Ugly History: Witch Hunts - Brian A. Pavlac
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Of course, issues of witchcraft are not mere past history. Many people today believe in witches, demons, and the Devil, although their beliefs rarely align with those of the time of the witch hunts, from the fifteenth to the eighteenth century. In some places in the world today, people are being persecuted as accused witches, although these actions are not quite defined as “hunts” since the government is not involved.
More information about how historians are trying to understand the problem of witch hunting can be found at this website. It includes some discussion about perceptions of historians and links to fairly reliable information on the web. Students can also find some links to primary sources, including translations of letters written by and for Rebecca Lemp, or even take an online simulation of a hunt. With the right choices, and luck, your character might survive! TED-Ed lessons on the Salem Witch Hunt and the Devil offer short overviews of a specific hunt and perspectives on how people have understood the Devil.
For a short, readable book on the Witch Hunts, try Brian A. Pavlac, Witch Hunts in the Western World: Persecution and Punishment from the Inquisition through the Salem Witch Trials Greenwood 2009 or Bison Books 2010.
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