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"Thou shalt not suffer a witch to live."

When a community with a superstitious mindset suspects someone in their midst of magical or otherwise unusual powers, especially if unexplained stuff such as kids disappearing has been happening, their response will usually be to root the person out to take the blame and some burning at the stake.

It's usually a woman or girl in these situations: Sprenger and Kramer, the authors of the infamous Malleus Maleficarum, explicitly stated that "...this heresy is not of villains, but of villainesses, and thus it is noted so."

This trope is often the climax of a classical Witch Hunt in media, with plenty of Torches and Pitchforks to go around. These are not historically accurate, for the most part, being depicted in places and times when there were no witch-hunts, or misrepresenting ones that did occur. In particular, one of the most famous episodes of witch-hunting, the Salem Witch Trials, featured no burnings at all. The convicted were hanged — and indeed, those who "confessed" were held to answer more questions and freed when the hunt was stopped. In reality, in England and in English colonies like Massachusetts, burning at the stake was reserved for woman commoner traitorsnote , women who killed their husbands (even in self-defense; this was seen as a form of treason, hence the use of the same punishment) and for heretics. That said, there was some overlap, as heretics were often accused of witchcraft - and other way around - witchcraft was oftennote  considered a form of heresy.

The "swimming" of witches, one of the most famous methods of interrogating a suspected witch, had the virtue of being both pointless and redundant. Popular belief makes it out as a Morton's Fork, saying that if the woman floated, that proved she was a witch, and they'd pull her out and kill her. If the woman sank, that proved she wasn't a witch... but she'd drown and still be dead. Actually the woman would be tied to a rope: if she did float, they would pull her out, and the fact would be regarded as incriminating. (Of course sometimes they wouldn't do this quick enough, and she'd still drown. "Floating" could also be achieved by trickery with the ropes). If she sank, they would pull her out and clear her of charges. The ducking stool is an unrelated, non-lethal device of punishment where a woman was dunked in cold water for being a public nuisance of some sort.

Also see The Heretic, who is also a victim of this form of justice, but with a difference: the Witch is sentenced to incineration for deadly supernatural activity, while The Heretic is similarly sentenced to incineration for religious Thought Crime. The Witch Hunter is a related trope, although a Witch Hunter is someone who hunts witches professionally, while this trope tends to refer to an angry mob. See also Kill It with Fire and related tropes for the logic (such as it is) for this. Often associated with Fanatical Fire. For witches who are not literally hot but metaphorically so see Hot Witch.

For the band, see Burning Witches. For the Tite Kubo manga, you'll want to head here.

As this is a Death Trope, unmarked spoilers abound. Beware.


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  • In one Progressive ad, one of Flo's ancestors is about to be burned at the stake when she's accused of witchcraft trying to sell the Name Your Price tool.

    Fairy Tales 
  • The Wicked Stepmother and Wicked Witch from "Brother and Sister" gets subjected to this at the end, after her murder of the titular Sister and her replacement of her with her own daughter are revealed.
  • In "Our Lady's Child / "Mary's Child", the titular Child is a Queen who once lived in Heaven but was kicked out of it for disobeying an order from the Virgin Mary and, whenever the Virgin tried to confront her, refusing to admit her responsibility. The worst punishment is having her three babies taken away by the Virgin for yet again not wanting to admit her sin; she's mistaken for a witch/ogress who killed and ate her kids and about to be burned at the stake as such, despite her husband the King's desperate attempts to save her, but at the last moment she repents and mentally admits her wrongdoings. The Virgin forgives the girl and pulls a Big Damn Heroes by summoning a magical rain to extinguish the pyre, then brings the children back and makes sure that the exonerated girl and her family will be happy forever.
  • In "Penta of the Chopped-off Hands", the jealous fishwife Nuccia causes lots of trouble to the titular Penta, a once Fallen Princess who had already gone through terrible ordeals (including the loss of her hands) but had managed to start rebuilding her life and marry a local King. She goes as far as writing a false letter from the King that condemned Penta to be burned at the stake, but the King's counselors believe that the King's out of his mind and they send her (and her son) to another realm instead. When the whole deception is revealed, Nuccia is the one burned instead.
  • There are several similar fairy tales (Grimm Brothers' "The Six Swans" and "The Twelve Brothers", Hans Christian Andersen's "The Wild Swans", Peter Christen Asbjørnsen and Jørgen Moe's The Twelve Wild Ducks" where a princess who's trying to break a spell over her brothers is under one or another circumstances accused of witchcraft (Andersen) or infanticide (Grimms, Asbjørnsen and Moe) and is almost burned at the stake, but her brothers save her and she manages to undo the curses over them. In "The Six Swans", the girl's false accuser gets burned as punishment.

