Grade Level at Time of Presentation

Junior

Institution

Murray State University

KY House District #

32

KY Senate District #

36

Department

Dept. of History

Abstract

Chloe Chaplin

Dr. Kathy Callahan, Faculty Mentor

Dept. of History

Witchcraft in Scotland

This research project centered around witchcraft in Scotland and England in Early Modern Europe (roughly late 15th century to mid 18th century). The witch hunts characterized Europe during this time; our research initially looked at how England and Scotland compared to the European continent in the frequency of witch hunts, victimhood, and the specific details of the hunt. Scotland and England differed in that Scotland resembled the witch hunts of the continent whereas England was less prone to witch hunts. England suffered less witch hunts because they had significantly less religious turmoil than countries on the continent. Since our research project focused on England and Scotland, we looked into forming a conclusion as to why England differed from Scotland on the frequency of witch hunts.

The primary targeting of women characterized the witch hunts in both Scotland and England, and, while this became more apparent when massive witch hunts would break loose in communities, there was a clear gender connection even in isolated cases. The stereotypes surrounding witchcraft were commonly associated with women, especially older, isolated members of a community, leaving these women vulnerable to accusations.

Often an accusation began between neighbors and once the accused was questioned the risk arose that they could name accomplices when confessing. Confessions were often coerced under torture that left the accused with no choice but to name others. If left to spiral out of control, these small cases turned into large witch hunts in the hands of church and local officials. Our research project looked closely at the documented witch trials throughout Scotland to look for consistencies and aimed to link individual cases that spiraled into large witch hunts to draw a conclusion about what types of accusations, victims, demographics, or officials were involved.

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Witchcraft in Scotland in Early Modern Europe

Chloe Chaplin

Dr. Kathy Callahan, Faculty Mentor

Dept. of History

Witchcraft in Scotland

This research project centered around witchcraft in Scotland and England in Early Modern Europe (roughly late 15th century to mid 18th century). The witch hunts characterized Europe during this time; our research initially looked at how England and Scotland compared to the European continent in the frequency of witch hunts, victimhood, and the specific details of the hunt. Scotland and England differed in that Scotland resembled the witch hunts of the continent whereas England was less prone to witch hunts. England suffered less witch hunts because they had significantly less religious turmoil than countries on the continent. Since our research project focused on England and Scotland, we looked into forming a conclusion as to why England differed from Scotland on the frequency of witch hunts.

The primary targeting of women characterized the witch hunts in both Scotland and England, and, while this became more apparent when massive witch hunts would break loose in communities, there was a clear gender connection even in isolated cases. The stereotypes surrounding witchcraft were commonly associated with women, especially older, isolated members of a community, leaving these women vulnerable to accusations.

Often an accusation began between neighbors and once the accused was questioned the risk arose that they could name accomplices when confessing. Confessions were often coerced under torture that left the accused with no choice but to name others. If left to spiral out of control, these small cases turned into large witch hunts in the hands of church and local officials. Our research project looked closely at the documented witch trials throughout Scotland to look for consistencies and aimed to link individual cases that spiraled into large witch hunts to draw a conclusion about what types of accusations, victims, demographics, or officials were involved.

 

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