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The Witch Hunter

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"Thou shalt not suffer a witch to live." — Exodus 22:18
Image by Bogdan Tomchuk. Used with permission.
Send for the General, there's witches to burn
The day of your judgment draws nigh
In torment and torture, the bringer of pain
Disciples of Satan will die
Saxon, "Witchfinder General"

Let's say you live in a fantasy setting, but no, you aren't having it easy. This ain't no happy-singing-rainbows-and-fairies kind of fantasy you've got here, and there's a problem. Perhaps the resident wizard isn't too much into helping upstart heroes, or something has to be done with that "persecuted religious community" at the corner before you run out of virgins. Or it could even be something a bit more mundane: maybe the local count thinks the mole on that kindly old lady's chin is really gross.

Who You Gonna Call? This guy.

The Witch Hunter is the grim, broody, badass-longcoated, and nice-hatted guy who is always prepared to lead a Witch Hunt, but beware, for this guy, as much as he is well intentioned and soul-saving, often leaves that pesky sort-them-out trade to the Lord, and he tends to be a bit creepy about his principles. He can be seen handing out the Torches and Pitchforks, and "Burn the Witch!" is his favourite solution. Due to these traits, a witch hunter is usually a perpetrator of Van Helsing Hate Crimes either out of genuine hatred, or mere cruelty and profit; thus, when the Witch Hunter appears, he is usually a villain or (in settings where witches are actually evil by default) a very dark Anti-Hero.

While we are at it, Van Helsing, the Trope Namer for one of the above-mentioned tropes, hunted a vampire instead of witches, but even the standard ones are rarely above an occasional hunt after a vicious vampire or demon. That said, witches generally have different connotations than most other classic monsters, due to the uncomfortable reality of historical witch hunts, which killed a lot of innocent people. Vampires and werewolves don't have that same historical baggage, and although you may the occasional Friendly Neighborhood Vampire or heroic werewolf who is able to Resist the Beast, they're still a lot more likely to be cast as Always Chaotic Evil monsters. Therefore, the Vampire Hunter is typically a relatively uncomplicated hero in a way that the Witch Hunter is not.

A witch hunter may receive supernatural help, whether from angelic or divine patrons or from being some sort of Half-Human Hybrid — this often takes the form of Religion is Magic or Holy Burns Evil. However, most of them are plain, baseline humans, which in stories where magic is real and their foes really are magic users, makes them Badass Normal. Having said that, for a witch hunter to operate, magic isn't really needed — its appearance just makes the difference between being a harsh, but possibly (depending on the role of magic in the work and the story's cynicism) needed protector from supernatural threats, and a fanatic with few redeeming features (if any at all).

An Anti-Magical Faction is often filled with these.

A whole religion made of these guys is a Church Militant, but they don't actually have to be ordained, or even a part of church structure. When they are, they are usually part of a Church Police. While some of them were specifically trained to perform their duties, they tend to be freelancers, working alone or within a small team (institutionalized witch-hunting is a slightly different matter in trope terms). Since they often face the need to investigate the nature of the threat before dealing with it, many are more than a bit of an Occult Detective, and, of course, the Witch Hunter is quite a case of the Hunter of Monsters, especially if he also goes after supernatural monsters. If a witch hunter is also adept at using magic, and lives in a more modern or contemporary setting, he may be a Blue-Collar Warlock.

Subtly differs from Mage Killer: a Mage Killer is empowered to be resistant to magic and/or especially powerful against magic-users, while a Witch Hunter is ideologically opposed to their very existence (whether they really exist or not), and believes that Magic is Evil. The two can overlap — maybe a Mage Killer chose that path because of a grudge against mages, or maybe a Witch Hunter stocks up on Depleted Phlebotinum Shells and Anti-Magic wards as a professional necessity. They may even exist independently of each other, depending on the setting's treatment of Unequal Rites.

Compare with Demon Slaying and Vampire Hunter. Don't confuse with Witch Hunter or El Cazador de la Bruja.