    Films — Animation 
  • In Belladonna of Sadness, this is what happens to the protagonist, the Girl Next Door-turned-Hot Witch Jeanne. Her husband Jean tries to rescue her, but he ends up turned into a Human Pincushion.
  • In Frozen (2013), this is what Elsa and her parents' biggest fear as to what would happen to her should she lose control of her powers as detailed under the troll's vision. Out of fear of this happening, they close the gates and lock Elsa away in her room to hide away her powers and keep it a secret from everyone including her sister. Unfortunately it led her to a miserable life for 13 years which led to her inevitably reveal her powers in front of the whole crown during her Rage Breaking Point and upon realizing what she had done, she flees the kingdom and accidentally plunge the kingdom under an Endless Winter, resulting in the citizens fearing their new queen, believing that she had intentionally abandoned her own kingdom to famine and starvation. Indeed it seems that they fear and detested her so much that after Anna gets frozen solid as a result of being accidentally struck by Elsa, their response to this is to appoint a foreign prince as their new ruler of the kingdom and immediately complied with his orders to sentence the former queen to death without even bothering to double-check on the legitimacy of his claim and upon seeing Hans about to execute their supposed wicked queen, they seem to have a look joy once the snowstorm has ended due of Elsa being informed of her sister's death because of her actions.
  • In the Disney movie, The Hunchback of Notre Dame, Esmeralda almost suffers this fate at the hands of Frollo after she refuses to submit to him. (She is not accused of being a witch in the original book).note  Interestingly, the crowd seems to rather be on her side and say so, no doubt at least partly due to Frollo's lengthy sack of his own city in order to find her.
  • Averted in ParaNorman, where the witch was executed by hanging. Then played straight later, when an angry mob decides to kill Norman like this, as hanging is too uncivilized.
  • The Chief of the Indians in Peter Pan threatens to do this to John, Michael and the Lost Boys if his daughter Tiger Lily, who he believes they kidnapped, is not returned by sunset.
    The Chief: Heap big lie. If Tiger Lily not back by sunset...burn 'em at stake.
  • Lampshaded in Rango when the Cargo Cult water pipe fails to produce water — the first reaction of one of the townsfolk is to point to Rango and shout "Burn the witch!"
  • In Scooby-Doo! and the Witch's Ghost, they believe the title character was a mistaken Wicca practitioner. She was actually a witch.

  • In The Tarot Cafe, Pamela's mother (a midwife) was accused of witchcraft after the baby she was delivering and the child's mother both died. She confessed to witchcraft just so that she could plead for her daughter's safety and was burned at the stake. Pamela was later accused of witchcraft because she could see the future and because she rejected a creepy old priest's advances on her. Because she'd been exposed to the blood of a dragon, she was immortal and survived. A later story has her kidnapped by a group of religious fanatics who use her tarot cards as proof that she's a witch and try to kill her. Seeing as she's immortal, they don't succeed.

