Witches: A Century of Murder

Witches: A Century of Murder takes a look at the obsessive fear of witchcraft and satanism in the 16th and 17th century Europe.

During this time, hundreds of innocent people were burned on the stake and tortured – all of them presumed to be devil worshippers and witches.

We’ll join our presenter Dr. Suzannah Lipscomb as she investigates some of the darkest periods of European history.

Episode 1

Episode 1

Episode one details Suzannah’s investigations in Scotland and Denmark and the origins for the obsession of mass witch hunts and trials that swept the British Isles during the 17th century.

Here she uncovers the story of how, by the end of 1590, Scotland was in the grip of its first ever mass witch trial.

More than a hundred people were hunted down as witches in league with the Devil and many were burned at the stake.

Episode 2

Episode 2

Our history into witches continues in Episode 2. Here our Investigations into the notorious 17th-century witch trials concludes with a profile of Matthew Hopkins.

He was a opportunistic puritan witch-hunter who transformed paranoia about Satanism into a lucrative business as he hanged hundreds of people for crimes they could not possibly have committed.

Making use of contemporary reports, Suzannah paints a portrait of a man who believed he could cross any boundary and break any law to achieve his goals.

Naming himself “Witchfinder General”, Hopkins toured the country charging fees for his services, but Suzannah’s research reveals that ultimately, the public’s distaste for witches was not as strong as its hatred of being conned by charlatans.

Hopkins would eventually die of tuberculosis in relative obscurity, but his malign legacy lived on across the Atlantic, as witch-hunts spread and began in Salem, Massachusetts, USA.

Witches: A Century of Murder
  • Info
  • Release date2015
  • Full runtime
  • Director(s)Chris Holt
  • Production company5 Productions