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What Triggered The Witch Craze?

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Joseph Bohannon
Dr. Wirts
History 4342
January 28 2017
What triggered the witch craze? Most historians agree that the witch craze began in the 15th century, during the early modern period. However, many factors that contributed to the witch craze had been brewing for several centuries prior, in as early as the 12th century we see the persecution of heresy by the Medieval Inquisition, which is basically a large-scale model of religious groups suppressing and killing anyone who does not agree with them, or speaks out against them. This similar type of rational is seen happening in Colonial America: men, women, and children who were educated, and spoke out against the social norms were labeled as witches and targets of hate crimes.
The
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Word of mouth was their most effective way of sharing information until the printing press was created, this invention revolutionized how information could be shared throughout the world, books were able to be mass reproduced and able to reach places that word of mouth may not have able to, but as is the case with most good things, evil people can use good things for bad. Large amounts of books were published that outlined the existence of witchcraft, stating that they were demonic influences involved, and offering ways for people to deal with it, as well as many embellishments. Some such publications were the Fomicarius (NIDER), Flagellum Haereticorum Fascinariorum (JACQUIER), De Lamiss (MOLITORS), and The Hammer of the Witches (MALIFICARUM). Publications like these perpetuated the hysteria into what we know refer to the witch craze/ which trials.
The witch craze in Europe was at its height during 1560-1630, some of the most notorious trails that were held were: the Trier, Fulda, Basque, Wuzburg (mostly children were accused), and the Bamberg witch trials. In 1590 King James VI of Scotland got involved with the witch craze, he had developed such a fear that he would have nightmares of witches killing him. The King ordered that anyone suspected of witchcraft would be brought before the royal court. One such person that was suspected of being a witch was a nobleman named Francis Stewart who was the 5th Earl of Bothwell, who later fled the country fearing for his
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