The 1970s Witchcraft Trial and Other Oddities in Witch History
The 1970s Witchcraft Trial and Other Oddities in Witch History

The 1970s Witchcraft Trial and Other Oddities in Witch History

Khalid Elhassan - March 15, 2022

The 1970s Witchcraft Trial and Other Oddities in Witch History
Coverage of satanism, witchcraft, and black magic rituals in the Irish press. Pinterest

1. Northern Ireland’s Demonic Panic

British military intelligence wanted to create the idea that Irish paramilitaries and their violence had unleashed evil forces. Against the backdrop of newfound fears triggered by recent movies like The Devil Rides Out and The Exorcist, Wallace and his men scattered upside-down crucifixes and black candles across war-torn Belfast. Simultaneously, the authorities leaked stories about demonic rituals, witchcraft, black masses, and tied them to run-of-the-mill crimes. In the last four months of 1973 alone, over seventy articles about devil worship and the like were published. As a result, a panic about Satanism, black magic, and witchcraft swept through Northern Ireland. As Collin Wallace explained years later:Ireland was very superstitious and all we had to do was bring it up to date“. As an added bonus from the authorities’ perspective, the manufactured hysteria helped keep kids home at night, and away from buildings used for undercover surveillance.

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Where Did We Find This Stuff? Some Sources and Further Reading

Ancient Origins – The Bizarre Crucifixion of Margaretta Peter: The Short Life of a Prodigy and Devoted Christian

Baker, Emerson W. – A Storm of Witchcraft: The Salem Trials and the American Experience

Bartholomew, Robert E. – Little Green Men, Meowing Nuns and Head-Hunting Panics: A Study of Mass Psychogenic Illness and Social Delusion (2001)

Bartholomew, Robert E., and Rickard, Bob – Mass Hysteria in Schools: A Worldwide History Since 1566 (2014)

Brewminate – The Crucifixion of Margaretta Peter

British Journal of Psychiatry, Volume 180, Issue 4, April 2002 – Protean Nature of Mass Sociogenic Illness: From Possessed Nuns to Chemical and Biological Terrorism Fears

Brown, David – A Guide to the Salem Witchcraft Hysteria of 1692 (1984)

Business Insider, March 10th, 2014 – How a Bogus Abuse Accusation Fueled a Nationwide Hysteria

Cracked – Arizona Held a Witch Trial in the 1970s

De Blecourt, Willem, and Davies, Owen – Witchcraft Continued: Popular Magic in Modern Europe (2004)

Demos, John Putnam – Entertaining Satan: Witchcraft and the Culture of Early New England (1982)

Eberle, Paul – The Abuse of Innocence: The McMartin Preschool Trial (1993)

Encyclopedia Britannica – Salem Witch Trials

Guardian, The, October 9th, 2014 – Satanic Panic: How British Agents Stoked Supernatural Fears in Troubles

Heritage Daily – Matthew Hopkins, the Real Witch Hunter

History Collection – Strangest Hygiene Practices from the Middle Ages

Klaits, Joseph – Servants of Satan: The Age of the Witch Hunts (1985)

Levack, Brian P. – The Oxford Handbook of Witchcraft in Early Modern Europe and Colonial America (2013)

Occult Museum – The Strange Story of Nuns That Meowed Like Cats and 7 Other Cases of Mass Hysteria

Only in Your State – Most People Don’t Know a Witch Trial Took Place Right Here in Arizona

Thurston, Robert W. – The Witch Hunts: A History of the Witch Persecutions in Europe and North America, 2nd Edition (2007)

Tuscaloosa News, March 31st, 1971 – ‘Teacher-Witch’ Loses Her Job

Tuscaloosa News, February 15th, 1972 – ‘Witch’ Tag Clings to Fired Teacher

University of Missouri-Kansas City School of Law – Salem Witchcraft Trials of 1692

Wikipedia – McMartin Pre School Trial

Wikipedia – Salem Witch Trials

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