Witch-hunts, Old and New

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Progressives replace one set of superstitions with another.


uperstitions are most powerful when given legal force. So, when James VI of Scotland — later James I of England and Ireland — believed witches had conspired against his Danish bride and worked with the Devil to summon storms and sink royal ships, he helped fuel a craze. He even wrote a best-selling book on the subject, Demonology. Perhaps this helps explain why Scotland executed five times as many witches between the 16th and 18th centuries than any other European country.

Though the Witchcraft Act was repealed in 1736, last month, the Scottish parliament introduced new legislation to exonerate those killed …

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