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     Anime & Manga  

    Comic Books 
  • In Black Magick, Aira is a witch hunting organization which kills those guilty of abusing magical powers. Unlike most examples of the trope, they explicitly state that magic itself is not evil and it is not their goal to kill all magic users, rather it is their duty to kill those who have succumbed to Black Magic and used their powers to corrupt the minds of others.
  • Silver Dagger and the Imperator, two of Doctor Strange's foes. The former is a genuine witch hunter, whereas the latter is more of a Mage Killer.
  • Doctor Who Magazine: In "Witch Hunt", Clara is dressed as a witch for Halloween when she is transported through time to The Cavalier Years where she runs afoul of the Witchfinder General Matthew Hopkins.
  • Hansel from Fables. However, he is a vile and sadistic man who knows full well that the women he targets and executes are innocent. He's venting his frustration that he can't do anything to real witches, such as Frau Totenkinder, the one who tried to eat him and his sister; and he even murdered his sister when she started learning magic.
  • John Constantine from the Hellblazer. He is a modern day sorcerer (or occultist) and fights other occultists for various reasons; either he just wants to save the day, for his personal gain, or just to show off who is the best sorcerer there is.
  • Sir Edward Grey is a heroic example from the Hellboy and B.P.R.D. verse, who eventually got his own spinoff series, Witchfinder. He's a 19th century British paranormal investigator who, among other exploits, killed a trio of witches attempting to assassinate the Queen—earning himself knighthood and the official title of Witchfinder from the Crown. Though he's initially biased against magic-users from non-Christian traditions (as shown in "Lost and Gone Forever") he quickly grows more open-minded. In any case, he only executes those who use magic for malicious ends.
  • Rondel, the title character of Hillbilly, is a purely heroic take on this trope, using the Devil's own meat cleaver to hunt down the wicked witches that haunt the hills. Most Magic is Evil in this setting, and when Rondel meets an extremely rare good witch, he recognizes that she's not a threat and leaves her alone.
  • In The Return of Bruce Wayne, when Bruce Wayne was stranded in Puritan times, he got a job as a witch hunter, mostly using his forensic knowledge to help clear the names of innocent women accused of being witches. Ironically, the only real witch in the story is the girlfriend he meets there, Annie, who isn't evil. Unfortunately, Bruce's ancestor Nathaniel Wayne is the traditional religious zealot who targets any woman for being unusual. He hangs Annie before Bruce can get there.
  • The Ultraverse had Witch Hunter, a.k.a. Maria DeLorentti, a member of the Seventh Sign, a secret organization dedicated to the eradication of evil supernatural forces. Unlike more traditional witch hunters, she hunted witches in a Stripperific outfit featuring a Navel-Deep Neckline rather a Badass Longcoat and a nice hat. She still carried a BFS, though.
  • Zatanna (2010): A group of generic witch hunters attempt to assassinate Zatanna in issue #15, under the belief that all magic is evil.

    Fan Works 

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Vincent Price plays an evil witch hunter in the 1970 Cry of the Banshee. Lord Edward Whitman is just as much a bastard as Hopkins from Witchfinder General (see below), and his crimes are horrific enough that the title sidhe is called upon to destroy him and his family, most of whom are just as vicious as him.
  • Doctor Strange: Mordo ends up taking this position at the end of the movie as the events convince him that there are too many sorcerers out there breaking the natural laws. As a sorcerer himself, this overlaps with Hunter of His Own Kind.
  • Hansel and Gretel grew up to be Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters. They are heroic slayers of evil witches, though it is eventually revealed that Hansel and Gretel's mother was a White Witch, a trait which she passed on to Gretel.
  • In The Last Witch Hunter, this is, as you may guess from the title, Kaulder's job, although he's a far cry from the Knight Templar that his kind is stereotyped to be: he only goes after criminal witches that harm humans, doesn't kill them unless forced to, and rather than rendering judgment himself he turns his marks over to The Magocracy to be tried.
  • Red Riding Hood: Father Solomon, hunts down witches and werewolves. Like most examples, he will make wild accusations and liberally use torture against suspects (who are entirely innocent). However, there is also a real werewolf who he tries to stop (ineffectually).
  • Warlock (1989): Giles Redferne is a witch hunter transported from the 17th century to kill the evil Warlock who murdered his wife. He's actually a pretty nice guy, going out of his way to save as many innocent bystanders who fall prey to the Warlock as possible. He only has his salt-coated whip, knives, and some limited knowledge of the Warlock's weaknesses to defeat him.
  • Vincent Price plays the eponymous Witchfinder General, which is based on the historical figure of the 17th century "witchfinder" Matthew Hopkins. This is not a fantasy movie, and Hopkins is portrayed as neither a grim hero nor a Knight Templar fanatic; he's a cynical opportunist and a deeply evil man, exploiting the superstitions of those around him for personal gain.

