 2008.