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Witches and Hysteria. Hysteria. Hysteria Definition - Exaggerated or uncontrollable emotion or excitement, esp. among a group of people. Write down what you think can happen when hysteria gets out of control. Share your ideas with the person beside you.

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  • Hysteria Definition - Exaggerated or uncontrollable emotion or excitement, esp. among a group of people.
  • Write down what you think can happen when hysteria gets out of control.
  • Share your ideas with the person beside you.
  • Share your ideas with people near you and your partner
  • History is filled with forms of Hysteria. We have done a great job in demonizing groups, people, cultures, and ideas because we fear the unknown or we fear something that is truly different.
  • Reflect on
    • Vancouver Riots after Vancouver Canucks lost Stanely Cup (2011)
    • Opra Winfrey – beef hysteria
    • The way blacks were treated in North America (from as far back as 1700s to the present)
    • Jewish people in Germany from 1930s – 1945
    • Canadian Aboriginal treatment from 1700s to present
witches in 1600s
Witches in 1600s
  • Women who were deemed to be witches were hunted down and prosecuted.
  • Most women prosecuted were innocent of any crime. They were social “misfits” who were not married or “wise women”who were knowledgeable about medicinal plants and treatments for illness.
  • These women were wise, smart and intelligent women. They were able to cure people who were sick, they were able to understand science on a level that most were incapable of. Because they could do what many others didn’t understand, they were stigmatized with being a witch.
matthew hopkins
Matthew Hopkins
  • A bloodthirsty man was responsible for the deaths of more than 300 women - according to an old legend.
  • Nearly 350 years ago self-styled ‘Witchfinder General’Matthew Hopkins roamed the counties of eastern England preying on women.
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Matthew Hopkins
  • His reign of terror began in 1644 when he was employed by towns to seek out and destroy women believed to be witches.
  • Such has been the interest in Matthew Hopkins crimes that in 1968 Vincent Price starred in a horror film called The Witchfinder General.
matthew hopkins2
Matthew Hopkins
  • Hopkins was commissioned by Parliament to seek out and sentence those he thought guilty of witchcraft and rewarded a handsome sum of 20 shillings per witch.
  • Hopkins elevated his killings to an art form by examining his victims to obtain ‘proof’ that someone was actually a ‘witch’.
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Matthew Hopkins
  • His means of extracting a confession included torture which shed no blood. One of his methods was sleep deprivation.
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Matthew Hopkins
  • He was convinced witches had what he termed ‘familiars’ who were sent to do hellish work. These ‘familiars’ often took the form of everyday creatures and were said to suckle on the blood of the witch by way of an extra nipple hidden on their body.
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Matthew Hopkins
  • Hopkins and his assistants, John Stearne and Mary Philips, would strip a suspect and dress her in a loose shirt. She would be forced to sit on a stool in the middle of a room – sometimes for days and nights.
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Matthew Hopkins
  • At all times the suspect was watched to see if the familiar crawled out to feed on the witch.
  • To make sure she did not fall asleep the witchwas periodically walked in the outdoors without shoes.
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Matthew Hopkins
  • This sleep deprivation and walking often lasted many days and nights until the suspect’s feet were bloody and sore and their mind was losing stability.
  • After a few days and night of sleep deprivation, torture and humiliation, a large number of women confessed that they were witches.
  • These confessions were not true at all.
  • At this point death was more desirable than what Hopkins was doing to them.
matthew hopkins8
Matthew Hopkins
  • If Hopkins could not get a confessions he would then strip his suspects naked and tied them up – right thumb to left big toe and vice versa.
  • He then threw them into a stream. If they drowned they were declared innocent – if they stayed afloat they would be found guilty and sentenced to death.
matthew hopkins9
Matthew Hopkins
  • Confessing or being found guilty of witchcraft usually resulted in a death sentence.
  • Punishments were severe and horrific as the women were: dunked into water until they drowned, others were hung, some were burned at the stake while others were pressed to death (pressed between two doors loaded with weights).
matthew hopkins10
Matthew Hopkins
  • In 1647 Hopkins was forced to take one of his own tests. He was bound and thrown into a river, floated and was sentenced to death.
  • Was Matthew Hopkins right for what he did?