  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer: In Night of the Living Rerun, Samantha Kane, the Slayer of 1692, operates openly as a witch hunter in addition to slaying vampires. However, she is no Knight Templar and interrupts a Kangaroo Court to ask reasonable questions about how much evidence there is against the accused, with the judge reluctantly respecting her authority.
  • Discworld:
    • The Cunning Man from I Shall Wear Midnight is practically an Anthropomorphic Personification of Witch Hunters.
    • The Omnian Church (Pre-Small Gods) used to hunt down and burn witches, but then again, they used to burn just about everybody. Now they just give witches informational pamphlets, which isn't nearly as bad. (Granny Weatherwax's view is that they hunted old women who didn't know what was going on — if they'd tried burning actual witches, they wouldn't have done so for long, as the Cunning Man found out.)
    • Parodied in A Hat Full of Sky by giving Miss Tick the title "witchfinder". She's a witch who finds young girls with the talent and helps them deal with it.
  • Within the The Dresden Files, wizards and witches view the Wardens somewhere between cops, witch hunters, and the bogeyman. Even Harry Dresden, a magical heavyweight as wizards reckon these things, has nightmares about them.
    • In one of Harry's cases, the crime scenes are magically tagged with the quote "Suffer not a witch to live."
    • Harry famously looks the part, even though he's the sort of person a witch hunter would hunt.
    • In one of the short stories Karrin Murphy, Harry's sometimes-sidekick and cop chick, explains how Harry's moments of power are so viscerally terrifying that she understands how people could start hunting witches.
    • Over the course of the series, Harry develops a reputation in the supernatural community as a thug who occasionally murders gods and talks flippantly to angels, and because they don't know most of the details of the cases or have the ability to understand his motivation, they default to a view of him much like this trope.
    • In a moment of desperation, the Wardens recruited Harry. He gets to experience the trope from the other side.
  • Evil wizards had essentially regressed much of the world from the 19th century to The Dung Ages in Tamara Siler Jones's Dubric Byerly trilogy — a Dark Fantasy mixed with forensic mystery. These "mages" were beaten back by a crusade from a country that escaped this fate and after this victory, Dubric Byerly — a lapsed warrior-priest who's become an inspector, is tasked by the king with hunting those that still remain.
  • Downplayed in The Factory Witches of Lowell — Mill Agent Mr. Boott believes the factory girls' strike is the result of the mill girls being possessed or otherwise influenced by occult forces (rather than the natural outcome of raising the girls' rent without a commensurate raise in pay, or the thirteen-hour work days in dangerous factories prompting the girls to stand up for better conditions and wages). He publicly accuses them of having a witch within their ranks, even going so far as to call Hannah the "queen of their coven." He's partially right in that Hannah is a witch using her magic to ensure the success of the strike, but Boott never has a chance to make good on his threats to call in an official witch hunter before the mill owners capitulate to the demands and Boott gets the boot for not breaking the strike.
    Mr. Boott crossed himself, then thought better of it. Witchcraft? No, there hadn't been a witch in New England for two hundred years. Besides, what worker would go that far? This wasn't Lancashire; this was Massachusetts. And yet...
    These girls were so very defiant.
    Mr. Boott crossed himself again.
  • One of these guys, referred to as simply "The Witchfinder," plays a small but important role in the Dung Ages prologue of The Festering. He's less interested in actually finding witches (assuming any exist) and more interested in just having a lot of political and religious clout in the English town of Garth, accusing and executing people on a whim in order to instill fear in the locals. His main role in the story is having Patient Zero for The Plague executed and buried without treatment and study, thereby ensuring the disease will return to threaten future generations in Garth.
  • Good Omens: Played with. While played straight in Agnes Nutter's case, Witchfinder Sergeant Shadwell, a modern professional witch hunter, doesn't get much work these days.
  • Pale: Witch Hunters are a form of Aware, those who have seen past the Masquerade and lost much of their Innocence, forfeiting protections against magic users and supernatural creatures. Any Aware that chooses to become a Witch Hunter is likely to be a fanatic in some form, and so they're infamous for not distinguishing between good and bad witches to the point most Would Hurt a Child. Most of the hunters that appear in Pale work for a Canadian Witch Hunter group called the Lighthouse, which organizes survivors of monster attacks, arms them, and deploys them in cells. The Hunters that appear in Pale have a shoot first and ask questions later policy, which leads them into conflict with essentially every protagonist and antagonist faction until they bite off more than they can chew by breaking into the Carmine Contest on the logic that supernatural forces are clearly trying to keep them out, at which point they are promptly conscripted into the contest and killed by the other contestants.