  • In some versions of the ballad "Young Hunting" (Child 47; a.k.a. Earl Richard/ Love Henry) the lady gets punished this way for killing her lover. Certain versions also include her trying to pin the murder on her maid, who gets acquitted because she won't burn no matter what the king's men try.
  • Creature Feature mentions this and many other tortures in their song "Here There Be Witches".
  • Culture Club's "The War Song" has the line "Like a Philistine, we're burning witches too."
  • "Am I Evil?" by Diamond Head (and covered by Metallica), in which the singer's mother is burned as a witch, setting him on a Roaring Rampage of Revenge that ultimately consumes him.
  • Dragonland's "Fire and Brimstone" has a female elf actually the elven Queen being about to be burned at the stake, considered a witch, and saved by the protagonist.
  • "Burn Witch Burn" by Ego Likeness.
  • "The Curse of Jacques" from Grave Digger's Knights of the Cross, which is about Last Grandmaster of Knights Templar Jacques de Molay, who was burned at the stake during the order's downfall.
  • "Burning Times" by Iced Earth refers to the witch hunts.
  • The Swedish song "I Lågornas Sken" (In the Fires Light) by Nordman is about a young girl judged to burn at the stake.
  • "Burn" from King Diamond's solo album The Eye depicts a burning of alleged witch. The eponymous pendant from the title is later found from her ashes.
  • "Words of the Witch" by Lonewolf is a scathing condemnation of the Salem witch trials.
  • "Burn the Witch" by Queens of the Stone Age.
  • Radiohead's "Burn the Witch" features imagery themed around this as a metaphor for paranoia and distrust in modern society. The song had actually been in the works for well over a decade before its eventual release in 2016, and out-of-context lyrics from it were subtly tossed around in promotional material during the 2000's.
  • "The Curse", intro track to Running Wild's Black Hand Inn opens with a trial where a man is condemned to be a heretic and is subsequently burned at the stake.
  • Taylor Swift's "I Did Something Bad" from her 2017 album reputation has the following lines: "They're burning all the witches even if you aren't one/They got their pitchforks and proof/Their receipts and reasons"
  • Venom's "Don't Burn the Witch" from Black Metal.
  • The Vocaloid song "Witch", sung by Megurine Luka and a few other Vocaloids, has this happening to Luka's character. She escapes, in probably the most confusing way ever.
    • In "Flames of Yellow Phosphorus," Rin's character is burned at the stake for killing her father. Subverted because they're not accusing her of witchcraft, they're doing it because she committed arson.
  • "Burning The Witches", the title track from the debut album by Warlock, released in 1984.
  • Witchfinder General, "Burning a Sinner". Also, "Witchfinder General".
  • Both subverted and played straight with two songs off the Rob Zombie album 'Educated Horses'. 'American Witch' subverts the trope with the line "We all hang high - 20 innocents" (referencing the twenty victims of the Salem Witch Trials), while 'Lords of Salem' plays it straight and subverts it with the line "Burn me and hang me".
  • "Witches Burn" by The Pretty Reckless is about a woman who's finished with the misogynistic Puritan society she lives in and is fine with being being burned as a witch for murdering the men who've wronged her.

    Mythology and Religion 
  • The passage of Exodus 22:18 from The Bible (and its quite popular King James variant mentioned as the page quote) was used to justify many a Witch Hunt back in the bad old days. It should be noted, however, that the meaning of "witch" or "sorceress" back then primarily referred to someone who used bad and injurious magic, rather than all magic. And some scholars have argued that the passage really referred to poisoners rather than magic users.
  • The legendary origin of the ceibo tree and flowers is tied to this trope. It says that as the Spanish conquistadores explored the lands of what's now Argentina, the Guarani tribe opposed them fiercely; one of their biggest enemies was Anahí, an Action Girl who used to be an ugly but kind Friend to All Living Things Mysterious Waif, but Took a Level in Badass to defend her people. When the Spanish finally captured poor Anahí, they burned her at the stake; according to different versions either she sang a last song as she burned to death and her charred corpse became a ceibo tree in the morning, or the flames refused to touch Anahí and she slowly turned into into a ceibo in front of the conquerors.
  • Defied in Norse Mythology, when the gods try to kill an evil witch named Gullveig by burning her. Three times they tried...

