The Salem Witch Trials of 1692-1693 were by far the largest and most lethal outbreak of witchcraft hysteria in American history. Yet Salem was just one of many incidents during the Great Age of Witch Hunts which took place throughout Europe and her colonies over many centuries. Indeed, by European standards, Salem was not even a large outbreak. But what exactly were the factors that made Salem stand out?
"Witchcraft was not made a capital offence in Britain until 1563 although it was deemed heresy and was denounced as such by Pope Innocent VIII in 1484. From 1484 until around 1750 some 200,000 witches were tortured, burnt or hanged in Western Europe."
Witches are one of the most traditional as well as mysterious entities we associate with Halloween. When you think of a Witch, it’s easy to conjure up an image of an old, ugly, hook-nosed woman, stirring up a steaming potion that is brewing away inside a cauldron.