  • Princesses of the Pizza Parlor: In Boyfriends and Other Minor Annoyances: As Bianca says, they exist, and as the narration indicates, they're inquisitors from the Order of San Matabruy:
    Witch. Hunter. Hunts witches. It can't be that difficult.
  • Retired Witches Mysteries: Book 3 features Antonio de Santiago, "a witch's boogeyman", who was originally a member of the Spanish Inquisition and very good at finding and torturing witches until the witches themselves magically enslaved him to do their bidding. He's summoned this time to find the killer of Makaleigh Verza, a member of the Grand Council of Witches. While initially hostile to Molly, he becomes more reasonable after realizing her innocence, and that she genuinely wants to help solve Makaleigh's murder.
  • The Sacred Throne: Wizards can become portals to hell, so the Order is tasked with hunting down wizards according to the martyred Emperor's edict "suffer not a wizard to live". The Order has since degenerated to becoming tyrannical fanatics of the Torches and Pitchforks set who are as much into Rape, Pillage, and Burn as they are actually hunting wizards.
  • Solomon Kane: Solomon is a quite unambiguously good case and likely the Trope Codifier. Even the slouch hat, worn by Kane, wound up on many characters who followed his legacy when Gorgeous Period Dress would be out of place.
  • Sword of Truth: The Blood of the Fold are an organization of these, who firmly believe Magic is Evil and all magic users are banelings (i.e. serve the Keeper). Similarly the Imperial Order loathes magic because of the inequality it entails, though in the short term both use this out of necessity.
  • The Witchlands: The Hell-bards are an elite unit whose job is hunting down witches who didn't register with the government or committed a crime.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Blackadder: The Witchsmeller Pursuviant, who finds the title character guilty of witchcraft via an over-the-top Kangaroo Court. Being Blackadder, Pursuviant is merely a lunatic who falsely accuses people in droves for witchcraft either over Insane Troll Logic or petty spite, and Edmund made the mistake of insulting him within earshot. Less conventionally for the series however, Edmund is saved after Pursuviant ends up suffering a Karmic Death when he spontaneously combusts in what is heavily implied to be an act of real witchcraft he overlooked, by Edmund's mother, Queen Gertrude.
  • Charmed (1998): In the fourth season finale a witch hunter, played by Bruce Campbell, blackmails the Charmed Ones into helping him track down another witch by threatening to expose their own powers. Once he has the witch he's looking for he tries to burn her at a a stake. Luckily the Halliwells catch up to him and save their fellow witch.
  • Doctor Who: In "The Witchfinders", the TARDIS team arrives in 17th Century Lancashire where the local landowner has already executed by drowning 36 people who have been accused of witchcraft. The Doctor flashes her psychic paper which identifies her as the Witchfinder General. Before she can get much done however, a man masked and cloaked in black turns up who appears to be the classic Witch Hunter, only to reveal himself as a Camp Gay King James I traveling incognito—unfortunately no less dedicated to stamping out witchcraft. The Doctor, amusingly, finds herself demoted to Witchfinder General's Assistant when she tries using the psychic paper on his Majesty.
  • Good Omens (2019): Thou-Shalt-Not-Commit-Adultery Pulsifer was a witchfinder, while Shadwell tries to be one as well, recruiting Pulsifer's descendant Newton. Adultery found at least one witch but died when he burned her (and the fifty pounds of gunpowder under her skirts) at the stake, Shadwell never realizes how close he was to a witch and witch-related people, while Newton stumbled upon a witch mostly on accident.
    Anathema: You know, you're not actually a bad witchfinder. After all, you found me.
  • Kaamelott: Subverted. The local Witch Hunter is a complete and utter dumbass and the epitome of Activist-Fundamentalist Antics who tries to set fire to anyone he disagrees with (pagans, magic-users, heretics, women, King Arthur...). In the pilot, he suffers a minor brain freeze when Arthur points out that his sword is magical (and thus heretical) before trying to have Arthur burned, and ends up tied at his own stake. His final appearance has him declare he's become a paladin, demand Arthur's sword, and prove himself incapable of defeating the village idiot in a swordfight.
  • Mayfair Witches: In the scenes of Scotland from the past, the first Mayfair witch is nearly burned at the stake by a witchfinder who comes to hunt witches. Then in the present we see an extreme Christian sect whose leader openly advocates this to modern witches, taking credit for one woman being burned alive recently.
  • Motherland: Fort Salem: The Camarilla, an ancient group of them thought destroyed by General Alder, reappear in the first season finale, proving deadlier than before as they managed to duplicate witches' powers using technology. Their goal is the total extermination of witches.
  • Sabrina the Teenage Witch: Brad is a descendant of Witchhunters and can subconsciously sense magic when a spell is made in his presence. Its the main reason why he's an ass to Sabrina, who happens to be the girlfriend of his best friend.
  • The Wheel of Time (2021): The Whitecloaks (at least their Questioners) are now portrayed this way, with their introduction showing Eamon Valda burning an Aes Sedai at the stake after he'd mutilated her by cutting off both her hands. They also call Aes Sedai "witches" disparagingly.