  • John Finnemore's Souvenir Programme: Referenced with a vengeful ghost of a woman killed centuries ago. In her time a man was looking for witches. When he quite predictably couldn't find any, he updated the definition of "witch" to any sufficiently unattractive woman who owned a cat. When he couldn't even manage that, he started holding beauty contests. The prize for losers was a cat...
  • That Mitchell and Webb Sound: Open-Mic Night at the Little Inn just outside Castle Dracula goes very wrong when the winner is a Roma woman. The superstitious villagers take it poorly and try to burn her.

  • The Crucible, a play which has as its running theme the Salem witch trials, and was written, very tellingly, during the communist witch-hunts in America, is actually an aversion — they don't burn the witches, instead hanging them, as was actually done in the trials.
  • In Finian's Rainbow, Sharon is charged with using witchcraft to turn a white man black, and her lover Woody of aiding and abetting her, in accordance with a 17th-century state law against witchcraft. ("Don't you think it's a little obsolete by now?" Woody says.) The pair are saved from the flames by the Just in Time reversal of her wish.
  • The opera Königskinder has a witch who is burned by a rampaging Powder Keg Crowd sometime in between the second and third acts.
  • The Lady's Not for Burning by Christopher Fry. The evidence against her is laughable, but the town's officials can see she's well-to-do, and if they convict her, they can confiscate her property. But there's that pesky ex-soldier who insists he murdered the man she supposedly bewitched....
    "Though we administer persuasion with great patience, she admits nothing. And the man won't stop admitting. It really makes one lose all faith in human nature."
  • Part of the Backstory in Gilbert and Sullivan's Ruddigore; the ancestor of the Baronets of Ruddigore was cursed by a witch he was burning.
  • Il trovatore by Verdi, anyone? Everything began with a witch burning, and the daughter of one of the Romani victims taking revenge for it...
  • Which Witch The Musical: The second act is all about Maria being convicted as a witch and sentenced to be burned on the stake.
  • Wicked's "March of the Witch Hunters" is pretty self-explanatory. The citizens of Oz hunt for Elphaba, egged on by Madame Morrible.

    Visual Novels 
  • Invoked in Danganronpa: Trigger Happy Havoc. When Celestia "Celes" Ludenberg is proved to be the one who first manipulated Hifumi into killing Kiyotaka and then killed him, she is sentenced to execution via being burned at the stake. This is actually the perfect way to die in Celes's opinion, as Word of God said that she wanted a very romanticized and dramatic death like those in the novels, so she is rather gleeful (at least publically) as the pyre is lit under her feet and she waits for the fire to consume her, hands steepled and looking up dramatically... But since her executioner is Monokuma after all, he then subverts the trope via summoning a huge firefighter truck at the very last moment and ramming it into Celes's pyre, killing her.
  • The House in Fata Morgana:
    • Michel impaled to death and then crucified for three days and finally burnt at the stake as he was accused of being a devil's child due to being intersex and thus believed to be cursed.
    • The White-Haired Girl is killed as a result of this in the second door.
  • This turns out to have been the fate of the vengeful spirit in The Letter. She was accused of having used witchcraft, including using it to kill Lady Charlotte's husband, and was sentenced to be burned at the stake, a fate that she took to silently.

