Thursday, April 21, 2011

Modern Day Witch-hunts: Spreading the Word

In the last post I touched on how little information there is out there on these atrocities going on in this day and age. I probably run the risk of sounding like a broken record but the majority of the world’s population just doesn’t believe that this is a problem or that it’s even happening. Through this whole series I went around to some of my friends and mentioned a few words and told them to tell me the first things that came to their minds. The first phrase was “witch-hunts.” Most immediately said the Salem Witch trials, a couple said the French Witch trials and one brought up McCarthy and communism. Still that gives you an idea of what people think of when they hear these words.

The fact of the matter is this is something that is not just limited to the past; it is something that is happening more and more around the word and the media just isn’t covering it. Now I had mentioned before that I had only found a few articles that even mentioned the witch-hunts and the ones that did had extreme biases. Well I found this one great article that was written in 2006 by a woman named Phebe A. Durand.

Durand’s article is titled appropriately “The Burning Times – A History of Persecution” in which she exposes many of the horrible acts that have happened in modern times. The first part of this article is brilliantly written so instead of trying to sum it up I’ll just quote it so nothing is lost. Durand writes:

The words burn into my eyes like gruesome headlines: 2 Women Killed By a Mob in Ghana. 1 burned alive at Verkhnesadovye. And, finally, a 55 year old woman doused with gasoline and set afire at Hammanskraael, South

Africa. These people, condemned as witches, were not persecuted in the 16th or 17th century. The "unknown" 55 year old woman was murdered on 19 July, 1996.

The 20th century death toll is as ridiculous as it is long. In November, 1925 a person was shot in Germany as a suspected werewolf. One was killed for sorcery in France, 1977. And between the years 1986 and 1996, over 300 people suspected of witchcraft were killed in South Africa. Not chilled to the bone yet? Listen closely to the last entry on the Witch Killings database: Tikambai Sahu, killed by a mob, Nagpur India, 27 June, 2000 (Durand 2006).

Couldn’t have said it any better, she really got at the heart of what is really going on. This is not something that is limited to the past; I can’t drill that home enough. These are real people not characters in a movie or a novel; real live people who are now dead.

Durand goes on to talk about the “Witch Killings Database” that she got this information from. The database is called “The Burning Times” and is a comprehensive list of almost every accused witch that was executed in our modern times. She points out that this list is not run by a pagan group but by a group of people who are “devoted to recording acts of inhumanity- in every religion” (Durand 2006).

This group of people released this statement about their list, “Some were guilty. Most were probably innocent and Christian. A few were "satanists", most were not. Some were just senile. Or too ugly. Or too pretty. Or just in the wrong place at the wrong time. At least one was subsequently made a Saint... We present this list as historical data... and as an object lesson in the ultimate results of intolerance, superstition, and hate-mongering” (Durand 2006).

Once again I couldn’t have said it any better myself. This just shows people’s need to accuse something/someone for their problems even if in reality they make no sense what so ever (like in the political cartoon above). This is the only article that I found (well besides those who like me who are participating in the 30 Days of Advocacy against Witch-hunts) that actually exposes these witch-hunts for what they are and strives to educate people about what is happening.


Phebe A. Durand. The Burning Times - a History of Persecution. Feb 8, 2006

Political Cartoon Courtesy of


Lilac Wolf (Angie or Angela) said...

Great post today.

carly said...

Great post, thanks. So few people realise that modern witch-hunts still occur. Innocent children are especially vulnerable in the Niger Delta of being blamed for societal problems and accused of witchcraft, facing abandonment, torture and even murder. To stop this abuse please sign the PACT

Anne said...

Great post! I don't think enough people realize this is still an issue.

Sam Curtin said...

Thanks guys! This is something that I feel very strongly about and is an issue that really needs to be addressed. Like Muse Mama said, not enough people realize this is STILL an issue!

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