German Witches

streetsofsalem

It is very interesting to me that Germany was at the absolute center of the “witch craze” of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries and the creation of a commercial Halloween/witchcraft culture several centuries later.  No area experienced more witchcraft trials in the early modern era than the German-speaking lands of central Europe, and no country contributed more to the modern conception of Halloween than Germany.  It’s a very Salem-like connection between tragic history and contemporary consumerism.

The most credible estimates for the number of executions for witchcraft between 1450-1750 are in the range of 40,000 to 60,ooo people across Europe, with southern and central regions of Germany accounting for between 17,000 and 26,000 executions, as compared to between 5000-6000 executions for all of France, around 1000 executions for England and Wales, and a mere 50 estimated executions in Spain, where there was little religious diversity to fuel the fires.  The…

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