  • Mye and Hex were drowned as witches proving their innocence in Charby the Vampirate before being resurrected as zombie slaves by an actual magic user.
  • In The Cummoner, Vilga is condemned just for admitting to being a witch. She manages to escape in her own fashion.
  • Girl Genius:
    • It is stated that minor Sparks in rural areas were often treated as witches and burned. Considering the fact that a Sparky "witch" could probably make those herbal concoctions work, and that Sparkyness usually equals at least periodic insanity, they were probably on the money as often as not.
    • Also subverted. Early in the story, the protagonist is told that girls with the Spark are especially vulnerable, and tend to just... disappear. Readers later find out that, rather than being killed as witches, most of them were probably kidnapped by Sturmhalten soldiers, so that Prince Aaronev, a Spark himself, could use them for his experiment to bring back the Other. Including his own daughter.
  • In Hooky this is a risk for witches, despite being illegal.
    • Dani was narrowly rescued from a pyre after being mistaken for a child-killing witch.
    • Angela Wytte was also a near-victim (saved only by intervention of the king), but was pushed over the Despair Event Horizon by the experience.
    • Dorian is burned as a witch. Or so everyone, including his twin Dani, thinks. In reality, Damian magically makes a wick-clone of his younger brother, and Dorian escapes.
  • Celina, a witch in Imp has her house burned down after a priest visits her home town and convinces them she's a devil worshiper.
  • In Knights of Buena Vista, Weselton's role in Frozen has been upgraded, from bigot against sorcerers, to apparent witch hunter.
    • This is a Subverted Trope. He doesn't hunt magic users to stop evil. He does it because he's a Mage Reaver, and this provides a cover for his actions.
  • In Latchkey Kingdom, the citizens of Hilla blame the Castle Witch (currently Svana) and start grabbing torches and kindling every time there's a crisis. "Lenne gets a Hat" reveals that to become a licensed witch in Hilla, you need to be able to accept your death gracefully or else be very fast.
  • In No Rest for the Wicked, the villagers blame Clare for their disappearing children and intend to burn her.
  • In Our Little Adventure, Angelo's Kids do this to their opponents.
  • Scandinavia and the World:
    • A variation occurs in this comic in which Denmark and Norway sit Sister Finland ("the witch") on a burning maypole as part of a midsummer celebration.
    • Another comic, illustrating the early Church's stance on witchcraft, had King Europe accuse Queen Europe of being a witch, only for the Pope to burn him for heresy.
  • In Something*Positive, a young woman boasts of having been burned to death in Salem in another life for being a Wiccan, but that she died praising Wicca and the Goddess. Davan, of course, tears her story apart. In three panels.
  • In Welcome to Chastity the town Chastity used to be the site of many witch burnings. Turns out one of the women burned was an actual witch. She revived herself and got some payback on the town inhabitants.
  • In the world of Witchy, everyone has some degree of magic power, but society burns witches who possess too much power.

