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Witchcraft and Paganism Exhibit

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Title

Witchcraft and Paganism Exhibit

Subject

Witchcraft.

Description

Apart from folklore, fairy tales, and tribal witches, as well as the so-called "White Witch" (mostly a hybrid of New Age fantasies and play-acting), witchcraft refers to supposed Satanic practice. Throughout roughly the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, witches were persecuted in Europe primarily by the Catholic Inquisition, but later by others, and in America the worst abuses were the Salem, Massachusetts, witch trials of 1692-93. The delusions of witches that they can cast spells or fly is paralleled by the delusions of witch hunters that they can identify and exterminate "witches."
Shown here are picture postcards relating to the Salem craze -- one showing a broom-riding witch with her "familiar spirit" in the form of a black cat, the other depicting the historic Salem Witch House. Associated with the mania, the house is today part of a memorial to the victims of the 1692 witch trials.

(For more, see Nigel Cawthorne, "Witches: The History of a Persecution," Edison, NJ: Chartwell Books, 2004.)

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