  • Carl Douglas, best known for the song "Kung Fu Fighting", had a song called "Witchfinder General", which was specifically about the Vincent Price movie.

  • Survival of the Fittest's Uriel Hunter is a religious zealot dedicated to 'cleansing' the island, believing it to be infested by demons and Satanic minions. His weapon of choice, naturally, is fire.

    Tabletop Games 
  • Anima: Beyond Fantasy: Inquisitors are far more this than a Church Police, and extending their work to hunt supernatural/non-human entities toonote . Burning at the stake, sometimes after torture to extract information from them, is the usual fate for those they capture and don't kill on the spot.
  • Hunter: The Vigil: Many Hunters fit the description quite well, too, but the closest types are the Malleus Maleficarum and the Knights of the Order of St. George. The Malleus are basically the Inquisition with machine guns, bearing both holy rituals and a "kill 'em all and let God sort 'em out" policy. The Knights are a division of the Anglican Church that pursue sorcerers almost exclusively and use "divine magic" (really rituals learned from an Eldritch Abomination) to sabotage magic.
  • Pathfinder includes an Inquisitor class. The iconic Inquisitor could only look more like this trope with a burning heretic at her feet, though in personality and outlook she is a far cry from the stereotyped angry witch hunter and more of a kind-hearted scholar who happens to engage in the grim business of monster-hunting. The Inquistor class even has an archetype (class variant) called Witch Hunter, who drops some of the Inquisitor's abilities to counter beasts and discerning lies and alignments for abilities aimed at arcane spellcasters.
  • Warhammer: Witch hunters are a specialized order within the Empire tasked with hunting down heretics, magic-users, cultists, monsters and the undead and exterminating them with extreme prejudice. The relatively recent legalization of magic within the bounds of the Imperial-approved Colleges infuriates them. They're uniformly dogmatic and ruthless figures, wholly convinced of their own righteousness and of the corruption of their targets, and the profession tends to gravitate towards abuses of power with a certain regularity. In early editions of the game they often worship Solkan, the god of order and revenge, while later versions of the gamenote  has the witch hunters belong to the Holy Order of the Templars of Sigmar (or Order of Sigmar for short).
  • Warhammer 40,000: The Holy Orders of the Emperor's Inquisition have three branches devoted to hunting daemons (Ordo Malleus), heretics (Ordo Hereticus), and aliens (Ordo Xenos), each of which has a militant arm: the Grey Knights (an entire chapter of psychic Space Marines), the Sisters of Battle (an Amazon Brigade that loves burning witches and heretics), and the Deathwatch (a corps of expert Space Marines from various chapters). The Inquisition in general is closest to the traditional "witch hunter", down to the longcoat and hat. Despite the clear descent of Inquisitors from Solomon Kane, both Warhammers likely popularized the image of the Witch Hunter enough that some fans think it was Games Workshop's creation.
  • Warhammer: Age of Sigmar: The Order of Azyr serves as the spiritual successor of, and is largely based on, the Witch Hunters of Warhammer Fantasy Battle. Aside from hunting down cults, killing daemons, and dealing with rogue Endless Spells and such, they also hunt down more mundane threats as part of their State Sec duties. Interestingly, from the background of the Gaiden Game Warhammer Quest: Cursed City, it's possible to be kicked out of the Order for being too zealous and paranoid. The possibility of Sigmar himself physically showing up and personally yelling at them for getting it wrong gives them a lot more oversight than their predecessors had.
  • Witch Hunter The Invisible World is a horror game set in an alternative earth that can best be called a Solomon Kane story with less sexism, racism, and cultural superiority. Witch Hunters are individuals from any place that have learned secrets once woven into the Seal of Solomon. They use this to fight against supernatural terrors that serve the Adversary, a cosmic evil being (or group) whose identity is unknown (most Witch Hunters equate the Adversary with the Big Bad of their religion, such as the Christian Satan, hence the name). Since the core rulebook focuses on Europe and the Americas in the 17th century, most Witch Hunters will be a walking embodiment of this trope. The remainder are this trope only seen through the culture they come from. For example, imagine this trope, only the hunter happens to be from the Ottoman Empire. With a little work, your Witch Hunters are this trope in any pre-Industrial time and culture.

