"In Papua New Guinea (which was fully 'opened' to the outside world only in the late 19th century), the tradition of witch hunting has not simply persisted in the face of Western intervention—it has become much worse. The ritual is warping, the violence is metastasizing." [cw: graphic content] [more inside]
Everyone old enough remembers the moral panic during the 1980s surrounding Satanic Child Abuse--a memory refreshed most recently by HBOs hit, True Detective. The most famous case, of course, was the McMartin Preschool trial, which exemplified the panic surrounding satanic child abuse in day cares. As time passed, many felt that the allegations of abuse constituted a modern day witch-hunt. However, scholar Ross Cheit's new work (“The Witch-Hunt Narrative: Politics, Psychology, and the Sexual Abuse of Children,”) dispels many of the myths surrounding the events which still loom large in the American memory. [more inside]
30 years later, Neil Peart breathlessly recounts, track by track, the making of Rush's seminal album Moving Pictures.
In 1955, at least twelve men in Boise, Idaho were arrested for "infamous crimes against nature.". In the resulting dragnet, the vice president of the Idaho First National Bank was sentenced to seven years in prison, while national magazines fomented a McCarthyite Lavender Scare with headlines such as Male Pervert Ring Seduces 1,000 Boys. This dark chapter in Idaho gay history was documented in both John Gerassi's 1966 book, The Boys of Boise and the recent film, The Fall of '55, by documentarian Seth Randal, but neither Gerassi nor Randal could identify The Queen, a closeted but politically connected homosexual who allegedly used his massive clout to stop the witch hunt.
Men, it has been well said, think in herds; it will be seen that they go mad in herds, while they only recover their senses slowly, and one by one
Extraordinary Popular Delusions And The Madness Of Crowds, Charles McKay's 1841 classic work on mass hysteria and national crazes, still surprisingly readable and engaging. Among the classic examples in McKay's book are the South Sea Bubble, one of the earliest and largest financial bubbles, and the witch hunts of Europe (related: try the 1628 Witch Hunt simulation). Most people remember him best for his history of Tulipmania, the Dutch flower-speculation explosion of 1647 and 1648... except that it may not have been a delusion at all, but rather a rational response to changes in regulation.
You dangle in agony. You clutch your faith. You fight for breath. You surrender your spirit. Nineteen “witches” were hanged at Gallows Hill in 1692, and one defendant, Giles Cory, was tortured to death for refusing to enter a plea at his trial. Five others, including an infant, died in prison.