    Web Original 

    Real Life 
  • Translation:
    • Interestingly, the passage quoted at the top of this page, from the King James Version, is actually a rather iffy translation. The term "witch" is a more recent invention of the English language, and of course no particular method of execution was prescribed. The word used in the original language roughly translates to "sorceress" with "one who twists the minds of others for personal gain" connotations. Though rulers described as serving God often stamped out all practitioners; this is why Saul had trouble finding one when he decided to actually consult one.
    • Another translation renders the word as prostitute. Sacred prostitutes often served the god(desse)s of the nations opposing Israel. They were seen as trying to tempt God's people away from him. Some may have practiced sacred rites.
    • It's also possible that the original word was poisoner, as there was overlap between the Greek and Latin words for "poisoner" and "witch"; King James was rather obsessed with witchcraft, which may have influenced the translation.
  • In Ancient Greece and Ancient Rome, there were things that could be considered witch-huntsnote , but their word for "witch" could also be translated as "poisoner" (see, the above section on the KJV). In fact, it's possible they were interchangeable concepts back then.
    • Perhaps the first victim of witch-hunting in history we know the name of was an ancient Greek woman named Theoris of Lemnos (4th. century B.C.E./B.C.). She was executed with her children.
    • Livy (Ad Urbe Condita Libri VIII, xviii) records an instance of 170 women being burned for poisoning (witchcraft?), who were blamed for causing mass illness. Livy records that this is the scale of this persecution was never before seen in Rome at that point.
    • In 81 B.C.E./B.C., the Roman legislator Sulla passed the Lex Cornelia de sicariis et veneficiis, which prohibited occult practices along with posession of harmful poisons.
  • Joan of Arc, who led the French army during The Hundred Years War, was eventually captured by the Burgundians. She was put on trial for heresy in a Kangaroo Court, was found guilty, and burned at the stake.
  • In Real Life, the methods for dealing with suspected witches varied greatly between areas and eras:
    • During the Middle Ages proper witchcraft wasn't a major crime — 'cunning folk' were practitioners of low-level magic that were generally not persecuted legally, unless they were accused of cheating their customers out of the supposed effects of the magic sold. Lethal magic was treated essentially as a subsection of poisoning, and punished accordingly with death, though not by burning, while lesser offenses could only lead to a fine or corporal punishment. Only with The Late Middle Ages and The Cavalier Years, especially with the publication of the infamous Malleus Maleficarum did the mass witch hunts begin. Prior to this, the Church's position was largely that witches were not even real - or rather, that magic was not real, simply illusions of the Devilnote . The Malleus itself was banned when it came out as the heretical ravings of a lunatic, but unfortunately enthusiastic amateurs got a hold of it anyway, causing a boom among both Catholic and Protestant laymen.
    • After the Reformation witch-hunts gained rapid popularity on both sides of the fence, as religious paranoia rose to ridiculous degrees. Most of the witch-trials were performed by secular courts or minor clergy with little idea how to perform any actual investigation, though in Protestant countries even higher levels of clergy sometimes got themselves involved. Martin Luther was recorded saying something to the effect of: "I would gladly burn them myself."
    • In England and America, witches were usually simply hanged, and sometimes burned post mortem to prevent them from coming back as undead. However, in continental Europe, burning alive was a very popular method of execution for witches and heretics alike — the distinction between the two was often narrow, to say the least. Not until Henry IV's statute "De Heretico Comburendo" was burning authorized in England as a punishment for heresy, and this sentence was rarely passed. Interestingly enough, getting convicted of witchcraft didn't mean an automatic death sentence. In England and Wales, the vast majority of those accused of witchcraft were pardoned. Apparently people liked a good trial, but couldn't be bothered to actually carry out the sentence.
    • The Spanish Inquisition actually refused to do this after the late-16th century, and even before then they were rather lax on witchcraft, very rarely ending in true executions. The Grand Inquisitor himself pronounced the tales of mass "sabbats" unlikely and unsupported by any evidence (it was considered much more credible that testimonies of people hosting Satanic meetings in the woods were probably just lustful sinners celebrating regular orgies, sometimes with the help of rudimentary party drugs), and stated that any person claiming to be a witch was either a liar or clinically insane. Even if declared witches, most accused actually survived with only "minor" torture and fairly small official punishment; execution itself was so rare that it caused its few cases, such as the Zugarramurdi Witch Trials, to be spectacularly publicized, which probably contributed to the legend that the Inquisition was having its hands full on the witch-killing topic. The Inquisition was more concerned about Jews and Moors, in particular the remnant population of Muslims in Spain: Castile-Leon had only conquered Granada in 1492, so the region and its Muslim people were something of an ongoing problem for the Christian rulers until the last of them were ethnically cleansed in the early 17th century. That said, this probably didn't stop non-Royal and non-Church town authorities (i.e. about 2/3 of all towns) or angry mobs from holding witch trials and hanging 'witches', despite the Inquisition's efforts to impede it.
  • In Iceland, from 1625-1683, 21 people were executed by burning after being accused of witchcraft (which could include just keeping magical talismans in their homes). All but one of these people were male, as men were believed to be the only people capable of being witches in Icelandic society. There's an interesting, albeit somewhat cheesy, museum dedicated to Icelandic witchcraft in the 17th century in the town of Hólmavík, in the West Fjords.
  • A common misconception, even in Massachusetts, is that the victims of the Salem Witch Trials of 1692 were burned, when in fact, most were hanged, with the exception of Giles Corey, who was pressed to death (i.e., had a large board the size of a door laid on top of him and then rocks were piled onto the board, till he suffocated. He got special treatment because he refused to enter a plea and was found in contempt of court. He just told them to add more weight). He was actually trying to spare his family the loss of his property, which would happen on a conviction of witchcraft (as was inevitable). Under common law, no trial could be held if the accused would not enter a plea. "Pressing" under heavy stones was the method used to force this out of one that refused to. Giles died, but he did so legally innocent and his family inherited his land.
  • Urbain Grandier, a French Catholic priest in Loudun who was accused of a diabolical pact and causing a whole convent of nuns to become possessed. His case is notable in having inspired a book by Aldous Huxley (The Devils of Loudun), a film by Ken Russell (The Devils), and an opera by Krzysztof Penderecki (Die Teufel von Loudun).
  • In Sweden, about 300 "witches" were burned between 1668 and 1676. Most of them admitted to having committed witchcraft, and were rewarded by being decapitated before the burning. The only one to be burned alive was Malin Matsdotter, to whom this was punishment for refusing to admit anything. Before she was burned alive, she noticed that one of her daughters (the one that had accused her) stood in the crowd and told her and everyone present that her daughter now belonged to the devil. She (reportedly) did not scream when she was burned. It was probably due to a sack of gunpowder being placed around her neck out of mercy.

