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Articles on Witch trials

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The ‘Malleus Maleficarum,’ a medieval handbook, was used to try and execute supposed witches. Its influence lasted for centuries – including at the Salem Witch Trials. Jonathan Wiggs/The Boston Globe via Getty Images

How do you spot a witch? This notorious 15th-century book gave instructions – and helped execute thousands of women

Witch trials relied on a medieval text called the “Malleus Maleficarum” – a book this reference librarian can hold in her hands.
Medieval Christians believed that heaven was a realm filled with dancing. Italian painter Fra Angelico’s ‘Last Judgment’ showing dancing angels. Fra Angelico's Last Judgment/Wikimedia

Why Christianity put away its dancing shoes – only to find them again centuries later

Despite opposition from the early church, dance was an integral part of Christian devotion for many centuries before falling out of favor.
An old Canadian law which outlaws magic fraud is about to be eliminated. This print by William Hogarth, ‘Credulity Superstition and Fanaticism,’ from 1762 epitomizes the Enlightenment view that witchcraft and religious fanaticism go hand in hand. William Hogarth/1762

Hello magic and witchcraft, goodbye Enlightenment

An antiquated Canadian law against magic and witchcraft is about to be repealed. A close look at its history reveals that it is far less superstitious than it appears.

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