European Witch Craze

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The European Witch Craze was a moral panic which swept the continent of Europe and extended into the Americas and elsewhere during the period between the 15th and 18th centuries. It included the search for heretics and monsters known as witches, manuals used to identify them, and means to exterminate or purify them from the community (including burning, hanging, and drowning).

The history of this period had undergone numerous revisions, even within academic contexts, and the term 'witch' is stigmatized and controversial due to its implications and modern usage (as self-identification in pursuit of 'pagan' religions).