    Video Games 
  • In Demon's Souls, Mephistopheles, along with her Dragon, Yurt The Silent Chief are members of a group of assassins known as the Soul Society, their duty is to hunt down every single person who practices the Soul Art, although the latter is more interested in killing every single existing human.
  • In Disciples games, the Empire unit Squire can be upgraded to be a Witch Hunter, which is resistant against magical attacks.
  • Witch Hunter is a premade character class in both The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind and The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion. In their description, it's noted that their purpose is to combat cults and necromancers. In gameplay terms, their skills gravitate towards being a Mage Marksman, taking elements from the archer and thief classes and the schools of destruction, conjuration and mysticism.
  • The End Times: Vermintide features Viktor Saltzpyre, a classic Warhammer witch hunter. He captured one of the characters in the game and hired the other as a mercenary to help guard her, meaning his witch hunting is responsible for three of the five heroes being in town when the action in the game commences.
  • Grim Dawn has the Inquisitors of the Luminari order, charged to protect Erulan from witches, cultists, renegade arcanists, and other occult dangers. Playable Inquisitors are skilled with ranged weapons and make use of runic magic and replicas of arcane artifacts that the Luminari have captured and studied. Inquisitor Creed is the Supporting Leader and closest thing to a Big Good on humanity's side, willing to work with necromancers and the witches of Ugdenbog to fight against the Aetherials.
  • The immortal protagonist of Knight's Contract was originally this trope. After Who Wants to Live Forever? set in, he ended up joining forces with the witch who cursed him in hopes of a way to die.
  • In Mordheim: City of the Damned, also set in the Warhammer universe, the Witch Hunters are available as Downloadable Content. Witch Hunters normally operate alone, but after the destruction of Mordheim, the Grand Theogonist gathered several of his agents and granted them the post of captain and a commission sanctioning any action deemed necessary to redeem the lost city and restore Sigmar's grace - or failing that, purge it all in holy fire. Each warband is a small posse with one of these Captains at its head, joined by other junior witch hunters, warrior priests, errant knights and other motley fanatics, all looking to bring death to mankind's enemies in the service of Sigmar and mankind's other gods.
  • In The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt, the Witch Hunters of the Eternal Flame are a fanatical faction bent on tracking down and exterminating anyone using magic or occult practices, as well as magical non-human creatures. The ones in the free city of Novigrad are responsible for the worst atrocities, but they tend to pop up all over the North, hunting down mages and other creatures deemed abhorrent by their faith - including those creatures and mages who are completely benign. They're unfriendly toward Geralt, the game's protagonist, because he's a mutant Witcher, but a combination of powerful friends and the fact that Geralt can butcher a dozen of them in less than a minute leads to them usually leaving him be.
    • The Witchers themselves can be considered Witch Hunters, though they are less "empowered by faith" and more "tried and true tactics and lore". They hunt and destroy the supernatural monsters that plague humanity, and also occasionally moonlight as warriors for hire, or sorcerer-killers.
  • Witch Hunter Izana: No really. More seriously the titular witch hunter Izana hews closely to the archetype, complete with bad attitude and impressive hat. Interestingly she is an outspoken proponent for the necessity of such a role, and is willing to argue about it. It helps that the current situation is making just killing everyone who disagrees with her unlikely to work.