    The Swedish trials ended with the church, who had been against the trials from the beginning but forced to prosecute them due to the sheer number of accusations, declaring that all witches had forever been exorcised from Sweden. They then proceeded to publically torture and burn some of the accusers (most of which where in their teens!) saying that they were the last remaining witches.
  • In Germany, the trial of the Pappenheimer family, considered to be the worst witch trial in German history. Don't read the article if you have a weak stomach. The parents and the eldest sons were to be executed together with two other men. The bodies of the men were torn six times each with irons, Anna's breasts were cut off and rubbed in the faces of her adult sons, the skeletons of the men were broken on the wheel, the father was subjected to impalement on a pike, and finally, they were burned at the stake.
  • The Würzburg witch-trials. Over the course of six years, nine hundred people were burnt as witches in Germany, including many children, some as young as four.
  • One of the first recorded convictions of witchcraft in Europe occurred in Ireland in 1324 and involved Alice Kyteler, a wealthy four-time widow accused by the local bishop and gossips of poisoning her former husbands for their estates, sacrificing animals to demons, heresy, sorcery and having sex with an incubus. In reality, she was probably only guilty of moneylending, which piss-poor Middle Ages folk would have deeply resented. Something of an aversion, in that it was Kyteler's servant, Jack Bauer'd into giving a possibly false confession, who was burned at the stake, while Kyteler herself fled to the continent and promptly disappeared from history. Her former house, in which authorities allegedly found such items as "body parts of an unbaptized infant; evil powders; communion wafers imprinted with satanic images; the fingernails and toenails of corpses boiled in the skull of a robber; candles made of human fat", is now a popular local pub.
  • An utterly bizarre example occurred with the death of the two last Great Auks; apparently the last two individuals were killed because their capture occurred at the same time a storm came, leading the sailors to think the birds were witches.
  • In Denmark, a holiday based around the history of burning witches (St John's Eve) has been a tradition. Of course, no real person is used, but a scarecrow-like-doll that looks like a stereotypical witch is burned instead. It's also more like a bonfire with a doll stuck in it.
  • A similar folk tradition exists in the Czech Republic, on the Walpurgis Night (30th of April).
  • 2013 goings-on in Papua New Guinea.


Video Example(s):



Now that Ione's outed as a witch, she narrates a shortish story regarding someone (implied) she knows who was burned because she's a wicked witch. Ashaf taunted her if she has things to hide.

How well does it match the trope?

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Example of:

Main / BurnTheWitch

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