John Demos is the Samuel Knight Professor of History Emeritus at Yale. His most recent book is The Heathen School: A Story of Hope and Betrayal in the Age of the Early Republic. (December 2015)


Satan in Salem

‘The Trial of George Jacobs Sr. for Witchcraft, August 5, 1692’; painting by Tompkins Harrison Matteson, 1885

The Witches: Salem, 1692

by Stacy Schiff

Satan and Salem: The Witch-Hunt Crisis of 1692

by Benjamin C. Ray
The story of the Salem witch-hunt of 1692 has traveled with scarcely a pause across more than three centuries. Every schoolchild knows the headlines, and many of us who are older have seen Arthur Miller’s remarkable play The Crucible. Books on the subject would fill a sizable shelf. The town …

Killed by the Panic

Witch Craze: Terror and Fantasy in Baroque Germany

by Lyndal Roper
On a September evening in the year 1623, in the small south German village of Marchtal, a group of farmers and their families celebrated the end of the harvest by dancing and singing. Just then an elderly woman approached—one Ursula Götz, suspected locally of being a practitioner of witchcraft. A …