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  • ParusMajor

    Little known trivia: Jyrki Virtanen, the co-founder of the Finnish Goth band “Two Witches” actually changed his last name to Witch. So, he’s OFFICIALLY Jyrki Witch now. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Two_Witches

    • Sydney K

      The Salem Witch Trials are always one of my favorite topics to read about. Great article.

  • 5minutes

    I’m pretty sure my friend’s ex-wife is one…

    • ParusMajor

      My ex-girlfriend, too,possibly… 😀

  • Dr. Matthew D. Zarzeczny, FINS

    I like how Youtube has the Anne de Chantraine videos in multiple languages. I find French the most appropriate given her name: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=evrb76LtNpg

  • Nicholas Fill

    Very interesting to see that Joan of Arc was considered a witch by her enemies. I dont think that many people realize that.

  • Gene Claridge

    Interesting article Dr. Z.! As for the Salem Witch Trials, there have been several ideas as to why this event escalated the way it did. One theory is that the neighbors took advantage of the situation to get even with their enemies. Do you think that this is plausible?

    Source:
    Davidson, James West., and Mark H. Lytle. “Chapter 2: The Visible and Invisible Worlds of Salem.” After the Fact: The Art of Historical Detection, Volume I. New York: McGraw-Hill. Print.

    – Gene C.

    • Dr. Matthew D. Zarzeczny, FINS

      Dear Gene,

      Thanks and yes, that argument is certainly possible. Kudos for reading After the Fact! We read that in graduate school! 🙂

      A TV show called Truth or Scare had an episode on witches that contained a nice and easy to follow summary of the Salem Witch Trials. You can also get an even briefer summary at http://www.history.com/videos/salem-witch-trials

      Best,

      Matthew

  • Mgiaimo

    The Salem witch trials gets me so mad. I saw the movie the Crucible and it was women sabotaging each other by putting on really good acting skills. I feel like the puritans were so caught up in living pure lives, that they weren’t aware of the impure things they did. The whole series of events were just crazy to me.

  • NatalieWetzel

    The “witch” that caught my attention first was #5 Joan of Arc. I never knew the full story of why she was burned at the stake and convicted of heresy. For an iconic war hero, it all seems unfair and far fetched to have someone burned simply because they claimed to hear voices from saints, people considered to be holy and pure.

  • Kenny Janz

    Its Crazy how many people were executed, based soley off the testimony of young girls In Salem

  • Yev Khmel

    All interesting indeed but the one that truly startled me was Walpurga Hausmännin. Its so crazy how someone could talk to the devil and do all unusual crimes and ideas. No wonder her torture was unusual ha. As for my answer as to who was the last european witch, I’d say it was Anna Goldi since i feel her reason was more evidential and easier to say she was the witch out of all of them. I definitely didn’t think it was Ceynowa, just for the stupid fact of finding out if she was a witch by seeing if she would drown or stay afloat and then be killed.

  • Christina M.

    This article made me realize how much we are surrounded by “witches” through history all the way up to current media. It’s also crazy how Agnes had a Satanic cat had somehow “existed” and her own daughter testified against her in order to save herself.

  • Tyler Takacs

    This article is very interesting to say the least. Its really almost mind blowing to believe that the accusations and beliefs of witchcraft can jump from Greek Mythology all the way to current day. Its humorous to see such a popular political voice as herself, Christine O’Donnell be mocked and condemned for such a minor statement. Why any person or politician at that extent, would come out and say something like that just really makes people wonder what is really going on in their free time. Luckily for O’Donnell, were not living in the 1400’s, so she didn’t have to worry about the mob with torches and pitchforks, but rather the voiced opinions of the US population, which as of today, i couldn’t really tell you whats worse.

  • David Verney

    How about the Lancashire Pendle Hill witches. Surely, they deserve a mention here too.

    This was a really interesting read

    • Dr. Matthew D. Zarzeczny, FINS

      Dear Mr. Verney,

      Thanks I am glad you enjoyed the list! For anyone unfamiliar with the alleged witches he suggested, please see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pendle_witches as they are indeed quite well-known among alleged English witches.

      Sincerely,

      Matthew

  • Tom White

    Is it just me or does that first witch look like Sarah Palin?

  • Pratik Wagle

    Very interesting article, I am amazed by the stupidity of humanity every time I read about people being accused of witches, the thought of all of those lives ruined and people murdered in such cruel ways is truly sad. While many may think religious fervor is to blame for such acts, the problem is much deeper, the problem is the problem of humanity in general… We tend to use scapegoats in order to solve our “problems” temporarily and never examine the true issue, us. For if it was not religion, there would have been another form of witch hunt, the Red Scare led by Joseph McCarthy was a form of a witch hunt very reminiscent of the Salem Witch Trials, except with no religion involved.

  • Dani Dolezal

    This was a really interesting article to read because the concept of witches has always fascinated me. We just recently covered the Salem Witch Trials in my American Christianity course, and I learned a lot more about the trials. It is crazy to think that witch hunting in Europe spread all the way to the colonies and culminated in a shameful part of American history. In particular, I was really shocked to learn about the Malleus Maleficarum. It is hard to believe that there was actually a guide to hunting witches that circulated throughout Europe and the colonies.

