The European Witch-craze Revisited
An introduction by Geoffrey Parker on the European Witch-craze of the 16th and 17th centuries.
In the mid-eighteenth century, the French polymath, Voltaire, noted that the previous 200 years had witnessed a panic about witches in Europe that was only just abating. It seems to have affected the entire continent, with those convicted suffering death at the stake for their beliefs, often after severe torture and sometimes without due trial. Voltaire suggested that perhaps 100,000 persons had been executed for the crime of witchcraft