  • In Far Star Summer School, the Far-Star coven does their best to appear like a normal summer school to avoid the wrath of a group of witch-hunters.
  • Despite the name, the protagonist of Witch Hunter is actually an Aversion of this trope. While he has the power to see people's sins, and therefore the power to identify the very evil, he is insistent that this doesn't give him the authority to dispense some kind of vigilante justice. The one time he directly attacks a group of evildoers, it's because they've just kidnapped a girl and are about to rape her. His more usual M.O. is to simply tip off the police, since he can generally spot when someone has just committed a crime, and the nature of his powers tells him a lot about what crime was committed (different sins have different appearances).

    Western Animation 
  • In the American Dad! episode "The Witches of Langley", Principal Lewis is revealed to be a Witch Hunter, having descended from a long line of them. He hunts Steve when the latter begins to use "Blood Magic" at Pearl Bailey High School. Notably, he is tolerant of witches using their magic for good, even working with Good Witches Snot, Toshi and Barry to stop Steve when he becomes mad with power.
  • On one "Rita and Runt" segment of Animaniacs set in colonial Salem, Massachusetts, a witch hunter is after Rita, claiming she's a witch's familiar.
  • The Fairly OddParents!: Alden Bitterroot is an Identical Ancestor of Mr. Crocker who is not only a fraudulent witch-hunter, but an actual witch himself.
  • In The Owl House we discover that Philip Wittebane, the man who would become Emperor Belos, was a Witch Hunter before his arrival on the Boiling Isles. Given his history, he was most likely involved in the Connecticut Witch Trials. He even insists his title is "Witch Hunter General", a play on Matthew Hopkins' self-given title in real life.
  • Tim the Witch-Smeller from Sabrina: The Animated Series has the distinct honor of being one of the silliest, scariest, and most dangerous villains the show has ever produced.

    Real Life 
  • A notorious example from real history is Matthew Hopkins, the original "Witchfinder General". During the English Civil War, Hopkins traveled through eastern England at the head of a team of self-styled witch-hunters; within two years — from 1645 to 1647 — he and his accomplice John Stearne caused the deaths of about 300 women, who were executed by hanging. Though Hopkins claimed to have a mandate from the English Parliament, this was probably a lie (the title "Witchfinder General" was his own invention) — however, Parliament obviously tolerated his actions. As if that wasn't enough, Hopkins's book The Discovery of Witches, which he published shortly before his death in 1647, helped to spread the witch-craze to the New England colonies, where it immediately sparked a wave of witch hunts, up to and including the Salem Witch Trials of the 1690s which still used Hopkins's methods.
  • Heinrich Kramer, a Dominican monk and Inquisitor and the author of the Malleus Maleficarum (i.e. Hammer of the Witches, 1486), a treatise on witches and a tutorial on how to conduct witch trials. Kramer was also responsible for the so-called Hexenbulle, a papal bull which Kramer used to prompt several witch trials. He claimed to have led 200 witches to execution. Then again, there is little reason to believe his empty boasts; Kramer and reality were not always on speaking terms and he was regarded by many people who knew him as a paranoid loon even in his own lifetime. Additionally, Kramer was also a rampart misogynist who possibly viewed every female as being The Vamp (There's a REASON a non-zero amount of people compared him to Disney's portrayal of Frollo). That said, the Malleus, much like The Discovery of Witches after it, caused great harm after it was taken up during the witch-hunting craze of the 1500s-1600s (the Pope had sanctioned witch trials after his book was released, but this wasn't acted upon then).
  • Witch Smellers were found in some African tribes, and the hunts they kicked off could be devastating in their effects, but they didn't always have it their way. According to legend some Zulu witch hunters tried this on Shaka Zulu. He outsmarted them and it ended badly for them.
  • Laurentius Hornaeus, AKA "The Evil Reverend from Torsåker", an extremely zealous witch hunter in 17th Century Sweden. Assisted by two "wiseboys", who claimed to be able to identify witches from otherwise invisible marks, and using methods such as dunking children in freezing water to make them testify against their relatives, Hornaeus managed to get 71 people (a tenth of his congregation) convicted for witchcraft and executed,note  and he would most likely have continued if higher and saner authorities had not intervened. Hornaeus grandson Jöns Hornaeus, who wrote an account of his grandfather's life, claimed that people were still afraid to go near the house where "the Evil Reverend" had lived sixty years later.

Alternative Title(s): Witch Hunter