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Witchcraft in England in the 1600s

Neo-Pagans often use the phrase “the burning times” but most have no firm grasp on the history of Witchcraft prosecutions (which stretch back into Pagan Roman times at least) or modern occult history. This is largely due to the surprising resistance of the modern Neo-pagan community to allowing themselves to be exposed to academic, historically accurate materials regarding their new found faith. This is one of the key differences between the “old school” of Wicca and Neo-Paganism and today’s Hot Topic Pagans.

Le Loup, a historical re-enactor who runs the excellent blog A Woodsrunner’s Diary, posted this video at the blog for the Armidale New England Colonial Living History Group (1680-1760). It is an excellent overview of one of the most infamous Witch hunters in history, Matthew Hopkins, and a excellent introduction to for young and new pagans to the history of Witchcraft prior to it being legalized. It features Cambridge Anthropologist Alan Macfarlane who made a career studying Witchcraft belief.

Part I:

Part II:

An interesting end to the Hopkins story is his death by “consumption” which most people nowadays take to be tuberculosis but is known by practitioners to also describe the wasting away of victims of curses.

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