The Salem Witch Trials

Dan Snow's History Hit

Nov 3 2023 • 33 mins

The Malleus Maleficarum, or the 'Hammer of Witches', was a 15th-century book that sparked mass hysteria about the existence of witches in Europe - and it wasn't long before North America had fallen for the same obsession.

In a special Halloween episode, Dan is joined by the co-host of the Gone Medieval podcast, Eleanor Janega, to take us through the most famous example of a witch-hunt in action. Eleanor explains how old grudges and grievances boiled up as the citizens of Salem, Massachusetts turned on one another. Hundreds of people were accused of witchcraft and just shy of two dozen were executed for it. So what happened in Salem? Why were almost all of the accused women? And what was a witch anyway? Tune in to find out.

Produced by James Hickmann and edited by Dougal Patmore.

Discover the past on History Hit with ad-free original podcasts and documentaries released weekly presented by world-renowned historians like Dan Snow, Suzannah Lipscomb, Lucy Worsley, Matt Lewis, Tristan Hughes and more. Get 50% off your first 3 months with code DANSNOW. Download the app or sign up here.

We'd love to hear from you! You can email the podcast at

You can take part in our listener survey here.