Witch trials are amongst some of the cruelest events in European history. Thousands of innocent women were murdered by fake accusations. In England, one of the most famous trials took place in 1612, during the reign of King James (1566 – 1625).
When driven by fear of the unknown, some people have always reacted with irrational and cruel actions. Witches were viewed as dangerous creatures to closed-minded people who identified them with evil spirits. Although they never tried to convert the whole world to one religion, witches were seen as a danger to religious doctrines.
Witchcraft was viewed as fascinating but scary during the reign of the Tudors. When Elizabeth I ruled, witches were punished very harshly. However, one of the most famous English witch trials took place a few years after her death, when the crown was in the hands of King James. The trial is famous not only for what happened, but also because of the thorough descriptions by Thomas Potts. Potts documented the confessions and details of the event. He published that information in “The Wonderfull Discoverie of Witches in the Countie of Lancaster”.
Title page of the original edition of “The Wonderfull Discoverie of Witches in the Countie of Lancaster,” published in 1613. (Public Domain)
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