    • Tom White

      It isn’t really a part of American history per se; it happened before the USA existed. It was just the mentality of the times, before principles for individual freedom and limited government were developed (partly out of the struggle between Protestants and Catholics.) What principle should determine whether some act or group should be outlawed and discriminated against? Back then it just seemed to be whatever some king with his supposed divine right felt like, and even today we discriminate against people not on basis that they agress against others but because we deem the action indecent or whatever, such as homosexuals.

  • Angela Franks

    Witches be crazy. I didn’t realize how many people there are out there that participate in witchcraft. As a like a lot of the other readers, I also didn’t know that about Joan of arc. This was a very interesting article, I’ll have to keep my eye out!

    • Dr. Matthew D. Zarzeczny, FINS

      Dear Angela,

      I am happy you liked it!

      Have a wonderful weekend!

      Matthew

  • Clifford Vickery

    This is a topic that always blew my mind. It just goes to show how dumb people can be. Im am not very religious so Wicca seems no different to me than anyone elses religeous beliefs(whatever gets you by.).When i read accounts as such i cant help but think whoes is more deserving of death?Those who practice a non traditional belief system. Or the psychopaths who can beat a person to death with a boat or or stand around a burning body.
    On a side note, Your a day late and a dollar short parliament. Anna Goldi could have used that exoneration a bit sooner.

    • Dennis Smith

      Clifford, you have shown yourself to be a great intellectual and speller but how do you beat somebody to death with a boat?

  • Emily Kaiser

    I find Joan of Arc to be the most interesting–the accusation that she was a witch truly highlights the insanity that swallows the whole ordeal. Just because she won a battle, she is a witch? With no possibility of actual military skills? Finger-pointing characterized all of the witch accusations throughout history, and this scenario is no different: someone did not like her, so she suddenly became a witch and had to be burned at the stake.

  • Tyler Cates

    I think that Joan of arc is the most interesting. I learned about her in my high school French class and really found he story to be interesting. She was the leader of an army that won several battles and then all of a sudden she was accused of being a witch and then burned.

  • Melissa Smith

    I think that the Salem Witch Trials are the most interesting. One of the things I find interesting about it is that it does show that witch hunts were not just happening in Europe. Also, it is so fascinating that just 3 people can bring about so many allegations of others being witches. It caused a lot of deaths and a lot of pain for many people.

  • T Goff

    I find the Salem Witch Trials the most fascinating. In 2005 I went to Salem for Halloween. I actually got to meet Ms. Cabot as well. Anyways, the fact that caught my attention that seems different to me was the fact that in Salem, once the village’s ruling body realized they could profit through the trials, they allowed it to keep going on. Most of the women that were hung, coincidentally, were typically single and owned property. Since the court system would charge the accused witches unbelievable amounts of money for their “unbiased” court hearing, the accused didn’t have the money to pay it, so the courts gladly accepted their properties as payment. Not until this caught the eyes of higher officials did this hysteria stop. Not only is it sad those 20 people paid their lives, but I also got to see the jail cells that held the accused, which were horrid. I have heard that 5 people died in jail, however, on one of our tours, they believed it to be more because so many had diseases when they were released that their deaths were accounted for the diseases and not while they were in jail. There was even a child that died in jail.

  • Kia Tyler

    By far I think Joan of Arc was the most interesting. First of all she was a women solider and leader. She had a large victory in the 100 years war which lead to England not being able to rule France. She claimed she could her the voices of saints who persuaded the French king to give her an army to relieve a siege at a major strategic location. She succeeded and that set in motion the official coronation of Charles VII as King of France. Later in her life though she was captured by Burgundians and burned at the stake for being a “witch.” Joan of Arc was a great women figure and I find her fascinating.

  • Hannah Brown

    My favorite witches out of the list were the salem witches because they were very popular and the trails were as well. Also, I found it interesting in class how you discussed the amount of people tortured, jailed, or killed just under suspicion. Especially due to the wheat and damp season creating muscle spasms and etc, the same effects they believed a witch would do. Since this was why so many people were accused, it shows the absurdity of the time. These little girls who took after their maid most likely were using it as a game, and were not actually witches. This is why I find it most interesting among the witches listed.

    H.B.

  • Dennis

    I’ve been trying to find out if they ever hanged Samantha. Does anyone know? Was it televised?

  • Kaitlyn Hummel

    Like Hannah, I think the Salem witch trials are the most interesting. No one really knows why they happened. Some think it was a game, some think it was a prank, and others think it happened because of a drug possibly in the wheat that summer because of the weather conditions. None-the-less, things got way out of control and many innocent people ended up dying. I also find it interesting that after the trials were over, a few years later many people confessed to false testimony during the trials. I think it’d be interesting to know what happened to the girls after the trials.

  • Amber Johnson

    I enjoyed the salem witch trials was interesting. I dont think I ever payed close attention to the story. I first thought it was all a joke but then I became to really enjoy the information of what really happened to the girls!

