Encyclopedia of Early Modern History Online

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Child witches in the early modern period were adolescents less than 18 years of age who were accused of consort with the Devil, for which the possible penalty was death (Witch; Witchcraft trial). Trials of “children of the Devil,” which had spread with the general wave of witch-burnings between 1580 and 1660, reached their height in the last third of the 17th and first half of the 18th centuries.

Children had always had a special status in the witchcraft belief, but traditionally this was as victims of magic and sorcery, i.e. as those “bewitched.” They only began to appear as witche…

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Bähr, Andreas, “Child-witch”, in: Encyclopedia of Early Modern History Online, Editors of the English edition: Graeme Dunphy, Andrew Gow. Original German Edition: Enzyklopädie der Neuzeit. Im Auftrag des Kulturwissenschaftlichen Instituts (Essen) und in Verbindung mit den Fachherausgebern herausgegeben von Friedrich Jaeger. Copyright © J.B. Metzlersche Verlagsbuchhandlung und Carl Ernst Poeschel Verlag GmbH 2005–2012. Consulted online on 25 July 2024 <http://dx.doi.org/10.1163/2352-0272_emho_SIM_022116>
First published online: 2015
First print edition: 20160907

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