Memory of the Witches
Campaign for the memory of women persecuted for witchcraft
One would think that such an extraordinary historic event would have inspired hundreds of research projects and efforts to discover the witch hunts’ causes and consequences, and the economic and political conditions that made them possible. Instead, nothing could be farther from the truth. Before the feminist movement, only a few experts had dealt with the subject, producing texts and articles that were only available to a limited number of academics. The history of the witch hunts was not included in widespread academic curriculum, as if the legal assassination of thousands of women on clearly prefabricated charges was an event without historical relevance. Even worse, the witch hunts that accompanied the birth of capitalism were converted into child’s play and entertainment, as in the case of the United States, where for Halloween little girls put on “witches’ hats” and go trick-or-treating. In the moment that the “witches” were converted into an object of legend, play, and folklore, on par with goblins and fairies, the real/historic “witch,” the farmer/artisan/proletarian/woman/slave who was tortured horribly and murdered, was rendered invisible, removed from history and even ridiculed. For generations of women, including ours, this has meant the usurpation of a history that would have helped us to comprehend the origin of our social subordination and the reality of the society in which we live.