  • ALH

    I thought the the witch that owned her own shop that sold all of the spices and spell-casting materials was the most interesting because she told us how the witches were not really the satan-worshipping people they were portrayed to be for so long. I felt like i learned more on the topic with her speaking.

  • Anna I.

    The Salem witch trials were most interesting to me because it is part of American history. I remember visiting the village when I was young and found it to be quite exciting but spooky. Like others have already had mentioned, the fact that the whole origin of this matter is not 100% fact adds to my interest. As a young woman it also crosses my mind of how fearful I would of been to live at this time. So many woman were being wrongfully harassed and eventually killed. It is also ironic to me that such a religious Community as the Puritans who had been harmed in England then came to America and did harm to others under horrible unjust circumstances. The video mentioned that some of the testimonies were so ridiculous that all a person had to say is that a woman harmed them in their dreams.

  • Molly C

    I find it very interesting that a lot of the different cultures and area’s around Europe had different definitions of witches and what they thought they were capable of. Also how interesting that some of these “witches” were exonerated century’s after they were already dead.

    • Molly C

      Anna Goldi from Switzerland is the one I found most interesting..

  • Cameron Macklin

    Walpurga Hausmännin is the one that interested me. It was messed up how the people just took her apart like that. Like what was the point? Were they doing this for there pleasure?

  • Lukas Jachno

    I found most interesting part about Joan of Arc.
    I knew about her as a saint and a warrior but what I had no
    Idea that she was also connected and at the end killed because
    of suspicion that she is a witch.

  • ChezzaAU

    Let’s not be sexist here, surely there was the occasional warlock burned too?

  • ChezzaAU

    Speaking of sexist attitudes 🙂 I believe the real reason Joan of Arc was executed was not they believed her to be a witch, but more so because the powers that were in the 14th century were not ready for womens’ liberations. Here was a woman wearing mens’ clothes and fighting in a war. Not only that, she led the French army to victory. Oh God forbid (pardon the pun), we couldn’t have that could we? They couldn’t have a woman doing a man’s job 🙂 and not only that being highly successful at it:) At a time when the church and the political leaders were infamously corrupt (hasn’t changed much either in some instances), it was very convenient to trump up charges so as to ‘get rid of people’ and witchcraft and heresy was the flavor of the month.

  • Matthew Oswald

    Very Interesting article. I mainly enjoyed th excerpt on Joan of Arc. I never knew that she was essentially summoned to the trials herself.

  • Dennis Smith

    You left out Hillary Clinton.

  • Josh Dasch

    I’ve always thought the most interesting and thought provoking witch trial was that of Joan of Arc.

  • JV

    Definitely most interesting is the Salem Witch Trials.

  • Alex Guthrie

    The Witch Trials in Salem were always interesting to learn about, as well as the different perspectives that were given about them.

  • Anthony Christopher

    Never really knew Joan of Arc was thought to be one

  • Sydney Kotoch

    I have always been fascinated with the Salem Witch Trials, sad they aren’t #1

  • Nick Sword

    I think it is tremendously sad that most of these women simply became scapegoats for people who were experiencing some kind of fear from the world around them. Fear can do scary things, but the tortures they had to experience when they were often innocent of any crime, are hard to imagine.

  • Lauren Mangan

    It is so odd to me that anyone would accuse someone else of being a witch especially in more modern times. I am fascinated with the Salem Witch Trials however.

  • Sammi DiGeronimo

    The topic of witches has always interested me. Obviously I’ve heard of Joan of Arc being accused of being a witch and the Salem Witch Trials but I had no idea that modern people were actually being accused as well like Christine Therese O’Donnell.

  • William Drake

    I never knew that Joan of Arc was put to death for being a witch. Too bad her apparent contact with divinity led to her death.

    • Wadi

      I also did not know this! Very interesting!

  • Connor Lynch

    It is hard to accurately determine if these people were, in fact, “witches”. Most likely, common folk of the time merely adapted the idea of the witch in order to explain that which they did not yet understand. At the time, it was a lot easier to write someone off as evil or unholy than it was to take up an empirical, objective investigation. We know today that some of the behavior of these witches can be explained by science; during these ages of ignorance, “magic” and “witches” were just things which science did not yet understand.

  • John Liber

    I’ve mentioned in a previous comment that I love these sort of “top 10’s”

    I also can’t believe Joan of Arc (no. 5) was considered a which

  • Dan Hennessey

    It is shocking to me that before I took this class that Joan of Arc was burned for being a witch. I’ve heard of her before but just as a saint and war hero. I feel a little cheated from my history classes that left that out. I also found the Christine O’Donnell on this list as quite humorous.

  • Thomas Robinson

    I had no idea that the daughter of Agamemnon was connected to the goddess Hecate. No matter how many Greek myths you read, there are always more to read.

  • Alexa V

    I guess I didn’t realize how many people were actually accused of being witches in both Europe and the United States with the Salem Witch Trials. You’re only taught in grammar school and high school that the Salem Witch Trials are the only relevant instance of this.