Student Research Projects

Torture and the European Witch Hunt: A Society Geared for Violence

Student Bethany Bayles
Faculty Mentor(s)
Department History
Course HIST 426: European Heresy and the Witch-Hunt


This paper examines the role of torture in the European witch-hunt. It does so by examining how the use of torture in society was not a new innovation, but rather a revival of both Roman and Greek law. Torture emphasized the object of obtaining a confession in order to prove an individual's guilt. However, the questionable and unreliable ways in which these confessions were obtained, suggests that torture was used more as a tool for deterring further criminal actions through fear and control.